On the 29th December 2013, whilst skiing in the French Alps, Michael Schumacher fell, hit his head on a rock and sustained serious head injuries causing him to be placed into a medically induced coma. Despite the risk of driving at over 200mph in an F1 car as a career, it was a relaxed sporting holiday moment that caused a lifechanging shock to his family, friends and sports fans worldwide.
Whilst there is always some risk in life, anyone who has taken out a life insurance policy, car insurance policy, travel insurance policy or other, will no doubt have been asked questions about their occupation and hobbies to determine whether they are at a higher risk of accident or death than a typical member of the public and therefore having an impact on the premiums.
Whilst not exclusive, occupations often deemed as high risk include:
- Armed Forces Personnel
- Offshore workers
- People who work at heights (e.g roofers and scaffolders)
- Long distance drivers
- Professional sportsman
Certain sports, whether undertaken on a professional basis or for leisure, can also increase the chances of an accident occurring and are considered to be higher risk. These include, but are not limited to:-
- Boxing or martial arts
- Motor sports
- Sky diving or hang gliding
- Climbing or caving
- Skiing and winter sports
There are also sports that, whilst not necessarily classed as high risk, do still carry a degree of risk of injury to the participant. Take for example road cycling where there is a collision with a motor vehicle or mountain biking involving a fall that causes a head injury.
Anyone involved in a high-risk occupation or sporting activity should consider what would happen if they were to have a head injury or accident which caused either a temporary or permanent loss of their ability to manage their own affairs, whether financial or healthcare and should consider protecting themselves by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document where you can appoint a person (or people) to assist you, or manage entirely, your financial affairs or make health and welfare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so due to losing your mental capacity.
What happens without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place?
A member of your family or professional may apply to the Court to be appointed a Deputy, which is in effect a Court appointed Attorney to manage your financial affairs and in certain cases, make health and welfare decisions, when you are unable to do so yourself.
This type of application removes the choice element from you so that you cannot specify who you would want to undertake such a role, which may not be the person you would have chosen. The costs and timeframe of pursuing this route is also significantly higher and longer and considering this would be at an emotional and stressful time due to any accident causing the necessity for such an application, it would involve a Court process to compound the situation.
It won’t happen to me
Whilst it is the professional high profile sportsmen suffering injuries like Michael Schumacher, Michael Watson, a British professional boxer and Bobbie Goulding, scrum half for Great Britain that make the headlines, accidents and injuries can occur at any level from amateur to professional and at any time. Therefore, it could happen to you, and you should therefore consider protection.
Like most insurance or protection products, they are taken out in the hope that they may never be required but provide vital piece of mind that should an accident occur, the implications of such accidents are minimised or the stress, whether financial or emotional, is not exacerbated.
Planning today to protect you and your loved ones
For those involved in high-risk occupations, sports, or activities serious thought should be given to protecting yourself and your family so if the worst should happen, the fall out from such an accident will not include costly and lengthy applications to court to enable people to assist you to manage your affairs and make medical decisions.
To explore Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact our team of solicitors at our Darlington or Northallerton office to se how creating a Lasting Power of Attorney can benefit you.