201302.16
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Claim for Assault Course Accident Resolved at the High Court

A claim for an assault course accident, in which a Hampshire scout leader fractured a vertebra in his back, has been resolved in the High Court for £167,514.

Robert Wilson (49) from Bordon in Hampshire made his claim for assault course accident compensation after sustaining an injury while leading his scout troop on the Challenge Valley assault course at the Clyne Farm Centre near Swansea in August 2009.

To get down from the “Burma Bridge” obstacle, Robert was required to descend a fireman´s pole despite voicing concerns for his safety in the wet conditions. His worries were justified, as he landed awkwardly at the base of the pole and fractured a vertebra in the base of his spine.

Robert was taken by helicopter to hospital where he underwent surgery. But, as Mrs Justice Swift heard at the High Court in London, his injury prevented him from driving his taxi or caring for his wheelchair-bound wife and four-year-old son.

After seeking legal advice, Robert made a claim for assault course accident compensation on the grounds that he had not been given proper instruction on how to safely descend the fireman´s pole and that the landing cushion had been compacted by the previous participants on the assault course.

Clyne Farm Centre denied their liability for Robert´s injuries, and alleged that Robert had removed his hand from the pole to “show off” to his scout troop. It was also claimed that a ladder was situated nearby in case a participant did not want to depart the “Burma Bridge” obstacle via the fireman´s pole.

After hearing evidence from both Robert and the instructor who was with him when the accident occurred, Mrs Justice Swift found in Robert´s favour and rejected claims made by the Clyne Farm Centre that “[Robert] was the author of his own misfortune”.

Awarding Robert £167,514 compensation in settlement of his claim for assault course accident, Mrs Justice Swift said she had no doubt that Robert “is a genuine hard-working man” who had devoted himself to the care of his wife and their four-year-old son.

201301.18
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Stately Home Injury Compensation Awarded to Man for Fall on Grounds

A man, who badly fractured his ankle after a fall into a landscaping feature intended to stop animals roaming into the grounds of Hopetoun House, has been awarded £8,750 stately home injury compensation at the Court of Sessions in Edinburgh.

John Cowan from Livingston, West Lothian, had been visiting the historic building with his five-year-old grandson Ross on an organised tour during which visitors look for bats in the grounds of Hopetoun House while armed only with torches. It was as John and his grandson were making their way back to the parking lot that John stepped over the landscaping feature – known as a “ha-ha” – and fell five feet into the trench below, fracturing his ankle.

As John had recently undergone an operation for thyroid cancer, he was unable to shout for help and it was only when his grandson caught the attention of a passer-by that medical assistance was summoned. As a result of his fall on the grounds of Hopetoun House, John had to undergo a series of operations on his ankle; after which he sought legal advice about making a claim for stately home injury compensation.

The Hopetoun House Preservation Trust disputed John´s stately home injury compensation claim, stating that all the visitors to the historic house had been given instructions on how to safely return to their vehicles at the conclusion of the tour. John said he had not heard the ranger issue instructions, as he had taken his grandson to the bathroom at the time.

At the Court of Sessions, Lord Bracadale found in John´s favour, but reduced a proposed settlement of £35,000 by 75 percent to reflect John´s contributory negligence. He said “I find that the pursuer (Mr Cowan) did not hear these directions, no doubt because he was engaged in attending to the needs of Ross, and ended up walking in the dark on a route that would inevitably take him to the ha-ha at a point where there was a drop of about 5ft”.