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Extreme sports accidents

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Extreme sports accidents

In recent years there has been a surge in the popularity of more extreme sports such as climbing, abseiling, diving, kayaking, bungee jumping and jet skiing. With these sports, the participant is usually completely reliant upon the equipment being used to ensure their own safety, and sometimes injuries are suffered because the equipment is faulty or has not been properly set up.

If the sport is part of an organised activity then it will often not be possible for the participant to check the safety of the equipment being used. The specialist nature of the sport is also likely to mean that the average person would not know how to carry out the safety checks required.

Extreme sports can now be experienced by those with no previous experience, meaning the initial safety briefing is the only opportunity the participant will have to be made aware of the potential risks of the sport involved. Whilst some injures are undoubtedly an acceptable risk of engaging in often challenging physical activities with a number of other people, some people are unfortunate enough to suffer injuries that cannot just be put down to the rough and tumble of the particular sporting activity.

It is therefore entirely fair that the climber who falls due to inadequate equipment or the jet skier that crashes because they have not been properly trained to ride a jet ski is entitled to compensation for their injury and other losses resulting from the accident.

Similar principles apply to organised adventure and leisure activities, from go karting and paintballing to fairground attractions and theme park roller coasters. The participant may have little or no aptitude or training and will be reliant on the organisers to train or instruct him properly and to provide the correct equipment in good order.

Recent case study

Ms R worked for a law firm. The firm put together a team for a corporate sailing day in the Solent and Ms R was on the team. She was properly trained and instructed and out on the water the event was going well. Then as she walked across from one side of the sailing boat to the other she was hit in the head by part of a mast and was knocked unconscious. She sustained a nasty scar on her forehead that was visible and permanent. A claim was submitted to the boat company on the grounds that the mast had become loose and dangerous and that if they had any system of inspection and repair in place they would have noticed and rectified the problem. They admitted liability and the claim was settled for about £5000 damages. 

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