Surviving Bear Grylls obstacle course

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22 September, 2021

John Bennett

The Independent recently reported on a case involving a 54-year-old taking part in a Bear Grylls survival race.

The claimant fell and suffered serious injuries to her leg and shoulder whilst using an elevated monkey ring obstacle. The defendants designed the course and managed the race. They carried out a risk assessment and identified that there was a risk of a hard landing if anyone fell from the rings and concluded that the best way to reduce this was for the marshals to brief the participants to reach out to the rings from a seated position, rather than swinging out from a standing position. They covered the surface with hay to soften the fall which would be re-distributed between the waves of runners. The claimant claimed that she hadn't been advised to start from a seating position and claimed the hay hadn't been appropriately distributed.

The claim failed. The court agreed that it was appropriate to issue general instructions rather than individual instructions to start from the seating position. Even if the hay hadn't been distributed appropriately it didn't have any causative effect. Essentially the court took the view it was an accepted risk that participants could and did fall off the rings from time to time regardless of their starting position. Accidents are an inherent risk of taking part in obstacle races.

The claim was based on a breach of the occupier's liability act, which requires an occupier to take reasonable care of its visitors. In this case they had. However, had there been a hole in the course which hadn't been covered up and was reasonably obvious, it is likely the court would have taken the view it was a foreseeable risk and that someone could be injured. Had an injury occurred it is likely they would have been liable, just as any occupier of land would be, if they knew or ought to have been aware of a defect, for example a defective step or other defect which should have been repaired.

If you have been unfortunate enough to suffer injury as a result of a defect, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries and any other losses incurred. If you have, please call one of our specialist team who have considerable experience of dealing with these types of claims. We act on a no-win no fee basis and a 15% success fee.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Personal Injury department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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