02 March, 2016
The claimant alleged that when attending the defendant's leisure centre she suffered an injury whilst using a fit ball. She specifically alleged that she was provided with a ball that was too large in size for her height and that the ball was overinflated.
The claimant had received a full induction and immediately prior to the accident she had been given specific instructions by the trainer. The trainer was satisfied that the claimant's ball was adequate in size and had been inflated correctly.
The Court considered whether the defendant had taken reasonable care in the circumstances. It was found that the claimant had been given instructions and that the correct sized ball had been used. He could not accept that there would be a duty on the defendant to do more than for the instructor to look at the ball to see if it was okay. Another ball could have been used if the one in question was not appropriate. The Judge commented that with the experience and the knowledge the claimant had surrounding fit balls, she should have brought her concerns to the attention of the trainer
The claimant's claim was dismissed.
We welcome the decision from the Court that participants in leisure activities ought to accept responsibility for their own actions. Whilst leisure centres have a duty of care to their users, on this occasion the defendant had acted reasonably; the claimant had undergone a full induction and the instructor had issued clear instructions at the start of the session.
To be in a position to defend such personal injury claims, we strongly recommend that leisure centres and similar organisations ensure that all induction and refresher sessions are fully documented and retained. In addition, risk assessments ought to be carried out and regularly updated.
For further advice please contact Andrew Ellis.