31 May, 2016
The claimant was participating in a "Zombie Boot Camp" event operated by the defendant. The claimant alleged that as he ran through a doorway he slipped on an oily substance on the floor sustaining injury. The defendants insurers, Sportscover, following a thorough investigation contended that the claimant had actually tripped over a metal threshold of the door opening. The floor had been treated with sand and chippings to ensure that it was free of slipping hazards.
Zombie Bootcamp involves mock fighting, military issues, guns and robust assault areas. It is publicised as being a very physical pursuit. Before any event begins, staff ensure that all areas are safe and participants are told exactly what the event entails, answering any questions or concerns the participants may have. Each participant is asked to sign a waiver and release form prior to commencement of the event. The issue of volenti (voluntary assumption of risk) was raised as a defence.
At trial the claimant's evidence conceded that an observer might possibly have had a better view of what happened rather than himself. The claimant was directed to the website print outs and the TripAdvisor reviews which clearly describe the event as physical. Overall, his hesitant evidence on the facts of the case led the Judge to describe the claimant as simply not credible.
In addition, the claimant's daughter conceded that she carried on with the event following the accident and neither her nor her father asked for any slippery material to be swept or cleaned off the floor.
Ultimately, the Judge found that the claimant had indeed tripped rather than slipped. Although, he remarked that even if he had found as fact that the claimant had slipped the case would still have been dismissed as the defendant had taken all reasonable precautions to keep visitors reasonably safe.
The claimant was a willing visitor to a Zombie Bootcamp where the risks and dangers as well as the environment are all well documented and were explained to participants prior to taking part. The defendant was found to have taken all reasonable precautions to keep visitors reasonably safe and had therefore discharged their duty under the act. The defendant had in place appropriate and suitable risk assessments which included employees acting as marshals and safety staff during the event and the removal of unscheduled trip hazards.
The defence also sought to argue that the activity was a socially desirable activity within the meaning of section 1 of the Compensation Act 2006. Over 25,000 had taken part in the activity without any similar injury.