Who should be held liable for waterslide accident?

Posted by Ian Jenkins on

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BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

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Water slides/flumes generally provide fun and excitement. They can be found from the most sophisticated waterparks to the standard hotel plunge pool. Some slides are open while others are closed like tunnels. They are becoming bigger and faster with their dramatic twists and drops.

Accidents however can happen. It may be a result of broken or sharp objects sticking out of the slides which have not been properly maintained or too many people using the slide at the same time.

According to the European Child Safety Alliance in 2008, throughout Europe, 18% of all injuries at swimming pools take place on the waterslide of which 24% of these injuries involve collisions with other riders.

Recently, BL Claims settled a claim in which two guests collided when they exited their respective water slides at about the same time.

Our client Mr D, was on a package holiday with his family staying at a hotel in Turkey. The hotel facilities included three open water slides which exited into an outdoor plunge pool. There was a white, slow-moving water flume which exited on the right hand side, a multi-coloured, medium velocity water flume which exited in the middle of the plunge pool and a red, fast-moving water slide exiting on the left hand side. The slides exited into the same plunge pool and the exit trajectories of each slide were not separated by ropes, floating cordons or any other barrier.

Mr D and his son climbed to the top of the water slides. There was a supervisor at the top. Mr D's son went down the medium slide first. To the left of Mr D was another guest waiting to use the fast slide. Once his son was out of the way of the exit trajectories to the slides, Mr D went down the slide. As Mr D was travelling down the medium slide, he became aware of the other guest using the red slide just behind him.

As Mr D went over the second hump in the water slide, his body deviated towards the right hand side which impacted with the right hand side of the slide. The impact caused his body to move towards the left hand side of the slide. As Mr D exited the slide, his body was still moving left. When he hit the water, he was struck in the chest forcefully by the feet of the guest exiting the fast slide.

Following the accident, the hotel positioned a second supervisor at the exit to the flumes around the plunge pool. Only one person was allowed down any of the water slides at any one time. And the supervisors were noticeably supervised by a manager.

The Tour Operator denied liability. They alleged that this was an accident as a result of unforeseen and unavoidable actions of an unknown guest using the fast slide.

Local standard evidence stated that it was a breach to fail to stagger guests using the slide and a failure to wait until guests had cleared the plunge pool or exits before another guest came down the water slide.

There were no independent witnesses who saw the accident. The lifeguard or the other guest involved in the accident did not give any evidence.

Despite the denial of liability, the Tour Operator was not prepared to run this matter to Trial and settlement was eventually reached on a full and final basis in Mr D's favour.

Safety Tips for Water Slides

  • Take note of the warning signs – this may include information on age/height restrictions; 
  • Be vigilant- make sure it is safe to use the water slide rather than just rely on instructions from others;
  • Supervise your children;
  • Clear the plunge pool quickly;
  • Avoid going down the slide head first as there is a risk of head and spinal injury

If you are unfortunate to suffer an accident, try and obtain contact details of as many witnesses as possible.

BL Claims Solicitors are here to help

If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at info@blclaims.co.uk

About the Author

Ian is a Legal executive in our Travel team.

Ian Jenkins
Email Ian
023 8085 7311

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