Thursday, 12 September 2013
PARTY HOST NOT LIABLE FOR BELLY FLOP INJURY
In Cockbill v Riley  EWHC 656 (QB) Mr Justice Bean held that the parents who hosted an end of GCSE party were not liable for the catastrophic spinal injury sustained by one of their daughter’s guests.
The guest, an exuberant 16 year old, had attempted a flying belly flop into a shallow paddling pool that had been set up in the garden for the party. Tragically, the boy made a fatal misjudgment that caused him to land on his head. There was no evidence to suggest that he had slipped on wet grass. A moderate amount of drink had been supplied and up to this point, no one had attempted any dangerous stunts of this kind beforehand and neither had any of the guests been overly boisterous.
Bean J commented that allowing the use of a paddling pool at a party attended by 16-year-old friends of the occupier's children does not of itself create a foreseeable risk of significant injury or justifies a formal risk assessment.
My case commentary is published in the Quarterly Bulletin of Butterworths Personal Injury Litigation Service.