Tour operator not liable for water fight

Travel injury cases often seem more interesting than those that happen at home. This one is no exception.

Mr and Mrs Roberts took a package holiday to Corfu. At the welcome meeting they were given a pamphlet setting out excursions including a barbecue and boat trip with Captain Theo and his crew. There would be a barbecue lunch on the beach and then a boat trip around the coast. There was a bar on the boat and also confirmation that on the way back there would be a water fight, “so be prepared for the odd bucket of water!!!”.  Mr and Mrs Roberts were so tempted that they signed up.

All went well until the return journey. Mrs Roberts said that Captain Theo announced there would be a water fight on the lower deck of the boat and all those that did not want to get wet should move to the back of the boat or to the top deck. Captain Theo’s evidence was that he had said that all those that did not want to get wet should move to the back of the top deck. In any event Mrs Roberts moved to the top of the back deck but she was soon lured to the front of the top deck by the sounds of the water fight. She gave evidence that as she stood watching the water fight from above, Captain Theo took a bucket of water and threw it at her. She said that the force of the water caused her to fall backwards and fracture her pelvis. Captain Theo did not deny that he sometimes threw water at people at the front of the top deck but could not recall throwing any water at Mrs Roberts. In cross examination, Mrs Roberts confirmed that, at the time of the incident, she was 7ft above the lower deck and well over 15ft away from the person who threw water at her.

The Judge found that the tour operator had contracted to supply the excursion and that they were vicariously liable for any negligence. He found that a term should be implied into the excursion contract that the tour operators would exercise reasonable skill and care in provision of the excursion services. However he accepted that for the claimant’s account of the accident to be correct, the laws of physics would have to be suspended. He was not prepared to find that a small bucket of water, thrown upwards from a distance of over 15ft would have had the force to knock Mrs Roberts off her feet. The claim failed.

Roberts -v- TUI UK Limited 12th February 2005 Walsall County Court

Egg and spoon race disaster

Its an old saying of personal injury litigators that you cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs. Unfortunately an employee of the Zurich Insurance broke her sternum following a fall during an egg and spoon race organised by her employers. About 60 employees took part in a mock sports day and during the egg and spoon race the claimant came to grief.

She alleged that she was effectively at work and that her employer was liable as it had required her to enter into the race. The legal might of Zurich Insurance persuaded the Judge that there was no liability.

(From an article in Insurance Times)