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Health and Safety Issues - Are Bumper Cars on the Way Out?

By Principal Lawyer, Occupiers and Public Liability

Has the world gone mad?? This is not the first time I have blogged on health & safety issues. I have commented previously on matters that were set out in the press and my concerns that health & safety law has, yet again being taken out of context.

The point is this…people are increasingly concerned that others might sue. They are concerned that they will have to pay out masses in damages and that their insurance premiums will go up.

The real point - is that this is not a justifiable concern. It is simply a knee jerk reaction and nothing more. How can it be sane or indeed correct, for schools to ban school trips on the basis that children might get injured if they go off to the zoo or to a museum?

How can local authorities possibly say that employing a lollipop lady leaves them open to be sued on the basis that drivers might be watching the lollipop lady and her lollipop stick and might then crash?

Surely it is not the insurance companies that are leading the way? Surely the insurance companies are not putting pressure on their insured to cease from any activity that might potentially lead to litigation and might therefore place the insurers at risk? If they are, they are acting in a ridiculous and ludicrous manner.

You can imagine my annoyance at seeing in the press recently that the bastian of British holiday clubs ‘Butlins’ who have excellent resorts around the country, in particular near the sandy beaches around Bognor Regis on the South Coast, have banned bumper cars.

This does not mean that they have done away completely with bumper cars. Instead, a holiday maker is allowed to sit in a bumper car and to go round in a circle but they are not allowed to bump into each other.

I had to read the article twice to satisfy myself that what I was reading was in fact correct.  One of the disappointed visitors has apparently described the experience as similar to navigating  ‘an endless roundabout’.

As a piece of history, Mr Butlins brought the electric bumper car to the UK from the US in 1920. He will surely be turning in his grave!

If you were going to Butlins in the future you have been warned. I understand on reading the article, that staff have been ordered to ban any visitors who dares to flount the strict ‘no bump’ rule. To be entirely clear, the reason the rule has been brought in is that Butlins were thought to be concerned about potential legal claims for whiplash or other injuries suffered during the crash or bump.

I have no hesitation in agreeing with those Solicitors who have apparently been consulted on this point that such a claim is very likely to fail. For a start, I anticipate it would be almost impossible for any claimant to convince a Court that liability should attach to the person who bumped into them.

Secondly, I would have thought it would be almost impossible for any claimant to convince a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon that the low impact bump they suffered was more likely than not to have led to the injury they subsequently complained of. I shall leave you to make your own decision.

Tristan Hallam is a Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

For a free consultation about claiming compensation for a personal injury, call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online. 98% of our personal injury claims are funded through a No Win No Fee agreement.

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