Judge throws out injury claim after schoolboy is hurt at Waterworld
A SCHOOLBOY who suffered a bruised foot after stepping on pebbles on a walkway at Waterworld has been told he will not receive any compensation for his injury.
Jack Hales was walking towards a slide at the indoor water park when he felt a sharp pain in his left foot. He looked down to see three or four pebbles on the floor, Stoke-on-Trent County Court heard yesterday.
Jack, who was 10 at the time of the incident in February 2009, suffered soft tissue damage to his left heel and was in plaster for two weeks after doctors mistakenly thought he might have chipped a bone in his foot.
Solicitors representing Jack, now aged 14, took Waterworld 2000 Ltd to court after claiming staff had not done enough to keep visitors safe at the time of the accident.
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They claimed the pebbles had been on the walkway for more than two weeks but had not been spotted or removed by staff.
But in throwing out the claim, district judge Glynis Crowe said she was satisfied the company had maintained its duty of care.
Staff logs read to the court showed walkways had been checked for debris every half hour on the day of the accident, and no problems had been reported.
It is not certain where the pebbles came from, but it is believed they had become dislodged from a nearby ornamental crocodile built two-and-a-half weeks before the accident.
“The main issue is whether the accident occurred due to what has been described as a want of care by the defendants,” said Judge Crowe. “The defendant said the facilities were checked on an hourly basis by the duty manager, and every 30 minutes by supervisors.
“There were also 16 lifeguards on duty at the time, whose duty it is to make sure the floor area was tidy. On the balance of probabilities the pebbles had not been on the walkway for more than two weeks as suggested by the claimant.
“The tiles are quite light in colour, so they would have been quite easy to spot by staff.
“I find the pebbles were deposited close to the time of the claimant’s accident, but it is impossible to say by what mechanism. I’m satisfied the defendants have discharged their duty of care.”
She added: “It’s unfortunate that the claimant suffered the injury but the defendants are only bound to do what is reasonable.”
If the claim had been successful, the company could have had to pay out up to £1,500 in compensation to the teenager.
Speaking outside court, Jack’s mum, Maxine Hales, who lives in Belmont Road, Etruria, said: “The pebbles shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”