Victim of tragic paddling pool horseplay stunt has claim dismissed
A student who was left tetraplegic after horseplay in a paddling pool has lost his damages claim against one of the UK's leading drama schools, which he said was to blame for the accident.
Andrew Risk had reached the last day of his second year of a scenic arts degree at Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, south east London, when he took a long run at a large paddling pool filled with water to a depth of about two-and-a-half feet and dived in, hitting his head on the ground.
Mr Risk, 25, […] suffered immediate loss of sensation, was unable to move, and had to be supported by fellow students to enable him to breathe until he could be taken to hospital.
Now in a wheelchair and needing 24-hour care, he claimed his injury in June 2009 was caused by a breach of duty of care or negligence on the part of the college, which denied liability.
Today, Mr Justice Jay said that Mr Risk had not succeeded and, even if he had, he would have found him 75% to blame for the accident. [In short] the college did not owe a particular duty to protect the claimant from the risk he took.
On the facts of the case, [the college] did not assume responsibility for Mr Risk's safety and his accident was not reasonably foreseeable.
Cases like this are always difficult. Indeed, as Mr Justice Jay noted:
"On a human level, I regret the conclusion that I have reached, but to my mind the legal principles are clear and the weight of authority overwhelming."
One question, though: have you ever known a claimant’s surname to be more apt?