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Ask Andrew D.P. Scott Your Own Question

Andrew D.P. Scott
Andrew D.P. Scott, Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 88
Experience:  LLB(Hons) 1st Class, Gray's Inn Master Bedingfield Scholar, BVC Very Competent, Public Access Rights
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Hello I am a committee member of a birdwatching group of around

Resolved Question:

Hello
I am a committee member of a birdwatching group of around 150 members. The group owns an observation hide that seats 12 people and is accessed up an external flight of 10 stairs. It is not a charity and not a limited company although it is properly constituted. There is in place public liability insurance for up to £2M. Could you say what potential liability I have should our insurance be insufficient or not cover a claim for third party injury etc; when using the facilities. Is there anything that could be done to limit any personal liability.
Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Andrew D.P. Scott replied 3 years ago.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

Hello, I am pleased to be asked to assist you.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

hi

Andrew D.P. Scott :

lets work through this together

Andrew D.P. Scott :

are you ready to chat?

Andrew D.P. Scott :

hi

Andrew D.P. Scott :

it would be prudent to do a risk assessment on the premises and the land around it

Andrew D.P. Scott :

you can get help on risk assessments at www.hse.gov.uk

Andrew D.P. Scott :

in light of the risk assessment you should place warning signs at the enterance to the site warning people to take care

Andrew D.P. Scott :

and giving them notice of the risks on the site

Andrew D.P. Scott :

it is not lawful to exclude liability for personal injury to users of your site

Andrew D.P. Scott :

nor trespassers

Customer:

Yes, this has been done, no problem with land and only credible risks with the hide are the stairs, a door that can slam to in windy conditions and hinged window flaps that are usually secured in the open position (slight risk of falling)

Andrew D.P. Scott :

if someone is injured very seriously and require nursing and medical attention for the rest of their life, claims can reach £5,000,000

Andrew D.P. Scott :

ok

Andrew D.P. Scott :

stairs require stair rails

Andrew D.P. Scott :

doors that slam can trap fingers

Andrew D.P. Scott :

I have won quite a few claims where kids fingers have been amputated by doors

Andrew D.P. Scott :

both sides of the door, especially by the hinges

Andrew D.P. Scott :

so get some finger protectors for the door

Andrew D.P. Scott :

and a slow closing mechanism

Andrew D.P. Scott :

any risk of falling needs to be addressed and eliminated

Andrew D.P. Scott :

kids get everywhere

Customer:

Stairs do have rails on both sides

Andrew D.P. Scott :

make sure the glass is safety glass to be on the safe side

Andrew D.P. Scott :

good about the stairs, does it have proper lighting, many claims are about insufficient lighting

Andrew D.P. Scott :

if you have 150 members send out them a notice setting out safe use of the site, how t report an accident etc. ask them to sign and return it

Andrew D.P. Scott :

nice big sign saying what to do in an accident

Andrew D.P. Scott :

is there any water nearby

Customer:

No lighting at all - or street lights but it is not used in the dark.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

ok, fire extinguisher

Andrew D.P. Scott :

no smoking signs

Customer:

Hide is situated close to a river bank, but this is fenced off by the Environment Agency who oen the land

Andrew D.P. Scott :

i think thats all from me, any further questions on this issue

Andrew D.P. Scott :

keep an inspection of the site, do this regularly

Andrew D.P. Scott :

warn people that a river is nearby and to keep a close eye on minors at all times

Andrew D.P. Scott :

does the bank side have a life ring?

Customer:

Thats fine - you are saying that if risks are assessed and catered for then individuals (or the club) should not be liable

Andrew D.P. Scott :

a comprehensive risk assessment is the key, from parking up to leaving the site

Customer:

Thanks

Andrew D.P. Scott :

no, you are still liable but if proper policies and procedures are in place the court may well find that someone was the author of their own loss and reduce the compensation

Andrew D.P. Scott :

sometimes by 25, 50 or 75%

Andrew D.P. Scott :

very occasionally all of it

Andrew D.P. Scott :

ok, i should be grateful of, aswell as pressing the accept button, you would be kind enough to complete the feedback. This is very important for my records.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

Many thanks

Andrew D.P. Scott :

and happy twitching

Customer:

so if the £2m insurance were not enough the club and or members would be liable for any more

Andrew D.P. Scott :

yes

Customer:

Many thanks

Andrew D.P. Scott :

if i represented an inured party and the insurance was not going to be enough i would start looking at the committee

Andrew D.P. Scott :

and their financial worth

Andrew D.P. Scott :

bye

Andrew D.P. Scott, Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 88
Experience: LLB(Hons) 1st Class, Gray's Inn Master Bedingfield Scholar, BVC Very Competent, Public Access Rights
Andrew D.P. Scott and 4 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you

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