It is rare to see celebrities bringing claims for personal injuries but Beth Tweddle, the Olympic bronze medal-winning gymnast, has brought Court proceedings against the makers of Channel 4’s ‘The Jump’. She fractured bones in her spine after an accident on the show in 2016.
The show involved celebrities learning how to ski jump – an inherently dangerous activity in itself.
You may wonder ‘how can someone who agrees to do something like ski-jumping be able to bring a claim for compensation if they get injured in the process?’ Good question.
Whatever the activity, the organisers of programmes like this will have to take reasonable steps to try and ensure the safety of participants. They will undoubtedly have asked all participants to sign some form of waiver beforehand which would mean that they would not be liable in the event of an unpreventable danger, such as somebody injuring themselves on landing. There is simply no way in which that risk can be removed.
But organisers have to try and minimise risk wherever possible and this claim appears to be based upon a failure by the organisers relating to the provision of barriers. She sustained her injuries when she crashed into barriers and it is likely that allegations will be made that:
The barriers were situated in the wrong position;
They were made of the wrong type of material.
Clearly, the role of the barriers should have been to protect both participants and onlookers. The fact that the impact from the barriers was sufficient to cause such a serious injury suggests a significant failure on the part of the organisers. The barriers should have been constructed so as to minimise the injury. That clearly did not happen.
There may also be issues in this case regarding causation – what caused the injuries. Looking at the fall, the Defendants may be arguing that the injuries were more likely to have happened during her landing than when she hit the barriers – if that is right, they may be looking to escape liability altogether.
The Defendants have not admitted liability in this case but that does not mean that it is genuinely in dispute. It is likely that informal concessions have been made and settlement proposals put forward – clearly, those advising Beth Tweddle do not believe any such proposals to be sufficient.
The case shows that celebrities are not above the possibility of suffering personal injuries as a result of the actions or omissions of others. The case has lots of interesting angles, which often crop up in personal injury claims.