Insurers hail common sense victory

22 Mar 2011

Ecclesiastical Insurance has successfully defended a claim involving a charity dog walker who was injured whilst working for an animal charity. The case is being heralded as an important victory for common sense.

The case of McBride v Gables Farm Dogs and Cats Home was heard last month at Plymouth County Court by Deputy District Judge Challans.

On 8th March 2008 Helen McBride was exercising a dog by walking it round a field owned by her employer, Gables Farm Dogs and Cats Home when she slipped, injuring her hip. She subsequently brought a civil claim for damages against the charity using the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. She argued that her employers had a duty under that provision to ensure that floor surfaces were safe and therefore the charity ought to have provided a footpath across the field. The claim was dismissed and the Claimant was ordered to pay the defence costs.

This decision is an important and potentially far reaching one for all businesses. If the Claimant had been successful then many employers whose staff work on grass, fields or almost any other natural surfaces may have been required to spend a lot of money providing some kind of artificial surfaces. The decision may also have adversely affected schools and other organisations.