Are you within your remit?

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scottdog007
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Are you within your remit?

Post by scottdog007 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:00 am

Resently I have heard of 2 canoe clubs where someone has tried to sue the club or an individual because someone got hurt. I don't know the full stories and I don't intend to go into them.

But it got me thinking. I had a situation where a guy who was with me pulled his shoulder after going through a class 4. My remit allows looking after people on class 2 (3) I have 4 star. I guess this guy could have sued me successfully if he wanted? Or would my canoe club be sued. Would the BCU insurance be invalid for both my insurance and the club insurance because I was out of my remit? Is there a document I could have got the guy to sign releasing me of liability?

This is also important for coaches as well.

Has anyone or any club been ever been attempted to be sued and can share their experiences with me?

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Randy Fandango
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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by Randy Fandango » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:46 am

Don't quote me but I'm sure in a case where someone wanted to sue, they'd have to prove you were negligent and that lead to their injury.
This can obviously happen within remit or outside it but I'd have thought being outside NGB remit wouldn't on it's own demonstrate negligence necessarily provided you could demonstrate you'd used good judgement and had suitable experience and leadership skill on the water you were operating on.
Giles

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thetangoman
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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by thetangoman » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:51 am

scottdog007 wrote:Resently I have heard of 2 canoe clubs where someone has tried to sue the club or an individual because someone got hurt. I don't know the full stories and I don't intend to go into them.

But it got me thinking. I had a situation where a guy who was with me pulled his shoulder after going through a class 4. My remit allows looking after people on class 2 (3) I have 4 star. I guess this guy could have sued me successfully if he wanted? Or would my canoe club be sued. Would the BCU insurance be invalid for both my insurance and the club insurance because I was out of my remit? Is there a document I could have got the guy to sign releasing me of liability?

This is also important for coaches as well.

Has anyone or any club been ever been attempted to be sued and can share their experiences with me?
Were you there as a 'qualified leader' or just peer paddling? If peer paddling, I would say that there is no issue as there is no formal leadership responsibility / setup.

I have no formal qualifications to say that I am able to lead on rivers. I do have a fair amount of experience though which I feel more than makes up for the lack of paperwork on the rivers I am happy to take groups on.

Andy

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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by jriddell » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:25 am

Having the right paperwork means you are more likely to be safe incase of a legal issue but it's not necessary and often not sufficient.

With the right paperwork you are more likely to be able to find an "expert witness" who will testify you were competant and not neglegent and the incident was just part of doing a risk sport.

But you can also convince the courts by showing ample evidence of your experience and finding an expert witness who will testify to that.

Either way this is why being a member of the SCA etc is so important, third party liability insurance, it covers everything canoe related including being neglegent.

The membership of our form includes small print saying you will not hold the club or other members liable. That's not enough in cases of the worst neglegence but it will help.

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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by AlexC » Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:33 pm

With the right paperwork you are more likely to be able to find an "expert witness" who will testify you were competant and not neglegent and the incident was just part of doing a risk sport.
Why would the paperwork you had have any bearing on whether you showed competence or were negligent in a particular case?
What happened doesn't change just because you have a certain qualification. In fact if anything i'd have thought it would have the opposite effect. What constitutes negligent behaviour for a well qualified instructor may well not be deemed negligent for Joe Public, who wouldn't know better.

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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by Simon Westgarth » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:56 pm

Having a qualification should indicate a standard of competence, still it does not mean you up held that standard on the specific day in hand if your actions were called into question. Your actions would be measured against that standard by an expert witness. The same would go for experience rather than a qualification, yet the experience is less easy to quantify in terms of a standard, and would need to be measured against preferred behaviours of that standard. Above all is that you have the experience to make the correct judgements to avoid problems, but you can also be very unlucky too. Paddling is an assumed risk sport, we are the captains of our own ships and thus, our own judgements are the first priority regardless of whether a more qualified or experienced person is leading or coaching you. That person can not paddle your boat for you, make the right stroke at the correct time, or put the boat where is needs to be.

And thus in law, you cannot be wholly responsible for outcomes if you are a coach or leader of adults, however for under 18's it's another matter all together. Unless of course you are clearly negligent in taking a beginner down a section way beyond their level, such as a Star 1 paddler down the Fairy Glen. An expert witness were clearly point that judgement call out to be wrong.

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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by morsey » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:45 pm

scottdog007 wrote:Resently I have heard
That is how urban myths are spread.

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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by jriddell » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:09 pm

AlexC wrote: Why would the paperwork you had have any bearing on whether you showed competence or were negligent in a particular case?
It would help convince the judge or jury in your favour.

When another coach is called as an expert witness it means they can confirm you were by the paper standard.

As I say above it is only a help in such cases, it is not necessary nor sufficient. But it could be a big help.

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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:29 am

It has been rare, if ever that I have operated within the remit of the qualifications I hold; Ask me if I care...
ONE BLADE, ONE LOVE, [TOO] MANY PIES


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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by paddlersteve » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:28 am

It is imossible to to pass udgement on scenarios where you say "If person X hurts themselves, is it my fault?" or "If person hurts themselves, can they sue me". If t were that simple there wouldn't be lawyers!

For an individual to successfully prove to a civil court that they are owed compensation from someone else, the court will consider the Duty if Care. The three following questions will always be considered and examined in minute detail:

Was a Duty owed to the individual?
Bearing in mind we all have a responsibility to not harm those around us through our acts or omissions, it is likely there is some level of Duty of care owed. As someone else picks up on above, are you a group of friends out paddling or a service provider? If you are in a position of authority or control, your duty may be higher than other participants. It is also important to recognise it is not yourself that provides the answer to these questions, but the court. Things like disclaimers, verbal or written, that attempt tell other participants that you are not responsible for any harm that comes to them are entirely useless. (Participation statements where individuals accept the inherent risks are different)

Was there a break down in this duty?
Acting as another reasonable person would, with the same experience, skill and understanding, would someone else have acted in the same way in the same situation. Giving inappropriate instruction or failing to highlight a risk that has a foreseeable opportunity to imact. Qualifications in this area are an indicator of competancy.

Did the breach in the duty cause harm?
Did the your actions or inactions cause or contribute to harm that was caused to the individual. At times, accidents may occur and individuals may be guilty of not fulfiulling their duty of cause, however if no harm is done, or if the individual was responsible for the situation which arose causing their own harm, then such a claim would be unsuccessful.

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Big Henry
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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by Big Henry » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:15 am

TheKrikkitWars wrote:It has been rare, if ever that I have operated within the remit of the qualifications I hold; Ask me if I care...
Do you care?

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Re: Are you within your remit?

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:31 pm

Big Henry wrote:
TheKrikkitWars wrote:It has been rare, if ever that I have operated within the remit of the qualifications I hold; Ask me if I care...
Do you care?
Nar nah! :P
ONE BLADE, ONE LOVE, [TOO] MANY PIES


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