/ Liability arising out of bolting

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Simon Alden - on 02 Nov 2012
How does this work in the UK? Can you be sued if you've placed a bolt which subsequently fails and causes someone injury or death? Are you insured against this eventuality?
jimtitt - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to coverdale:

No
scott titt - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to coverdale:
Yes you can be sued, but the claim will not succeed.(with all the usual caveats about no money changing hands etc) I spent yesterday at the BMC liability conference and this topic was covered by a sport climbing barrister. Every climber must make his own judgement on the suitability of the equipment he clips.
As for insurance - if you bought it, yes!
Mr_Yeti - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to coverdale:
> How does this work in the UK? Can you be sued if you've placed a bolt which subsequently fails and causes someone injury or death? Are you insured against this eventuality?

Yes you can be sued although for a succesful case you would have to be proved liable and negligent. Both would be pretty tough and as there is an element of accepted risk involved in participating in climbing i would say the claim would have a pretty tough time.

If you carry insurance which would cover this then the legal expenses could go to defending the claim.

This poster can't be held responsible for the information given in this post. :)
RupertD - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to scott titt:

I may have time to answer better later, but just for clarification, the answer given yesterday was that it was unlikely that a *landowner* such as a farmer, with no knowledge of climbing, would be successfully sued under the 1984 Act were someone else to place a bolt on a crag on his land that failed. Usual caveats as to all cases being specific to facts apply.
Nic on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to scott titt:

Not disagreeing, but it would be interesting to hear if there was more to it than "Every climber must make his own judgement on the suitability of the equipment he clips". I've heard the argument that the bolter is just placing protection for his own ascent, and if anyone decides to follow that's their lookout...but this seems a somewhat artificial construct.
nniff - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Nic:
> (In reply to scott titt)
>
...but this seems a somewhat artificial construct.

Pretty much ideal for a bolt, then!
deepsoup - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Nic:
> ...but this seems a somewhat artificial construct.

Is the construct in question not just "volenti non fit injuria"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volenti_non_fit_injuria
" a common law doctrine which means that if someone willingly places themselves in a position where harm might result, knowing that some degree of harm might result, they will not be able to bring a claim against the other party in tort or delict."

As a climber embarking on the route you willingly place yourself in a position where you might fall off and hurt yourself.

Then again, maybe if the bolts were shockingly badly placed (as with those ones in the Australian sandstone that come to light a while back), it could be argued in court that the semi-mythical "reasonable person" would expect the bolts to be better than worthless.
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Dave Garnett - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to RupertD:
> (In reply to scott titt)
>
> I may have time to answer better later, but just for clarification, the answer given yesterday was that it was unlikely that a *landowner* such as a farmer, with no knowledge of climbing, would be successfully sued

Ah, that's rather different of course.

Personally, I'm rather less sanguine about the possibility of someone who has actually placed a bolt being sued at some point. It seems to me there's a continuum of risk...

Climbing wall route setter A, who knocks off for a coffee halfway through fixing a belay and forgets to go back and put the nuts on?

Climbing wall employee B who fails to check that route setter A has attached the belays properly?

Outdoor via ferrata operator C who charges for access but who has failed to check that crucial bolts are in good order?

Sport climbing activist D who has puts up a well-publicised new route but who didn't check that the bolts were properly glued in?

Sport climbing activist E who places a key bolt in a clearly fractured block which subsequently comes out with unfortunate results?

Sport climbing activist F who put up many well-bolted routes 20 years ago, but many of the bolts are now in a dangerous condition.?

Trad climber G who put some dodgy pegs in a sea cliff 20 years ago?


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