Canopy Tours to pay victim

2014-08-19 00:00

A GAUTENG man who sued Karkloof Canopy Tours over injuries he sustained during an accident in November 2010, will be paid 75% of his proven damages.

The agreement is in terms of a settlement reached in the Pietermaritzburg high court between James Christopher Read (36) and Karkloof Canopy Tours company yesterday.

Read initially asked for over R900 000, but the actual amount of the damages he will receive will be determined at a future hearing.

Read is claiming for medical costs he incurred resulting from fractures to his pelvis and vertebrae as well as for psychological trauma.

Karkloof Canopy Tours conducts tours in the Karkloof Forest Reserve by way of slides that take people across the top of the forest canopy.

Court papers say the slides consist of steel cables that extend between fixed poles above the canopy.

People taking part in the tours are attached to the cable by harnesses so they can move suspended between the fixed points along the cable.

On the day of the accident, while he was on a slide, Read is said to have collided with the lower platform situated at the end of the slide “and/or a tree”.

As a result he suffered severe fractures of his pelvis and vertebrae for which he underwent treatment at Medi-Clinic in Pietermaritzburg as well as eight weeks of physiotherapy.

The complainant still suffers from back pain, pain in his pelvis and from psychological trauma.

Read lodged a claim for R904 217,24. However, this was said to be an “estimate only” and the actual damages have yet to be proved.

The claim was based on allegations that the tour company failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the slide equipment, and failed to avoid the accident, when it ought to have done so by exercising reasonable care.

It was alleged that Read was given either incorrect or inadequate instructions on applying brakes on the slide.

It was also submitted that employees at either side of the cableway had failed to communicate properly to ensure that he was safely brought to a halt.

The company had initially given notice of its intention to defend the action.

However, following negotiations between legal teams, a settlement was reached in terms of which the tour company admitted liability for 75% of the damages suffered by Read.

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