Institute of Expert Witnesses

Providing specialist advice and support in accident cases

The Institute of Expert Witnesses offers professional impartial and independent advice and provides qualified expert opinions to support the legal process of resolving cases of accidents and injury.


Case: Novice mountain biker suffers a significant spinal injury

In a latest case for which our expert witness services were requested, a young man taking part in a beginner’s mountain bike tuition course suffered a significant spinal injury when cycling down a slope.


The injury case:

He claimed that his personal injuries were caused by the negligence and/ or breach of contract of the mountain bike instructor by having failed to take responsible care of his safety on the course, but the action has been defended. After the negligence and breach of contract are denied presuming that the accident was caused either wholly or in part by the negligence of the learner, the parties proceeded by way of a trial
This is the moment when our services were requested and one of our expert witnesses provided a complete, detailed report, including a visit to the site that played a decisive role in solving this case. 

The Expert Witness advice: 

Our witness expert taking over this civil case has a wide experience in a number of different types of hazardous sporting activities, including mountain biking, for which he holds a high level mountain bike instructor’s qualification and has been involved in mountain biking training for over 30 years. 

After collecting valuable information from all the parties involved in this accident and professionally analysing all the details regarding the accident and the case law, our expert witness provided a complete report from which we extracted below some useful advice that any mountain bike instructor should take into consideration: 
  • Choose an ideal slope for novice mountain bikers. Take into consideration that whilst they may have ridden mountain bikes on the roads, they probably had not been taught any of the specialist skills required to traverse difficult terrain in safety.
  • Provide sufficient prior instruction and training to each mountain biking beginner. It is important to ensure that all participants are taught the skills required to safely traverse a particular piece of terrain before it’s ridden. 
  • The skills should be taught on terrain which does not present the potential danger which the skills are designed to protect against. 
  • Investigate the level of skill of each participant by setting tasks and assessing their ability to complete them. This is how you can become aware of the skills they need to learn and the likely level of instruction that would be required for them to be taught. 
  • Make sure all participants are appropriately trained in the necessary basic skills.
  • Evaluate the performance of all novice mountain bikers after they descend a slope and provide further instruction and training if required.
Please take in to consideration that the above recommendations aren’t enough to determine the participants’ safety and get immunity from legal cases, but it will for sure help prevent many of the possible personal injuries that can happen on mountain bikes. 

The outcome of the trial: 

Based on the valuable report provided by our expert witness, the young man was successful in his claim. This is one of the many cases in which the Institute of Expert Witnesses has a crucial role in taking a rightful decision, providing balanced opinion and ensuring a fair trial. Due to the great experience and knowledge of our members, many of the personal injury accidents in which we are involved are solved even before they become court cases.

If you are involved in a case and need professional impartial and independent advice, please do not hesitate to contact our Expert Witnesses on 0117 986 2194 or at enquiries@iew.org.uk.


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