Wheelchair user awarded compensation after being crushed at a concert12 December 2008
Seriously injured neck
Mrs Y seriously injured her neck during the Bigge Weekend, a charity concert organised by the Children’s Hope Foundation at Linden Hall Hotel near Morpeth.
UNISON is now urging all event organisers to provide better provision for disabled visitors to prevent incidents of this type happening again.
The area at the charity concert earmarked for disabled visitors had been badly organised.
Due to the Saturday event being cancelled, ticket holders for both days arrived on the Sunday.
Also, restrictions had not been put in place to monitor the reserved disabled area, which was packed.
Wheelchair was turned over by crowd
Mrs Y’s wheelchair was turned over by the crowd, leaving her wedged in between the chair and a metal panel behind her.
Concerns were raised because the woman, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, Ehlers Danlos, must avoid injuries at all costs, as a blow to the head could result in quadriplegia. She was put on neck traction for five days, but made a full recovery.
The case went to Newcastle County Court. The judge found the facilities were inadequate and ordered damages of £2,750.
Mrs Y said: “We had checked ahead to ensure there were adequate disabled facilities in place as I know at events like this it can get extremely busy.
“I was told there would be a raised platform with a disabled toilet and I agreed to attend, as I believed it would be safe.
“When we arrived it became apparent that the disabled area was poorly organised. They were not checking tickets and anyone was free to enter the area.
“The accident has caused me a great deal of pain and worry. Injuries like this one can render me a quadriplegic and I was extremely worried about this.
“If I had known the arrangements were going to be so badly organised I would not have attended as I have too much to lose from an accident.”
Seriously hurt in accident
Gloria Foran, national officer for Disability, said:
“Event organisers must understand the need to organise safety as well as access for disabled people.
“The consequences of this event could have been far greater, Mrs Y could have lost her job. Ultimately the price could have been her life.”
Fiona Belgian from Thompsons Solicitors added: “The concert organiser has a duty of care to ensure it provides safe facilities for wheelchair users both within it's hotel and when hosting events like this one.
“Mrs Y was seriously hurt in this accident and should never have been put in a position where she feared for her future mobility.”
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