Silver Wolf Spur – a (bitter) taste for life

Silver Wolf SpurThis is our story of how Silver Wolf Spur negligently caused my son’s broken leg and have lied their way out of accountability.

On 1st December 2014 we had dinner as an extended family at the Silver Wolf Spur (Carnival Mall) for my sister’s birthday. The place was busy and they removed some table partitions from an extended table to make room for us, and placed them in the general walkway behind our table. At one point Oliver (our then 1 year old) was playing a game of peek-a-boo with us from behind the table. Unbeknownst to us he was standing on table partitions that had been stacked there in the walkway. Sam noticed this and told him to get down. He did so. As she was shuffling out of the cubicle to get him, Oliver and a waitress collided in the walkway … and he fell back against the table partitions, which then collapsed on him.

Offending partitionsThe noise was tremendous and his scream was even more so. We tried to calm him down and put ice on the bruised ankle and knee. Two waiters quickly removed the offending partition, leaving two behind in the general walkway. It took two of them to carry the partition, that’s how heavy these things are. The manager came over, concerned. A little while later, an area manager arrived, also concerned. Oliver eventually stopped crying and we opted to see how he was in the morning before taking him to hospital.

The next morning was spent in casualty, having x-rays and a cast put on his leg. Oliver had a fractured tibia and soft tissue damage on the ankle as a result of the accident. Naturally, he was distraught and in a lot of pain. When the nurses asked what happened, the words “We were at the Spur and …” had hardly come out of my mouth before they clicked their tongues saying, “Hau! Don’t speak to us about the Spur … we see too many kids with broken bones from the Spur!” “Oh”, I said, attempting to tell them that this was not because he jumped off some towering bridge in the play area, but was a result of a stupidly stacked piece of furniture that fell on him.

Oliver broken legThe owner of the Silver Wolf Spur, Renier Steyn, was now calling me to find out how Oliver was. I responded by saying that I considered this a case of negligence by his staff. He immediately told me he cannot accept liability, but that his insurers have my details and would be expecting a claim from me.

So we’ve submitted our claim to Mr Steyn. In the claim we detailed all the direct costs associated with having Oliver’s leg treated, our expectation that the incident be debriefed with staff, that their policy of storing table partitions be revised to prevent future incidents like this and for additional remuneration to compensate for the inconvenience (having a toddler in a full leg cast, all the trauma and crying, the hassle of bathing him, etc) and lost consulting time (both Sam and I work for ourselves) due to caring for him.

This is when the insurers, Camargue, effectively took over. I was not allowed to speak to Mr Steyn, only them. This began to irritate me, considering it was Mr Steyn, the owner, who we wanted to take responsibility for the incident, not the insurers.

In one mail from them I saw the management report Mr Steyn submitted (remember that we had not been asked for our version of events). Mr Steyn’s report effectively turned the incident inside out making ridiculous claims like Oliver was being a nuisance to other patrons, that the waiters had repeatedly asked him to go play outside and that the accident was a result of Oliver falling off the partitions due to his mother pulling him up and down the wall behind our table. None of this happened. It was blatant lying and an effort to cover his, and his staff’s backside. I called Mr Steyn immediately. He was reassuring and said he was just going on what his staff told him, and that he too was concerned about the weight of the partitions, stating that they could break anyones leg, whether young or old. I suggested he speak to his staff because someone was lyi