AN expat left blinded in an eye while paintballing is suing the company for providing faulty equipment.
Jason Bowers, 43, from Estepona, was shot in the eye after his mask fell off while in action.
The building boss has launched legal action against Paintball Marbella after spending ‘tens of thousands’ on private medical treatment, mostly in Barcelona.
On three occasions he was unable to fly as specialists insisted his damaged eyeball might explode from the pressure.
While the company denies the claim, Bowers, originally from London, insists the kit he had been given was ‘shabby and ill-fitting’, which was why the mask came off.
Now forced to wear sunglasses and with just 40% vision in his right eye, he also alleges the business was operating without insurance or a license when the accident happened in April.
He claims it has since ceased trading, with a new business opening under different ownership at the same premises.
He also insists that many of the same staff are involved in the new paintball business – which also previously offered hang gliding and archery.
“And of course the new company takes no responsibility for the accident,” he told the Olive Press.
I am concerned that the business continues but Paintball Marbella is trying to escape its liability to me. It is refusing to pay any compensation.”
The incident happened while celebrating his sister’s 40th birthday at the site near Monda on April 13.
After being given a safety briefing in which they were warned of the dangers and not to take masks off, they were taken to select their equipment.
“This comprised a selection of badly fitting all-in-one suits,” said Bowers, who runs his own building company Dimension 4 in San Pedro. “It was a bit of a joke at the time, but we just took it as good fun.”
The battle between two teams of friends had gone well until the last few minutes when he had fell while moving backwards.
“I tripped on the leg of my trousers – which were too long and didn’t fit. When I fell I knocked off my mask. I bent down to pick it up and as I stood up I was hit right in the eye.”
He continued: “It was incredibly painful and I was instantly blinded. I actually thought my eye-ball had exploded.”
He was rushed to the Costa del Sol hospital, before being sent by medics for specialist treatment in Barcelona.
He said, “The retina specialist removed the broken parts of my eye – after that there was no white to it – just black in the centre with red all around.”
Initially the paintball company had shown concern. However, after a flurry of initial emails, it all went quiet when he asked for the insurance details.
“I wasn’t trying to get rich, just cover my medical bills – and they were reaching tens of thousands,” he added.
Then in July he heard the company would only deal with him via lawyers.
However, despite months of litigation, he is still waiting for a court date and an official medical exam.
Forced to sell his car and hire extra staff at his business, he approached the Olive Press to warn others about the risks and the fact that there was no insurance.
“But in my case, it is not really about the money it is the fact that the business can continue to operate.”
“I feel terrible for my sister that it happened on her birthday and for the guy who shot me. Ironically my best friend.”
Paintball Marbella declined to comment.