Highways Claim Dismissed by Judge

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06 February, 2018

Barnes v Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

A Judge dismissed a claim for personal injury after finding that the Claimant had failed to prove her claim.

In April 2014, the Claimant alleged that she was walking home from the supermarket when she tripped on a defective grid and stubbed her left toes on a stop tap cap lid, which caused her to stumble forwards and land on a loose paving slab which tilted causing her to also stub her right toes.

The Claimant did not seek immediate medical attention but supposedly mentioned the injury to her GP nearly a year later in May 2015 following a car accident. It is alleged that the GP advised her to see a chiropodist. The medical note includes no reference whatsoever to the injury or to the advice allegedly given by the GP.

The Claimant was not able to provide any photographs of the accident location from the time of the accident in April 2014, nor did she report the incident or the broken stop tap to the Council. No complaints were received regarding this area until the CNF was filed in June 2015.

The Claimant's witness also failed to attend the trial and as a result the Judge attached no weight to the statement.

At trial, the Judge accepted that the inspection carried out by the Local Authority was adequate and he found the Risk Management Inspector to be an impressive witness whose notes demonstrated her thorough approach to highway inspections. He deemed it unlikely that she would have missed any defects and dismissed the claim.

Forbes comment

The Claimant was put to strict proof and she was unable to prove her claim on the balance of probabilities at trial. The Claimant produced no evidence that the stop tap cover was in the condition she alleged at the date of the accident and no contemporaneous evidence to confirm that the accident had occurred at all. Furthermore, the proficient evidence from the highway inspector convinced the Court that the local authority had discharged its duty.

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