02 September, 2014
Jones v Tameside MBC, Tameside County Court
Forbes has successfully defended a claim at trial where it was alleged that upon crossing the road a Claimant fell on a deep hole/two grids in the road. Whilst the Judge found that the hole in the road was dangerous, he was left less than satisfied by the Claimant's failure to be able to adequately explain the mechanics of the accident. The Claimant alleged that the area was covered in ice and slush. As her foot left an impression in the slush, she stated that she stepped into the hole which caused her to stumble and trip on the edge of the grid.
According to the Claimant's contemporaneous hospital records the Claimant told the triage nurse and the doctor that she had simply fallen. The account she gave three days later to a doctor referred to a slip on ice. When she was examined by the medical expert she commented that she had tripped on a grid. The Claimant's witness statement and the Particulars of Claim made no reference to ice.
The Judge remarked that the Defendant could not be liable for the presence of slush. The trip edge on the grid was unmeasured; however photographs showed that the grid was almost flush with the surface. The Judge concluded that unless the hole alone caused the accident, it was difficult to see how the claim could succeed.
In any event, the Judge was happy that the Defendant had demonstrated that a satisfactory inspection and repair regime had been carried out. It was found that the four month inspection regime was appropriate. The Judge agreed that the procedures for inspection are set out in the Defendant's Code of Practice and that it was not for the Court to change when a Local Authority with limited resources should inspect.
The claim failed and the Defendant was awarded its costs.