23 July, 2008
Forbes successfully defended a claim against the Housing Association at Trial. Breach of duty had been admitted but liability had been denied on the basis that the Claimant had given various different versions of how he came to suffer the injury.
The Claimant claimed damages arising out of an accident, which happened outside the flat owned by the Housing Association and tenanted to the Claimant's mother. The Claimant alleged that he fell on steps outside the flat, as a result of the defective condition of the steps and fractured his left arm.
Her Honour Judge Fletcher agreed with Forbes that the central issue in this case was the Claimant's credibility.
The Claimant's statement clearly gives the impression that the Claimant went to his mother's flat at about 5pm or 6pm and stayed there up until the time of the incident. However, that is not the true position. At some point during that evening the Claimant left the flat and went to the home of his former partner, where an incident occurred. The Claimant admits that he was in a jealous rage and took his former partner's handbag and thereafter returned to his mother's flat.
The Claimant denies that there was any violence at his former partner's premises and denies the suggestions put to him by Counsel either that he barged the door down with his arm or that he was hit with a bat by her. However, the entry in the hospital notes reads, "hit with? bat – alleges." When asked about this entry the Claimant informed the Court that this was an assumption made by the doctor.
The Judge was extremely concerned at this significant withholding of information. "This is a case where the Claimant has given several different accounts of what happened and his evidence in the case as a whole was so undermined with inconsistencies and by the withholding of important information and I reject the evidence that he did not tell the doctor that he might have been assaulted."
The Claimant claimed loss of earnings for 12 months but again the Claimant had not disclosed that soon after the accident he had been imprisoned. During cross examination the Claimant kept changing his story and the Judge felt that the, "Claimant appeared to be creating falsely fabricating evidence to deal with difficulties he faced during cross examination."
The Judge concluded that: -
"The Claimant has failed to satisfy me on a balance of probabilities that his injuries occurred as a result of an accident on the steps outside the flat".
The claim was dismissed and the Defendants were awarded their costs.
For further information please contact Claire Moran at our Blackburn office, Marsden House, 28 Wellington Street (St. John's), Blackburn, BB1 8DA. Tel: 01254 662831.