Watch Out For the Tree!


01 June, 2015

Rowarth v Tameside MBC, DJ Osborne - Tameside County Court

The claimant alleged that in November 2012 she caught her foot against a mound in the pavement, caused by a raised tree root. Breach of duty was admitted, but due to a large number of inconsistencies in the claimant's account of the accident, the claimant was put to strict proof.

At trial the claimant was cross examined at length about a number of matters, in particular focusing on the numerous discrepancies in the medical evidence, her failure to seek immediate medical attention and the mechanics of the accident. The judge described her as being an unimpressive witness who was unable or unwilling to focus on the thrust of some of the questions. He described her responses to questions under cross examination as "an explanation of mistake or misreporting on the part of professionals."

The judge declared that the "truth is irreducible, it is recording what actually happened", he chastised the claimant, stating that she ought to have had a clear recollection of her accident and she ought to have communicated this to professionals soon after the accident "It is surprising she was not more focused on the claim as the CFA was signed on the day after the accident".

The Court found that the claimant had failed to prove the mechanics of the accident. This was reinforced in that if the claimant had tripped as she says, she would have been walking into the tree anyway.

Forbes comment

To satisfy that causation is established, the claimant must show when and how the accident happened. A detailed review of the claimant's medical records and analysis of the accident mechanics can often lead to the unravelling of a claimant's account of an accident under robust skilful cross examination.

For further advice and information contact Kate Humpston 01254 662831 or by email


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