01 July, 2015
Middlesbrough County Court - DJ Keating
Forbes has successfully defended a housing disrepair claim at trial on behalf of Livin Housing Limited. The Claimant alleged that she was in the garage attached to the property rented from the Defendant. She had opened the garage door by opening the 'up and over' door and entered the garage in order to retrieve some items from the boot of her car. As she bent over, the garage door came off its runner, striking the boot lid and in turn hitting the Claimant on the head.
The claim was brought pursuant to s4 Defective Premises Act 1972, it was alleged that the Defendant knew or ought to have known that the garage door was defective/dangerous, had failed to inspect the garage door and had failed to heed the Claimant's complaints.
The Claimant failed to persuade the court, on the balance of probabilities that the accident had occurred as alleged. The Judge was concerned with the number of inconsistencies presented in the Claimant's evidence and in particular, the extent of the injuries she suffered describing the evidence as "colourful and exuberant". The Judge did not believe that the accident occurred as alleged by the Claimant, but in fact preferred the explanation set out in the contemporaneous medical records. The Judge was also concerned that the Claimant had failed to report the defective garage door to the Defendant, although she alleged during cross examination that she had done so on four or five occasions prior to her accident. The judge made it clear that there is always the possibility of human error however, she found highly unlikely that four or five complaints would have gone completely unrecognised.
Furthermore, the Judge considered the reactive system of maintenance to be more than adequate. The case was dismissed.