06 October, 2016
Tulpin v Scarborough BC
Scarborough County Court - DJ Neaves
The claimant attended a park with her grandchildren and decided to go on a pedalo ride on the boating lake. As the claimant was disembarking from the pedalo, she fell forwards on to the boat deck and sustained an injury.
The claimant brought a claim for personal injury, alleging that the defendant was vicariously liable for its employee, the pedalo operative. The claimant alleged that as she placed one foot on the boat deck, she did not see the pedalo move away and the resulting movement caused her to fall forwards. The defendant maintained that the claimant must have slipped or tripped as the operative had hold of the boat at all times using a pole attached to a metal hook on the side of the pedalo.
The evidence and issue of liability rested on the issue of whether the hook had become detached from the side of the pedalo causing the boat to move away from the stationary decking.
The claimant was cross examined on the mechanics of the accident before the Judge ultimately concluded that the claimant's account simply could not have happened. Whilst he accepted that the claimant's witness evidence was honest to the best of her recollection, the evidence simply did not hold water. The claimant did not see the hook become detached and she didn't see pedalo drift away.
In addition, the Judge found it significant that the claimant nor her family members sought to blame the defendant at the time of the accident.
The Judge dismissed the claim.
In this matter there was a clear factual dispute between the parties. The defendant's witnesses however had a clear recollection of events, having performed the task many times. The defendant was clear as to the procedure adopted when people disembarked from the boats. The Judge was impressed by the defendant's evidence, which was supported by contemporaneous documentary evidence including the accident report form and a diary entry.
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