12 June, 2017
The claimant alleged that she tripped on a mat whilst exiting the defendant's store premises and fell face first into a metal fence outside of the main doors of the store. The claimant alleged that she suffered personal injuries as a result.
The defendant denied that the mat was in an upturned state or in any way presented a hazard to the claimant at the time of the accident. The incident was captured on CCTV and the footage appeared to show the claimant kick the edge of the mat causing her to trip. The claimant was wearing stiletto type footwear in which she was struggling to walk.
The area was inspected within 30 seconds of the accident and the mat was found to be flat to the floor and free from any defect. Similarly, the CCTV footage showed several customers traverse the mat both before and after the accident without issue.
At trial, the claimant failed to impress the Court. Firstly, the claimant stated that she disagreed with her medical evidence; leading the judge to question her reliability before her evidence had even commenced. Secondly, the claimant refused to accept what the CCTV showed, namely that the mat remained flat at all times. Overall the claimant demonstrated a lack of credibility in the witness box which left the Judge unconvinced by her claim for personal injury.
The court dismissed the claim.
Credibility is extremely important in personal injury claims; it is for the Judge to determine whether or not the claimant is telling the truth. In this case, the claimant's failure to accept the irrefutable evidence shown in the CCTV evidence, her abrupt demeanour in the witness box and her readiness to disagree with evidence she had previously declared as true and accurate ultimately led to the downfall of the claim.
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