Falling out of hotel windows

The claimant managed to fall out of a second floor hotel window. He brought proceedings under the Occupiers Liability Act arguing that the height from the floor to the base of the window opening was 750mm, less than the 800mm required by good practice; he also argued that all windows above ground level out of which someone could fall should have bars or limiters.

The Judge held that there was no duty on hotels for the purposes of the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 to ensure that the height from the floor to the base of the opening of windows was 800mm or to ensure that all windows had bars or limiters to stop guests falling out. It did not follow that, because new buildings or work places were required to comply with the recommendation of 800mm, the defendant was required to do the same in the bedrooms of its hotel. In any event there was no evidence to suggest that, had the base of the opening been 50mm higher, the accident would not have happened. If the defendant’s arguments were accepted, virtually every window in every building in the land would have to be adapted so that no one would fall out. This is not a reasonable precaution to impose upon householders or hoteliers.

Lewis -v- Six Continents (2005) EWC316 4th March 2005

Injuries caused by aggressive children

The claimant was a library assistant at a school. She suffered arm and shoulder injuries when trying to lock the library doors when children were attempting to force their way into the library. The claim was based upon the council’s failure to provide adequate supervision of children and the corridor outside the library at lunchtime, and that the library door was not constructed to allow the claimant to see if anyone was on the other side of the door. Documentation was obtained in relation to numerous previous incidents involving children acting in an abusive, aggressive and violent manner in or around the library.

The Judge found in the claimant’s favour. There was evidence of children being aggressive, abusive and violent, and therefore a foreseeable risk of injury. The Judge preferred the claimant’s evidence and the evidence of the library manager that there was no adequate supervision of the area outside the library. It was not unreasonable for the school to provide regular inspection of the corridor or to prevent too many children going upstairs to the library. There was also breach of Regulation 18 (2) (e) of the Workplace Regulations.

Piatkiewicz -v- Manchester City Council Manchester County Court 15th March 2005

Unsafely parked lorries

The claimant was emerging from a side road. The view was blocked by a lorry parked within 10 metres of the junction. As she pulled out, another vehicle overtook the lorry and collided with the claimant.

Originally the driver of the other vehicle had made a claim against the claimant which was dealt with by the claimant’s insurance company who admitted liability in the first instance. We issued proceedings, withdrew the admission of liability and pursued the claim. In the Leeds County Court 2nd March 2005 the lorry driver was found 50 per cent to blame, the driver of the other car was found 25 per cent liable and the claimant 25 per cent liable.

The case merits mention because two barristers had earlier advised turning the case down due to lack of case law regarding negligent parking of vehicles.