Mud on the road

The claimant was riding his motorcycle on the A509. As he proceeded over a roundabout, his bike skidded and slipped on mud that had accumulated on the road. The claimant alleged that the mud had been caused to accumulate on the road as a result of the negligence of the defendant, who had been a contractor working on a nearby site. Under the terms of their agreement, the defendants had to ensure the cleanliness of their vehicles before leaving the site so as to prevent pollution of the highway.

They had a wheel wash present for that purpose.

Liability was denied by the defendants. The claimant won. 

Steven Knight -v- Weldon Plant Limited 14 June 2005, Northampton CC

Wheelchair assistance at airports – holiday law

The claimant booked a tour with Thomsons with flights from Britannia.

She asked for wheelchair assistance to get from arrivals to the baggage reclaim hall at the airport as she was arthritic .

On arrival there was a wheelchair but no escort to push her so her husband assisted.

They wrongly assumed that the lifts were not working inside so tried to use a non- moving escalator. The claimant approached it on foot and her motion caused it to move via a detector and she fell and was injured.

She claimed under her contract against the airline and tour operator for failure to provide “wheelchair assistance” meaning an escort as well as a wheelchair.

The defendant disagreed and said an able bodied companion was well able to do that.

Held: The claimant was entitled to expect an escort and so there was a  breach of duty in contract and tort to the claimant but her failure even to attempt to use the lift in assuming it did not work was so unreasonable as to break the chain of causation between the breach and the accident.

She also alleged the strict liability type provisions of the Warsaw Convention applied to the accident as against the airline.

Held: the Warsaw Convention was not engaged as the claimant had passed through passport control, was with other passengers and was no longer under control of the carrier.

Case dismissed.

Jewsbury -v- Thomson Tour Operations Ltd & Britannia Airways, May 13 2005, Sheffield CC (from TATLA, Summer 2005)