Our ambulance driver was carrying a stroke victim downstairs in a carry chair at a private home. A stair lift suddenly came up the stairs and hit him and knocked him and the chair down.

The Judge found there was a breach of duty in that the defendant could easily have isolated the power on the stair lift. This was recommended in the owner’s manual and in an engineering report for the court. The likely cause of the accident was that someone had accidentally flicked an on-off switch on the stair lift, which would have been impossible if the power were isolated.

Newcastle upon Tyne CC, 15 January 2008.

New Year’s Eve slipping on drink: a group action

The claimant slipped on liquid that was on the dance floor of the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton during a New Years’ Eve party. The claimant argued there were excess amounts of spilt alcohol on the dance floor and so the defendant failed to have a proper system of inspection and cleaning.

The defendants sought to argue that:

  • it was necessary for drinks to be taken on the dance floor due to the risk of spiking
    that they did have an adequate inspection and cleaning policy
    the claimant caused or contributed to her accident by way of her alcohol consumption and footwear.

The Judge found in favour of the claimant on all points.

The main point argued was that of the inspection and cleaning. Firstly, not all staff on the rota had turned up for work that evening and the evidence of the person in charge who said that he could have checked each location every 15 minutes as well as performing all manner of other functions, for example head of security, was not accepted.

Witness evidence as to the poor condition of the floor was accepted.

In regards to contributory negligence, it was found, using video footage of the claimant by the defendant in the first aid room, that she was not drunk. Concerning her footwear, she was simply wearing what the majority of females wear on such an evening out and could not be criticised for the same.

This was the first case to be heard on these / similar circumstances.
Walsall CC, 17-18 January 2008.