This happened at a Ministry of Defence driving school of transport. It had been raining heavily. The claimant walked into a large hangar carrying something. The whole of the end of the hangar was flooded and the water was several inches deep and four to six feet out from the building. The large roller door was usually used by civilians and military personnel. There was no alternative other than for the claimant to walk through it and he slipped.

There was a drain in the centre to take water away and when the rain is light it works but when heavy the water collects. The Ministry of Defence recognised the importance of removing water which is why there is a drain there. Since the accident a private company have been employed to clear the drains.

The Judge found that the claimant had no option but to walk through and that he slipped and fell onto the water. Does that make the defendants liable? There had been no previous accidents or complaints, but the defendants recognised the danger; there have been no sensible risk assessments and no planning or cleaning regime. The claimant succeeded 100 per cent.

Lloyd -v- Ministry of Defence. Bradford County Court, 13 March 2007.

Hole in the road case wins

The claimant got out of a taxi, crossed the road and her right foot went into a hole in the road. The claimant’s daughter said that the hole had been there for three or four years before the accident. Other witnesses said it was present for at least 12-18 months before the accident.

The defendants said they had a reasonable system of inspection and it had last been inspected about a year before the accident.

The Judge found in favour of the claimant saying that it would have been actionable during the inspection the year prior to the accident and should have been taken care of back then. He made a finding of 25 per cent contributory negligence saying he considered she was aware of the pothole and should have been taking more care.

The case is of interest because it was a hole in the road rather than a footpath; also we went the extra mile in getting evidence of the history of the defect from neighbours who gave good evidence.

Sword -v- Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Birkenhead County Court, 11 April 2007