Occupiers’ liability case

The claimant was applying for a job at a station. To get into the office, you had to go through a door which sits on a small step about four inches above floor level. She went through this way, but on exiting, her interviewer opened the door and she fell.

The defendant said there had been no previous accidents and there was no evidence this was a hazard.

The Judge accepted greater care should have been given to the claimant as a visitor, who was unfamiliar with the office layout, under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. A hazard sign should have been put up to alert her as to the unexpected drop.

10 per cent contributory negligence as she had already gone through the door safely once.

Central London CC,

Asbestos injury award

The claimant was 78 years old and had an overall disability of 70 per cent, 60 per cent due to COPD and 10 per cent due to asbestos exposure.

Liability was conceded on the morning of trial and an offer of £10,000 made one week before the trial. This offer was increased to £15,000 and then £17,000 at the door of the court, all of these offers being rejected.

His Honour Judge Platt awarded £25,000 for the injury . There were no special damages claimed. We had made an offer to settle at £25,000 in October 2006. The Judge awarded us penalty interest on damages at 12.5 per cent

Although the claimant had a 10 per cent disability due to asbestos, he did have a very high non-asbestos respiratory disability anyway making it inappropriate to claim DIY or services. He was quite elderly with a very limited life expectancy due to the non-asbestos related matters.

Nevertheless, the Judge made the point that a small additional disability to a man who is already severely disabled can be very significant to the individual, saying that if a man is already 60 per cent disabled, he only has 40 per cent residual capacity and therefore to lose another 10 per cent must be equivalent to losing a quarter of your remaining capacity.

Liverpool County Court