Lewis' Fall Claim Wins £25,000 in Court (Belfast)
Lewis received a phone call from his father who explained that he accidently locked himself out of his house. He noted that a ground floor window was open and he believed his son would be able to gain access through it. Lewis called to his father’s house and realised that to access the window he would also need to climb a fence. To do this, he used a ladder. However as he climbed he felt the ladder start to give way, causing him to lose his balance and fall backwards. Whilst falling he instinctively grabbed a bollard at the top of the fence, but it came loose and he continued to fall backwards. He landed on a wheelie bin before tumbling off and to the ground.
As a result of this he suffered a fracture of his right wrist. The wrist was initially splinted but he then underwent an operation to align the fracture. Lewis made a good functional recovery but was left with a degree of discomfort for long after.
Lewis contacted Paschal O'Hare Solicitors
Lewis then approached us with the hope to claim from his father’s home insurance. During his initial phone call, Lewis explained that he inspected the ladder a few weeks after the accident and saw they were defective. Savvy Lewis took photos at the time and sent them to us. Despite this, his father’s insurer declined liability and we subsequently issued High Court proceedings.
The insurer alleged that the accident occurred because Lewis fell whilst climbing on the wheelie bin rather than a ladder. Unfortunately, the ladder had since been disposed of and the only evidence that it existed was the photographs. However, thankfully a separate set of photographs of the ladder were taken shortly after the accident by a Loss Assessor appointed by the insurance company. In their defence, the insurer also referred to the hospital notes from Lewis’ trip to A&E following the fall. These hospital notes indicated that Lewis fell from a wheelie bin. Lewis rejected this and remained firm that at the hospital he explained he fell from a ladder, onto a wheelie bin, before hitting the ground. He maintained that in the doctor’s haste they failed to accurately record what had happened, which is not uncommon.
The insurer believed that it was a bogus claim
Due to this, the insurer questioned the credibility of Lewis and made it clear that they did not believe it was a genuine claim. We listed the case for a court hearing but before it commenced it became clear that there would be no offer of compensation. During the trial, Lewis gave evidence to the court and was cross examined by the defence counsel. The defence suggested that if the ladder were to slip, Lewis would have fallen forward rather than backwards on to the bin. However, we called upon an expert witness, an engineer who explained to the court that this was false. At the conclusion of the case Counsel for both parties summed up their case to the deciding Judge.
The Judge found in favour of Lewis and indicated that he was a very credible witness. He accepted that there was inconsistencies in relation to medical notes but acknowledged Doctor notes are notoriously inaccurate due to the pressure medical staff work under. The Judge awarded Lewis £25,000 in compensation.