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Curtis v Borough of Broxbourne Council, Luton County Court, 9 December 2003

17 December 2003
The issues

Tripping claim – Credibility of Claimant and Claimant’s witnesses untrue witness statements.

The facts

This claim concerned an alleged tripping accident on 27th October 2000 against the Defendant Highway Authority. The Claimant said she tripped on an uneven paving slab, raised by about 2 inches. The Defendant said however that the uneven paving slab was repaired about a month before the Claimant’s alleged fall. An “independent” witness allegedly witnessed the accident and subsequent repairs. There was therefore a significant issue of credibility, fuelled by a delay of about 3 weeks before the Claimant sought medical attention and other entries in the GP notes, which indicated that the Claimant had suffered a series of physical assaults before and after the alleged incident date. One of the assaults, a month before the alleged trip, resulted in similar injuries to that allegedly sustained in the trip. The Defendant contended that there had been no trip.

The decision

1. There were inconsistencies in the oral evidence of the Claimant, her boyfriend and the “independent” witness.

2. The District Judge found it difficult to accept, mechanically, how the Claimant could have injured the top of her head in the fall.

3. The Judge preferred the Defendant’s evidence that repairs had been completed approximately one month before the alleged trip.

4. The Judge dismissed the claim, saying that he was not satisfied that the accident occurred in the way in which the Claimant said it did. The Claimant had failed to discharge the burden of proof. The Claimant was ordered to pay the Defendant’s costs.

Claim dismissed.


For further information about this case please contact Darren Salter at darrensalter@veitchpenny.co.uk

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