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Faunt v DCC, Exeter County Court, 13 May 2004

2 June 2004
The issues

Highway Trip – Claimant Intoxicated – Claimant’s Version at Odds With Contemporaneous Records – Credibility

The facts

The Claimant was holidaying in Teignmouth with his wife on 10 September 2000 when he allegedly tripped on a raised paving block in a pedestrian precinct. He alleged that the block was raised by about 1″. The precinct was subject to monthly inspections. On the last inspection, three weeks before, no defects were observed or recorded at the location by the Defendant’s Highway Inspector.

The Claimant fractured his arm. On admission to hospital, there were several references to the Claimant having told medical staff (at least one nurse and two different doctors) that he had been drinking that evening. He said he had consumed about 6 pints of cider but there was the suggestion in the notes that he had consumed more. In his witness statement and in his oral evidence at Trial, he said he had only consumed 4 pints and that the last pint was at 2.30 pm. The accident occurred at 9.30 pm.

The decision

The District Judge preferred the contemporaneous hospital records to Mr Faunt’s evidence on the point. The District Judge then had to consider the extent to which she could rely upon his evidence generally. She said Mr Faunt’s evidence was called into question about the accident circumstances and, accordingly, she could not accept that the accident occurred as alleged or that there was causation. The claim was therefore dismissed.

Comments

By Darren Salter, Associate Solicitor at Veitch Penny. Tel: +44 (0)1392 288328, Fax: +44 (0)1392 410247, Email: darrensalter@veitchpenny.co.uk.

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