Mr R was renting a property in Northampton and whilst showering in the wet room he slipped and fell backwards hitting his head and jarring his neck and lower back. Mr R reported the incident to his landlord the very same day and since the accident the flooring has been replaced.
Mr R appointed Hayward Baker Personal Injury Solicitors to deal with his claim for personal injury compensation. Hayward Baker submitted the claim to the defendant insurers via the low value on-line insurers portal with the following allegations:
‘You have a common law and statutory duty to take such care to see lawful visitors to your premises are reasonably safe when carrying on the reason/purpose they are permitted to be there. The unsuitable flooring in the wet room constituted a defect and it was reasonably foreseeable that a person using the wet room could sustain injury as a result of the slippery nature of the flooring.
You failed to ensure that the wet room flooring which was replaced by your contractors prior to our client’s occupation of the property was suitable and sufficient for its purpose. You also failed to inspect the premises adequately or at all and ensure the wet room flooring was suitable and sufficient. Furthermore despite being aware of our client?s mobility issues you failed to ensure that grab/hand rails were installed in the wet room.
This is in breach of Section 2 of the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.
Alternatively/additionally section 4(1) of the Defective Premises Act places an obligation on the landlord to all persons who might reasonably be expected to be affected by defects in the state of the premises a duty to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to see that they are reasonably safe from personal injury. Section 4(2) provides that a duty is owed if the landlord knows or if he ought in all the circumstances to have known of the relevant defect.
We understand the wet room flooring was replaced prior to our client’s occupation of the property by contractors employed by you. You were therefore on notice of the defect but failed to ensure the same was remedied and as such are in breach of your statutory duties.
Furthermore you have breached the implied term of responsibility for repair in accordance with the Tenancy Agreement entered into with our client dated 23/3/15.’
The defendant insurers acknowledged the claim and after a short investigation period confirmed that liability would not be in dispute (liability was admitted).
Mr R’s solicitor now arranged a medical appointment with a General Practitioner so that he could be examined and a report would be formulated upon his injuries. It would be this report that would be used in support of his claim and help his solicitor make a valuation of what the claim is worth.
Mr R was concerned that he would be evicted for making a claim and was advised by his solicitor that this is highly unlikely unless he has breached the terms of his tenancy agreement which making a claim for personal injury was not.
After Mr R had attended his medical examination he had to wait around 6 weeks for the report to be written and posted to his solicitor. The report stated that the injuries that he had sustained were consistent with the material accident. A time frame was set out by which the injuries would resolve but a course of physiotherapy would be required to help resolve the strain to his spine.
Once the physiotherapy treatment was completed Hayward Baker asked for the physiotherapist report and used this along with the information in the first medical report to value the claim.
Mr R was then written to by his solicitor advising him of what the claim was worth and breaking down the figures into compensation for the injuries, out of pocket expenses to include travel expenses and costs of medical items and a figure for payment to the physiotherapist.
Mr R was advised that an offer in settlement should be made to the insurers of £3400.00 but not less than £2600.00. If an offer less than £2600.00 was made then his solicitor would consider issuing proceedings and let a judge decide what the claim is worth. Should this happen then his solicitor would contact him and explain the risks of issuing court proceedings.
Mr R accepted the valuation of his claim and signed an authority to allow his solicitor to put forward the offer for £3400.00 but would accept anything above £2600.00 including the payment to his physiotherapist.
The case settled for £4400.00.