Iain McLeod successful in Personal Injury case before the Court of Appeal

13 May 2011

Karen Dalton v Nottingham County Council

The claim arose out of an accident suffered by the Claimant [D.O.B. 17.04.1957] in Beeston Square in the Broxtowe area of Nottingham on 20th October 2006 when she stumbled on a raised, loose, and rocking paving block, overbalanced and fell to the ground, sustaining a serious complex spiral subtrochanteric fracture of her left femur. The block in question had been cut to a triangular shape, and represented approximately ¼ of an ordinary 200mm x 100mm sized paving block

The Square was a busy pedestrianised shopping centre whose walking surface consisted of paving blocks laid in a herring bone pattern on a bed of sand, some of which had been cut to fit/accommodate utility ironworks. The area of the Claimant’s fall was also subject to vehicular traffic, namely delivery vehicles and heavy armoured vehicles collecting and delivering money to shops, banks and building societies on that side of the square.

The Claimant alleged breach of section 41 Highways Act 1980. NCC denied breach of s41, and further relied on the statutory defence under s58 on the basis that their monthly inspections had been carefully carried out by the Highways Inspector, most recently on 11th October 2006, 9 days before the accident. NCC also alleged contributory negligence.

A split trial was ordered, and the issue of liability was tried by Hamblen J in Nottingham County Court on 16th June 2010 when he decided the issue in the Claimant’s favour, and rejected the allegations of contributory negligence.

Hamblen J refused permission to appeal at the end of the trial, and Rix LJ refused permission to appeal on the papers on 15th October 2010. However, the Defendant’s renewed application for permission to appeal was granted by Smith LJ on all grounds except contributory negligence at an oral hearing on 19th January 2011, at which the Defendant was represented by counsel who had not conducted the trial. The claimant was not represented at that hearing.

The Appeal was heard by May, Jackson, and Tomlinson LJJ on 11th May 2011, and was dismissed. A reasoned judgement will be handed down in due course.

The case will now proceed to an assessment of damages.