A recent claim brought against a private housing association in London offers insight into the difficulty in determining whether the landlord was responsible for an accident involving a tenant, or whether sheer bad luck was to blame. The claimant had been walking up the driveway to her home one night when she tripped over a large stone in her path and fell into a bush, causing a sharp branch to penetrate her left eye, and subsequently leaving her blinded in that eye.
The claimant’s barrister argued that the pathway was unsafe at the time of the accident, and the landlord had failed to take ‘reasonable care’ to keep its tenants safe from the risk of getting injured while walking on it. The injured tenant had apparently notified the housing association multiple times that the pathway was uneven and unsafe due to large stones and potholes, while the lighting was also poor, yet no action has been taken to repair the surface or make the path better lit.
The housing association’s legal team strongly contested the claimant’s arguments, suggesting she may have been drinking on the night of the accident, which she denied, and questioning whether she had in fact complained to the housing association about the state of the driveway, citing a lack of evidence of messages she had allegedly sent. Work had recently been carried out on the driveway, and this amounted to reasonable care having been taken to make it safe.
The claimant lost her £150,000 compensation claim against her housing association after fierce arguments in court from both sides, with the judge agreeing the the defense that the claimant’s injury was the result of an ‘unfortunate accident’. The case highlights how difficult it can be to prove that a housing association was to blame for an accident, as well as the fact that they are likely to strongly challenge claims made against them, including defending a claim in court.
Find out more about: Suing a Housing Association for Disrepair and Personal Injury