HM Insights

Public Liability Accident: Roofing company & duty of care owed to public

Client suffers injury as a result of breach of duty of care by roofing company and is awarded damages for her injury

Our Public Liability team successfully represented an 84 year old lady who fell when she was outside her home. The roof of the building in which she lived was being repaired. Our client walked onto an area that was not sectioned off and no signs were in place to show that work had been done or was ongoing. The roofing company who had carried out the works should have ensured that the area was safe for use by member of the general public.

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More case details

The area in which our client fell had been resurfaced. Our client fell forwards as a result of adhesive being left on the ground and sustained injuries to her upper limbs, specifically a broken wrist and contusion and bruises to her elbow. She was in plaster for approximately six weeks and suffered her right elbow injury for three weeks. Unfortunately our client was left with persisting stiffness and discomfort as a result of her wrist fracture.

When our client was discharged from hospital she required help with services that were provided to her by her daughter. She required help with washing herself, dressing and personal care for a period of approximately two months due to her limited upper limb function.

In addition, she had to have a chair lift fitted to her bath to assist her with getting in and out of the bath. She also needed assistance with household chores including cooking and heavier domestic chores. 

Our elderly client's confidence walking outdoors was understandably affected by the accident. 

In terms of this type of case we require to prove that there was negligence (fault) that resulted in our client being injured. The area where our client fell had been resurfaced and had no signs showing that work had been undertaken - it was a risk to walk on the resurfaced area and the general public should not be exposed to foreseeable risk. The day after our client's accident the area was fenced off to the public. 

Companies have a duty of care to the public

The work to the public area had been carried out by a private roofing company. Such companies have a duty to ensure that the areas in which they are working are safe to the public. It is important that if work is done by companies in public areas that they act in a responsible way towards the public to ensure that they fulfil their duty of care to the public. This roofing company, like many other companies who work in public places, are vicariously liable (responsible) for any negligent acts and omissions by their employees.

We proved that our client suffered injury as a result of this company's breach of duty of care and our client was awarded damages for her injury, services that were provided to her by her daughter and some personal effects that she damaged in the accident. Our client received a four figure sum for settlement of her case and most importantly the company were held liable for their breaches.

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