A case concerning a man who suffered life-changing injuries in a fall from a balcony served as a reminder of the duty owed by property owners to keep their tenants and visitors reasonably safe.
The middle-aged man was on the balcony of a flat when a guardrail on which he was leaning broke. He fell about 20 feet onto the pavement below, suffering a plethora of mainly orthopaedic injuries. Following extensive surgery, he endured serious complications in the form of deep vein thromboses.
After a personal injury claim was lodged against the flat’s owner and landlord, lengthy discussions ensued. There was no agreement on such questions as the man’s life expectancy, the extent of his care needs and whether he had the legal capacity to manage his own affairs.
His legal team, however, succeeded in cutting through those issues by negotiating an £853,000 lump-sum settlement of his claim. In approving that figure, the High Court noted that a sensible compromise had been reached that would make a substantial contribution to meeting the man’s future needs.