England: Athlete wins compensation after fall from friends’ window
A blind athlete who suffered a serious spinal injury in a 25-foot fall from a window in a friends’ house has successfully won a claim for compensation.
Mark Pollock, 39, originally from Co Down in Northern Ireland, took Enda and Madeline Cahill, of Oxfordshire, to court after he suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury by falling from their second-storey window.
Mr Pollock said he was probably ”on his way to the bathroom” when he tripped and fell out of the window, which had been left open.
Mr Justice William Davis at the High Court in London upheld his claim, saying the Cahills “failed to discharge the common law duty of care they owed as occupiers”.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Davis said the open window “did create an obvious risk for a blind person, particularly when it was on the second storey of the house with nothing to prevent a fall to the ground below”.
Stephen Grime QC of Deans Court Chambers, for the Cahills, said it was a “very unusual, most unhappy case and tragic in many ways”.
Writing on his personal blog, Mr Pollock criticised media reports which focused on his relationship to the Cahills.
He wrote: “The headlines that said that I was suing my friends were misleading and provocative.
“My claim was made where there was a public liability insurance policy in place to meet the cost of accidents like mine. Most house insurance policies contain such cover for this exact purpose. Therefore the insurance company’s solicitors defended the case.
“My friends did not have to hire their own solicitors. They did not have any legal costs. They were never at risk of having to compensate me from their own pockets for the costs I bear as a result of my injury.”
Mr Pollock also said he “expressly limited” his claim to £2 million, the cap on the Cahills’ insurance policy, for this reason, despite it being “a fraction of the financial cost I bear as a result of the fall”.
His solicitor, Ben Rogers of Stewarts Law LLP, added: “Mark Pollock is a remarkable man and has conducted himself with the utmost integrity in relation to this claim and in relation to his paralysis.”