Land registry search identifies true defendant after pothole claim


A private landlord has agreed to pay a compensation claim of £6,000 after some initial confusion over who was the actual defendant.


Our client, a York woman, tripped over a pothole outside a local Spar shop on 12 May 2010. Sustaining a soft tissue injury to her ankle which she was told could take more than 3 years to heal, she instructed Simpson Millar to seek compensation from the party responsible.

We originally submitted a claim to the local authority. However, it later transpired that while the space in which our client had parked her car – and had fallen while loading her shopping into the boot of the vehicle – appeared to be a public lay-by, it was in fact the retailer's own private parking bay.

After our first letter of claim was respectfully rejected by City of York Council, we conducted a land registry search. This confirmed that the accident had happened on private land owned by Spar.

The actual defendant identified, we wrote to Spar alleging a number of breaches of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957. Among these were its failure to operate a regular system of inspection to ensure the forecourt in front of the shop was properly maintained; and that it exposed our client to a foreseeable risk of injury which it knew was present.

After negotiations, we secured a favourable settlement for our client of £6,000 inclusive of injury and incidental expenses – £475 more than the defendant's original offer.

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