PT Civil Engineering v Davies [2017] EWHC 1651 (QB)

The appellant (P) appealed against a judgment given for the respondent (D) in his claim for damages for personal injury. D had been working as a self-employed worker, driving a van owned by P. A fire erupted in the vehicle, compelling D to leap from the burning vehicle, thereby sustaining injury. D alleged that P was negligent in failing to maintain the vehicle. On considering the expert evidence the judge found that there was no known cause for the fire, but found the vehicle had been poorly maintained and therefore inferred that was the cause. P submitted that the judge had erred in making that inference.

Held: (1) It was common ground that P owned D a duty of care to take reasonable care to ensure the vehicle provided was safe for the purpose of use. The central question was whether P had failed to exercise reasonable care and whether that failure had caused the fire, thereby causing D to sustain injuries. (2) The judge had been wrong to draw the inference he had from the facts. He had accepted the experts’ evidence that the particular defects were not linked to the cause of fire. Second, the experts’ evidence did not support the inference that the judge had drawn. It had not been open to regard that evidence as indicating that a poorly maintained electrical system or poorly maintained vehicle did not usually burst into flames.

July 28, 2017 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases