Tayside and Central Scotland

Delivery driver fails in £30,000 slippery plank damages claim

A delivery driver has failed in his bid to sue a woman after slipping on a plank at a house in Clackmannanshire.

Part-time courier John Dawson, 72, injured his hand when he fell on the piece of wood, placed as a walkway through a muddy area by builders.

He had been seeking up to £30,000 damages from cottage owner Ruth Page after the accident near Dollar in 2008.

After a trial at the Court of Session, a judge ruled the wet plank did not legally constitute a danger.

Ms Page was having building work done at her Woodside Farm Cottage home when Mr Dawson visited to deliver a package in December 2008.

Third visit

After the fall, Mr Dawson said he had to have an operation and was left with ongoing pain.

The court in Edinburgh heard that it was on Mr Dawson's third visit to the house that he was able to deliver the package, leaving it near a dog kennel.

The 72-year-old slipped when he put his foot onto the wet plank and put his hand out to break his fall.

Rejecting his argument that the plank was a "danger", Judge Lord Glennie said that, even if it was, there was no requirement on Ms Page to put up a warning or exclude people from the site.

"In so far as it is was slippery because it was wet, its slipperiness was obvious for all to see; and, indeed, the pursuer had not only stepped onto it several times over a period of a few days but had even noticed, before stepping onto it, that it looked slippery," said the judge.

"There was no hidden danger, nor anything to disguise any hazard from the pursuer. It was not dark. Any risk associated with using it as a pathway was there for all to see.

"The pursuer could have avoided stepping onto it. In short, there was nothing to make the plank a danger against which the defendant should have taken precautions."

The judge added: "Wet planks may be slippery. A notice is not required to point that out. Such dangers, if they be dangers, send out their own warning. The pursuer observed that the plank looked slippery. What more would a notice have told him?"

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