Sunday 23 October 2016

Man's €1.9m damages claim for fall through third floor hotel bedroom window is dismissed

Tim Healy

Published 11/12/2015 | 17:11

Jason Platt, of Queensland Avenue, Thatto Heath, St. Helen’s, Merseyside. Photo: Courtpix
Jason Platt, of Queensland Avenue, Thatto Heath, St. Helen’s, Merseyside. Photo: Courtpix
Jason Platt from St Helens Merseyside pictured at the High Court, Dublin Pic Collins Courts

A MAN'S legal action in which he claimed more than st£1.4m for injuries due to a fall through an unsafe bedroom window on the third floor of a hotel has been dismissed.

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This was because Jason Platt (49) had grossly exaggerated his disability since the fall six years ago in the Old Bank House Hotel, Kinsale, Co Cork, so as to maximise his damages claim, the High Court ruled.

Mr Platt, from Liverpool, England, now faces a hefty legal bill after costs of the eight-day High Court hearing were also awarded against him.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton said the intention of Mr Platt, who had lodged a stg£1.49million special damages claim, as part of the overall action, was to mislead  with the purpose of maximising his claim.

He had claimed for aids including a powered wheelchair, a special scooter  a specially adapted car, a stair lift and the services of a gardener, cleaner and skilled handy man.

He had claimed he can't live independently following the accident.

He had claimed he was housebound but video footage filmed last year and earlier this year showed him leaving his house,shopping and driving his car, the judge said.

He claimed  he suffered the life changing injuries as he attemped to flick ash from a cigarette through the bedroom window during a Valentine's weekend stay with his partner on February 15, 2009.

The hotel owners denied his claim and contended he threw himself from

the window following a heated argument with fiancee.

Dismissing the entirety of the action, Mr Justice Barton said the double window which Mr Platt used as a seat while smoke had a wide sill.

This was unsafe and there should have been a safety bar or some other measure on the window.

He would have found the  hotel liable in relation to the fall and would have assessed contributory negligence on the part of Mr Platt at 40 per cent.

However, the judge found as a fact the surveillance evidence represented the truth of the matter that Mr Platt was able to go about his daily business "albeit with a prominent limp".

It was in stark contrast to what Mr Platt had told the experts who had examined him.

The judge said he was satisfied Mr Platt's injuries did not result in the level of disability he had claimed.

The level of disability portrayed was " a gross exaggeration of the truth."

He described Mr Platt's evidence as evasive  and his answers not honest, credible or reliable.

He also found it was improbable that Mr Platt intended to jump out the window  and the nature of his injuries were consistent with an accidental fall.

The judge said  Mr Platt had no clear recollection of what caused the fall, only he was smoking sitting at the window when he fell backwards and sideways.

The loss of balance, the judge said, was was likely caused by Mr Platt's state of inebriation.

There ought however to have been a safety bar or some such measure on the window, he added.

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