Sarah Williams worked at Panel Croft Care Home Village in Birmingham. On the day of the accident, she arrived at work at around 6.45 am. It was January and it was still dark. She and her colleague arrived together and, after parking their cars, they walked towards the entrance of the home. An ambulance was parked there, which was not unusual. All of the ambulance doors were shut, the engine turned off and it was not lit in any way. Sarah could see no staff around, either from the home or the ambulance. She could also not see that the ramp had been left out at the back of the ambulance, even though the doors were shut, and there were no warnings that it had been left out. Sarah tripped over the ramp and fell to the ground. She felt pain in her ankle immediately and had to be helped into work by her colleague.
An accident report was made at the home and Sarah’s mum was called to pick her up. As she thought her ankle was broken, her mum took her to A & E. Her ankle was not broken but was twisted badly and Sarah had to take two weeks off work. When she returned to work, she could only carry out light duties as the discomfort remained.
Sarah was very unhappy about the incident and felt that West Midlands Ambulance Service was responsible for her accident due to the manner in which the ambulance had been left outside the home. She contacted Graysons to see if she could make a claim for compensation and Tracey took up her case.
Tracey contacted the ambulance service claiming that it had been negligent as, amongst other things, it had:
- failed to ensure that the route was kept free from obstructions that might cause someone to trip
- left the ramp in an unsafe position with no warnings about it, nor any lighting or staff around it
- created a hazard that subjected others to risk
The ambulance service denied all responsibility for the accident, saying that the vehicle had been left on ‘run-lock’ and that the ramp could be seen as it had reflective strips on it. The reflective strips, however, rely on adequate lighting and there was none. Tracey issued court proceedings. At trial, the judgement was in Sarah’s favour. She was awarded just under £2,000 and the ambulance service had to pay her legal costs.
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