The claimant, who was blind, fell from a bedroom window at the defendants’ home leaving him paraplegic. He claimed that the defendants had breached their duty as the occupiers of the house.
The court found that on the balance of probabilities the claimant had fallen out of the window as he was trying to make his way to the bathroom.
The defendants argued that a fall through the window, while possible, had not been a real risk that would influence the mind of a reasonable man, and so they had taken such care as was reasonable in the circumstances to see that the claimant would be reasonably safe.
The duty of care under s2 Occupiers’ Liability Act requires occupiers to have regard for any known vulnerability of the visitor. An open window created an obvious risk for a blind person, particularly when on the second story of the house.
The court held that the defendants were liable for the accident: the open window had been a real risk to the claimant; they created that risk; and they ought to have appreciated the risk and taken steps to prevent it by keeping the window closed or by warning the claimant about it with particular reference to the extent of the drop from the window.