Paralysed window cleaner who fell can sue property owners, court rules

An action with the court was raised on the basis that the owners were responsible for repairing the balcony.

Window cleaners with ‘life-changing injuries’ can sue Montrose property owner, court rules iStock

Two window cleaners who received “life-changing” injuries after they fell 15ft from a balcony will be able to sue the owners responsible for maintaining the structure, the Court of Session has ruled.

Paul and Leigh Fenwick – father and son, respectively – had been contracted to clean the windows and gutters of a property on Union Street in Montrose, Angus, in March 2018.

A ladder was placed between two flats and Mr Fenwick Sr stood at the bottom of the ladder to “foot” it as Mr Fenwick Jr climbed up the ladder to assess the state of the gutter.

As Mr Fenwick Jr came down the ladder, the balcony collapsed beneath them and they fell around 15ft, sustaining serious injuries.

Both pursuers raised an action with the Court of Session on the basis that the owners were jointly responsible for maintaining and repairing the balcony, also known as a platt.

Three owners of the properties on Union Street attempted to challenge the Fenwicks’ claim. However, in a debate before Lord Menzies at the Outer House of the Court of Session, it was found the case could be heard against one of the owners and cases against the other two were dismissed.

Leigh Fenwick said: “This accident has changed my life but I am determined to not let my injuries control my life.

“I am focused on my recovery and hope to be able to inspire others in time because I know first-hand how hard it can be to try and get over the initial trauma and lifestyle changes.

“I’d like to thank the medical, rehabilitation and support workers who have helped me over the years as well as my friends and family, but for now I need to be able to focus on what matters and request that my privacy is respected.”

Moira Kay, Partner at Digby Brown, added: “We acknowledge the opinion – however as the case is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

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