Woman sues gym for door in­jury

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ZELDA VEN­TER

A RANDPARK Ridge, Joburg north, woman claimed dam­ages af­ter a door at her lo­cal gym fell on her when she went to fetch a pool noo­dle for her wa­ter aer­o­bics class, from be­hind the door.

It emerged that some of the screws hold­ing the hinges to­gether had worn over the years, or it had not been tightly fixed in the first place.

Renuka Devi Ram­lal, 58, ini­tially claimed about R800 000 in dam­ages in the high court in Pre­to­ria, from the Gym Com­pany Ltd, in the Park­side Cen­tre, Rand­burg.

She also brought the claim against Big Time Con­struc­tion, which did con­struc­tion work at the gym.

Ram­lal set­tled her claim against the gym last year.

The gym un­der­took to pay her R57 000, but made it clear that it did not ac­cept li­a­bil­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to the gym, she was not in­jured due to its neg­li­gence, but it agreed to pay her to bring to an end the lit­i­ga­tion, and be­cause she was in­jured while she was a mem­ber of the gym.

The con­struc­tion com­pany also de­nied any li­a­bil­ity, and said it was not neg­li­gent. Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, it had no idea that the door was un­safe.

The com­pany de­nied that it was re­spon­si­ble for in­stalling the door in the first place.

Ram­lal tes­ti­fied that she was at­tend­ing her ladies’ wa­ter aer­o­bics class in May 2014, when she re­alised that she had left her pool noo­dle at home.

As she needed it to par­tic­i­pate in the wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties, she left the pool to go home.

The other women, how­ever, shouted at her that she should open the door lead­ing to the pump room as there were some noo­dles in there.

When she tried to open the door, a por­tion of it crashed down on her, se­verely in­jur­ing her shoul­der.

It emerged that the door piv­oted on its frame. The bot­tom edge was still at­tached to the hinge, but the top por­tion moved in Ram­lal’s di­rec­tion.

Ram­lal told the court that it was the first time she had en­tered the pump room, and that she had not pre­vi­ously seen any­one else en­ter it.

Judge Hen­nie de Vos said Ram­lal could only suc­ceed in her claim against the con­struc­tion com­pany if it could be proved it had in­stalled this spe­cific door.

Judge De Vos said that from the ev­i­dence, it seemed the door had been re­placed be­fore the gym opened its doors for busi­ness, as there was paint over the screws.

“There can be lit­tle doubt that over time, the screw at­tached to the top hinge loos­ened up, and even­tu­ally the door fell on the plain­tiff,” the judge said.

He con­cluded that the sub-con­trac­tor who had done work for Big­time Con­struc­tion had done shoddy work by at­tach­ing not four screws to the door, but only two.

But Judge De Vos said he could not hold Big­time Con­struc­tion li­able for this. The judge said the sub-con­trac­tor was not a party to the pro­ceed­ings, and re­jected Ram­lal’s claim.

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