The Irish Times
Man injured after fall told to pay legal costs of hotel
Judge says Platt overplayed damage in order to increase amount of his claim Video footage shows complainant leaving his house, shopping and driving his car
A man injured after falling from a hotel window while smoking a cigarette has been told he grossly exaggerated the extent of his injuries to maximise his claim and is not entitled to damages.
Jason Platt, from Liverpool, was ordered in the High Court by Mr Justice Bernard Barton to pay substantial legal costs incurred by the Old Bank House, Pearse Street, Kinsale, Co Cork in the case.
Mr Platt was said to have exaggerated his disability following the incident to maximise his claim for £1.49 million in special damages.
On that basis, despite the court’s finding the hotel would have been 60 per cent liable and Mr Platt 40 per cent liable for the injuries, the judge was not awarding any damages.
The loss of balance leading to the fall was likely caused by Mr Platt’s state of inebriation but there ought to have been a safety bar or some such measure, the judge said.
The special damages claim included a powered wheelchair, specially adapted car and scooter, a stair lift and the services of a gardener, cleaner and skilled handy man, the court heard.
During his eight-day action, Mr Platt alleged he was housebound and could not live independently following the incident when he fell seven metres on to a roof below. However, video footage filmed in 2014 and earlier this year showed him leaving his house, shopping and driving his car.
In his claim, Mr Platt alleged he suffered life-changing injuries and had to use a wheelchair and crutches after falling out the window of the hotel, while attempting to flick ash from a cigarette on February 15th, 2009.
He was in Kinsale for a Valentine’s weekend break at the hotel with his partner when the incident occurred.
The hotel owners claimed Mr Platt threw himself from the window of his room following a heated argument with his fiancee.
In his reserved judgment, Mr Justice Barton found the double window of the hotel room, which had a wide sill Mr Platt used as a seat while smoking, was unsafe and constituted a danger.
It was “improbable” Mr Platt intended to jump out the window and the nature of his injuries were consistent with an accidental fall, the judge said.
He was satisfied Mr Platt’s injuries did not result in the level of disability claimed which was “a gross exaggeration of the truth”.