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Climbing balconies – hero or fool?

Two incidents involving balconies have hit the headlines this month.

The first is truly heartwarming involving as it does, Mamoudou Gassama, who put all thoughts of his own safety to one side in order to scale an apartment block in Paris to rescue a toddler dangling precariously four floors up and who undoubtedly was saved from serious injury or death by his rescuer’s truly heroic actions.

Had either Mamoudou or the toddler fallen they both would have been in a position to claim for any injuries sustained, from the toddler’s father who had left the boy home alone whilst he went shopping.

Not so Mr Clay who was injured as he attempted to cross from one balcony to another.

Mr Clay was on holiday in Tenerife. He and his wife were in one room and his parents were staying in the adjoining room two stories up. Leaving their children asleep in their room Mr Clay and his wife went and sat on the balcony of his parent’s room. After a little while they realised, due to a faulty lock, that all four of them were trapped on the balcony, unable to get back into their room.

The family attempted, unsuccessfully, to attract attention to their plight and when that failed Mr Clay decided he would climb over the railing and cross to his own balcony.

Unfortunately for Mr Clay, the buildings designers had never expected people scaling the outside and an ornamental ledge failed and Mr Clay sustained a fractured skull in the ensuing fall.

The court of appeal accepted that there was a breach in the faulty door lock that left the adults stranded on the balcony but concluded that the holiday company could not have anticipated that as a result of a faulty catch Mr Clay would attempt such a foolhardy action and refused to award compensation.

Is this the correct result?

Presently there are suggestions that the case may make its way to the Supreme Court, so watch this space ….

Author: Diane Parker