A commuter has won the right to damages for injuries he sustained when he slipped on the pavement outside a florist’s shop. Brian Piccolo, 50, was walking past Chiltern Flowers at Marylebone Station in London when he slipped on a petal and fell, damaging his back. The accident initially caused some paralysis and Mr Piccolo was hospitalised for six months.
Since the accident, Mr Piccolo has been unable to return to work at a City bank. Doctors have told him that his condition may deteriorate and that he might one day need a wheelchair.
Mr Piccolo brought a claim for negligence against Chiltern Flowers, for failing to clear stray petals from the concourse outside the shop, and against Chiltern Railway Company, which had overall responsibility for running the station. The shop's owner maintained that it was not a petal from her shop that was responsible for the accident and she used a 'clean as you go' system to ensure the concourse was clear.
However, evidence was given by a security guard who had seen the accident and had found the crushed yellow flower on which Mr Piccolo slipped. The court also heard that prior to the accident, Chiltern Railway Company had contacted Chiltern Flowers pointing out that debris on the pavement could pose a potential hazard to commuters.
Judge Altman ruled that Chiltern Flowers was liable for the accident. The system it had in place for cleaning the concourse was inadequate. The shop had a duty of care to those passing by and it had breached that duty by failing to implement an effective system. Chiltern Railway Company was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The level of the damages award has yet to be decided but the full amount of Mr Piccolo's claim is £1.5m. If the parties cannot settle on a figure, the amount will be assessed at a further hearing.