A FORMER pub landlady has been given permission to seek almost £1 million in damages from pub company Brakspear.
Mira Bateman, 57, who ran the Plowden Arms in Reading Road, Shiplake, suffered a serious spinal injury while putting away the pub’s Christmas decorations on New Year’s Day in 2007.
She fell, knocking herself out, when an eyebolt securing the top of the ladder to the attic hatch came away from the frame as she was climbing it.
The High Court has heard that she was “hung by the neck” from the rungs of the ladder before dropping unconscious to the floor.
Mrs Bateman has launched a compensation claim for £975,000 against Brakspear, saying her painful and debilitating symptoms have got progressively worse.
The company denies all liability and argues that Mrs Bateman delayed too long in launching her claim. This week, Judge Andrew Edis QC ruled that Mrs Bateman should be able to proceed with her damages claim.
He said she had fought on after the accident to make the pub a success and it was only in 2010, as her condition made her work increasingly difficult, that she realised her disabilities were not going to go away.
Only then did she begin searching for solicitors to represent her and the judge said much of the delay before the claim was launched last year was “understandable” and “excusable”.
“A degree of stoicism and determination is a positive human attribute and not a flaw,” the judge said.
He acknowledged that, due to the delay causing memories to dim and the
mislaying of evidence, the company would face a harder task defending itself.
But he added: “I do not know whether these claims are unanswerable, but I can certainly accept that they are strong.”
A full hearing will now
take place unless there’s a settlement.