65 year old Patricia O’Donnell had been in an Edinburgh branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland, located in Home Street, when she fell in September of last year, suffering a soft tissue injury to her ankle that prevented her from working for a period of three weeks.
Ms O’Donnell, the owner of the Armadillo Guest House, slipped on the water puddle after water from a leaky pipe originating from a flat on the storey above the RBS branch accumulated on the floor of the bank. The 65 year old, who had been wearing ridged sole flat ankle boots at the time of the incident, her trousers, sock, and footwear were soaked.
The leak had been present since February of 2010, according to information presented to officials at a Edinburgh Sheriff Court civil action, while employees of the bank had placed a bucket underneath the leak. Sheriff Kathrine Mackie remarked in her judgement that the defendants had been too cavalier in their approach to the leak and the danger it presented, as they had just become complacent with a problem that they had been experiencing for months and months.
RBS during their defense attempted to claim that Ms O’Donnell had been a contributor to her own injury by negligently failing to watch where she was doing. The bank said tat if there had been enough water to soak her trousers and sock, then Ms O’Donnell would have seen water on the floor if she had been looking hard enough.
However, Sheriff Mackie rejected the claim, stating that no evidence existed tat customers would have been able to spot the water on the floor even if they were demonstrating a reasonable level of care for themselves and their own safety.