Multiple Sclerosis Sufferer ‘Forced To Travel Extra 500 Yards To Enter Home’
Lawyers representing a disabled man injured when his wheelchair toppled backwards on a council-constructed access ramp into his property have urged the local authority to respond after they removed the faulty equipment – but failed to provide any replacement.
Vincent Tumulty, 52, from Leicester, suffered head, neck, shoulder and back injuries in October 2013 when he fell backwards on the ramp, which was constructed too steeply and did not adhere to Building Regulations regarding the gradient.
While Leicester City Council admitted liability in relation to the incident and eventually removed the ramp last month, the issue has been further complicated by the fact that no replacement has yet been provided – meaning Vincent can only currently enter his own home via another access point 500 yards away.
Specialist injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are representing Mr Tumulty in his legal battle with the local authority regarding the incident.
Diane Harris, the legal specialist at Irwin Mitchell who is acting in the case, said: “This is a very worrying case in which the council involved failed to meet its responsibilities in relation to the basic safety of the access ramp, leaving a vulnerable man with injuries which should have been avoided.
“The admission of liability in the case and the removal of the offending ramp are very welcome, but we are hugely concerned by the ongoing problems which our client has gone on to face.
“It is shocking that a wheelchair-dependent person has been hit with the double-blow of first being injured due to basic safety failings, and then being left with no immediate way to access his own home. It is very important that this issue is resolved quickly.”
Vincent Tumulty moved to the property six weeks prior to the incident and requested the construction of the ramp for access, as he is wheelchair-dependent due to multiple sclerosis.
He recalls: “I started to move up the ramp and suddenly I could feel the balance on the chair slipping – I couldn’t stop myself from falling backwards and struck my head, back and neck very hard.
“After being helped up by passers-by following 40 minutes on the floor, I was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for initial treatment after the fall but had subsequent appointments with my GP for further follow-ups. I was in pain for several weeks and it felt like I’d suffered whiplash.”
The council admitted liability in relation to the incident in February and then removed the ramp involved in the middle of May. However, it has not yet been replaced with other facilities.
Vincent added: “In order to access my own home, I need to travel at least 500 yards to use a different access point. This does not seem fair at all to me and it almost feels like I’m being punished for something that was not my fault. I’m desperate for the council to sort this out for me as soon as possible.”
Discussing the current status of the legal case, Diane Harris of Irwin Mitchell added: “Following the council’s admission of liability, we are now continuing to work to ensure that Vincent gets the support he deserves following this incident.
“We are in the process of obtaining a medical report which will play a key role in this and are determined to get him the help he needs.”