Sussex Tree Surgeon Loses Case Against National Trust

A tree surgeon from Chichester who was left paralysed after he fell 50 feet from an ancient horse chestnut tree while he was carrying out tree care work on it has lost his damages claim again the National Trust.
26 year old Jamie Yates was working on National Trust land in Morden Hall park south west London  when the incident occurred in December 2009. Mr Yates has no recollection of the accident which has left him confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life. He was using a chainsaw on the infected tree which was approaching the end of its life.

Over the last few weeks the high court in London heard that Mr Yates who was self employed, but working for an independent contractor at the time didn’t have the correct certification to carry out the work, and had never worked on a tree of such height before.

As a result, the court judge held that the National Trust did not have a relevant duty of care. Mr Justice Nichol  said “even if the Trust owed Mr Yates a duty of care in deciding to hire the contractor, which it did not, it was not in breach of that duty as it was entitled to regard the contractor as reasonably safe and competent.”

He added: “The claimant suffered a fall which caused him grave injuries. They have radically altered his life and, in addition to the pain and suffering which he must have endured, they will have caused him very substantial financial loss. Anyone who learns of the case must have enormous sympathy for him.

Justice Nichol added that Mr Yates was “entitled to compensation from the trust if, and only if, the trust owed him a relevant duty of care, I have concluded that it did not”.

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