You and the Law – 4th January 2011

Witness hunt

I was hit by a car 12 months ago just as I reached the pavement on the
other side of the road from my house.  My leg was broken in two places and I spent eight weeks in traction.  I still can’t walk properly but the driver is
telling lies and her insurers are contesting my claim.  My solicitors took my
case on a “no win, no fee” arrangement but now want £700.00 to try to find witnesses.  Do you think I would be wasting my money?  RC

If you can find a witness who supports your version of events it will be
money well spent.  However, if you can do the groundwork of knocking on doors or posting flyers I suggest you will have more success in your own street than anyone employed by your solicitors, and you will save yourself £700.00 into the bargain.  Friends and relatives may be prepared to help. Discuss this option with your solicitors first.

Cold shoulder

Before buying a new house we discussed the kitchen design with the builder
who provided us with detailed dimensional drawings.  However, when we moved in, the wall between the kitchen and the dining room was slightly out of line, the result being that we can’t fit a normal size fridge in the space
designed for it.  Are we entitled to compensation?  GS

If you’d spotted this immediately, you may have been entitled to pull out
of buying the house.  A kitchen that cannot accommodate a fridge is evidently unsatisfactory, but if you can locate the fridge somewhere else in the kitchen you may have to compromise.

If there is nowhere else for the fridge to go you are probably entitled to
demand that the builder demolishes the wall and rebuilds it in the correct
place.  Since you’re dealing with a very large firm I think they may
eventually agree to this.  A court would be likely to agree that a new house
should be able to accommodate a standard-size fridge.  See a solicitor if
necessary.

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