A Johannesburg caterer who sustained serious injuries to her shoulder when a door fell on her at her local gym has lost her damages claim against the building contractor who renovated the gym.
Judge Hennie de Vos ruled in the High Court in Pretoria that Renuka Ramlal, 57, had not proved her damages claim against Big Time Construction as she could not prove that the construction company had installed the door which fell on her, or could be held liable for the alleged negligence of the subcontractor who installed it.
Ramlal initially instituted a damages claim of almost R890 000 against the Gym Company, which owns a gym in the Parkside Centre in Randburg, and Big Time after an incident in 2014 when a door in the pool pump room fell on her when she tried to open it to get a pool noodle.
Ramlal had forgotten the pool noodle she needed for a water aerobics class and was about to leave when other ladies in the pool shouted that she might find a spare one in the pump room.
She fell down with the door on top of her, sustaining serious injuries to her right shoulder, for which she later needed surgical treatment.
She withdrew her claim against the gym after the owners agreed to pay her just over R57 000, but without admitting liability for her injuries.
She thereafter continued with her claim against Big Time, claiming the construction company had failed to properly install the door, or to warn the public that the door may fall on them. It afterwards appeared that the door had been fastened with only two screws.
Big Time denied installing the door or instructing anyone else to replace it, although it admitted using an independent subcontractor, who was a qualified carpenter, to replace three other doors at the gym.
Although the carpenter denied installing that specific door, a cleaner who worked on contract with the gym at the time testified that he had seen the man installing the specific door.
De Vos dismissed Ramlal’s claim against Big Time as the company had not acted unreasonable in hiring a seemingly competent carpenter and could not have been expected to know about the dangers of the defective door installation.