Birmingham graduate is suing university for £4m after 'slipping in puddle' at 2am

16 May 2022, 21:18

Thomas Hazell is claiming £4 million from the University of Birmingham after he slipped in a puddle.
Thomas Hazell is claiming £4 million from the University of Birmingham after he slipped in a puddle. Picture: Facebook

By Stephen Rigley

A graduate is suing the University of Birmingham for £4million after "slipping in a puddle" while on a night out at the students' union.

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Thomas Hazell, 28, fears he may lose his leg after he fell on a wet disabled-access ramp at the university's student union in 2017.

The former languages student, who is now a French and Spanish teacher, broke his leg in the fall, after suffering from a rare bone cancer during his teenage years, his lawyers said in written submissions to the High Court.

He claims the injury exacerbated problems he had with his leg, and says the injury could ultimately result in his leg being amputated.

Lawyers for Mr Hazell, who was in the final year of his degree at the time of the incident, said his fall was caused by negligence.

They claim that staff at the union allowed the floor to become dangerously slippery.

They also failed to post warnings about the wet surface, Mr Hazell's lawyers said.

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Lawyers for the University of Birmingham Students Union have admitted liability for Mr Hazell's fall, but said it is set to fight in court against the massive sum the ex-student is claiming.

In written submissions, Mr Hazell's lawyers said his rare bone cancer diagnoses led to him missing a year of school.

He also had to deal with exams while undergoing chemotherapy, they claimed.

He had to have part of his thigh and shin bones replaced with titanium alloy prosthetics to save his leg after the rare cancer developed.

His lawyers claim his slip at the university caused a fracture which massively complicated the pre-existing issues.

"The break to his leg was just above the prosthetic which subsequently had to be replaced and extended," his lawyers said.

They also claim he had to undergo surgery to fit a new artificial implant - and say there is a "risk" his right leg will have to be amputated.

The fall derailed his studies and he had to restart the final year of hid degree, his lawyers added.

A date for a full trial has not yet been scheduled.