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Kiani (Abdul Kiani, deceased) v Land Rover Ltd

It was open for the court, after finding that accidental death was possible, to discount the less likely possibility of suicide, thus finding on the balance of probabilities that accidental death had occurred.

7 July 2006

The appellant companies (L and C) appealed against a decision that they were liable in respect of a claim brought by the respondent for damages for the death of his father (K). K, who worked as a cleaner at L’s manufacturing plant, had been found dead in a sub-floor coolant tank which was managed by employees of C. He had died of asphyxia and was found relatively uninjured. L and C had been found in breach of their statutory duties pursuant to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, and their defence, that suicide was the probable explanation for K’s death, failed. The possibility that K had committed suicide was raised by L, particularly on account of the fact that he had sustained no appreciable injuries. However, on the evidence, the recorder found that K had noticed that the hatch leading to the tank had been left open and went over to investigate, but lost his balance and fell into the tank. The sole issue to be determined was whether the recorder had b...

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