Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 17:44 UK

Pensioner to sell home to pay scooter accident costs


Gloria Brown says she will have to sell her home to pay the court costs

A disabled pensioner claims she and her family are on the verge of losing their home following an accident involving a mobility scooter at a supermarket.

Gloria Brown, 61, from Rhyl, Denbighshire, said a scooter collided with hers, injuring a staff member at the town's Morrisons store in 2005.

A county court hearing later found her liable and she was ordered to pay costs and compensation of more than £16,000.

Morrisons declined to comment, saying legal proceedings were ongoing.

Mrs Brown said her scooter was stationary in December 2005 when a customer using a scooter provided by Morrisons collided with hers, sending her crashing into a trolley being used by a member of staff.

The female worker suffered an injury to her knee.

Every other disabled person that needs this mode of transport is in danger of having the same thing happen to them
Gloria Brown

Four months later, Ms Brown was told she was being taken to court by the injured woman.

In January, the county court found her liable and ordered her to pay compensation and legal costs of more than £16,000, which included about £3,000 towards Morrisons' costs.

Ms Brown said she could not afford legal representation at the time.

An offer to pay off the debt on a monthly basis was rejected, she said, because she was told her age made it likely she would die before the money was paid.

She added that she had tried to get scooter insurance in the past, but was told it was only provided by specialist companies.

She has now agreed to the sale of her home in order to meet the costs she faces and says the sale will be completed this month.

A hearing to address how she should pay the legal bill is set for 18 May.

'Let down'

Ms Brown said she, and her husband and daughter, could not afford to buy another property.

"The way I've been treated by the system, I feel I've been let down as a disabled person," she said.

"But I also feel that every other disabled person that needs this mode of transport is in danger of having the same thing happen to them.

"And laws need to be changed to help people like myself that do want to be independent, do want to go shopping and not rely on anybody."

Ms Brown, whose medical problems include osteoarthritis, still uses a mobility scooter but no longer goes into shops with it.

She said her situation has had a massive impact on her life, adding: "It's just destroyed us as a family."

The solicitor representing the injured worker has yet to comment.

The case emerged as the House of Commons' transport select committee called on ministers to keep a better record of accidents involving mobility vehicles.

The committee of MPs had heard about a blind man who drove a scooter across a road and was hit by a bus and a lady who was pulled over by her dog and killed when her scooter fell on her.

The committee says the increasing use of scooters means the government needs to assess the scale of the problem and act.

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