A 55-year-old Dublin man, who punctured his left lung after he tripped and fell from a stairway at home, has been awarded €14,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Eamonn O’Connor told the court that on the 4th December 2009, he was going up the stairs with a cup of tea at his home at Cromlech Fields, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, when he tripped on a step and fell on the side of the staircase, which had no banisters.
The court heard that Mr O’Connor struck a radiator during the fall. He had rested for a while but as he had difficulty breathing he was brought to the emergency department of St Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin, two days later.
X-rays revealed his left lung had been punctured and needed to be drained. He also suffered pain to his left shoulder and a broken rib. He sued his landlord, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, for negligence.
Mr O’Connor told his barrister Conor Bowman that he had made several complaints to the local authority about the stairs being without banisters, since he moved in with his wife Joyce and their two children in 1997.
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, which denied negligence, said it had no records of complaints about the stairs being without banister.
The court was told that houses were thoroughly checked out by the county council before being handed over.
The local authority had alleged there were banisters when the tenancy started but it had been removed by Mr O’Connor’s family or friends since then.
Judge Matthew Deery said there had been no evidence before the court that banisters had been in the house at the beginning of the tenancy.
Awarding him €14,000 damages, Judge Deery said Mr O’Connor had recovered reasonably well but had been left with a certain degree of difficulty with his shoulder.