Thursday 17 August 2017

Dunnes Stores worker who fell down stairs after stopping to look at noticeboard awarded €81,000

Jean O'Reilly (PIC: COURTPIX.)
Jean O'Reilly (PIC: COURTPIX.)

Tim Healy

A Dunnes Stores worker who fell down a stairs after she had stopped to look at a noticeboard has been awarded €81,000 by the High Court.

Checkout operator, Jean O'Reilly, Wolfe Tone Villas, Wexford, fell down nine steps and injured her neck and back at the Dunnes branch in Redmond Square, Wexford, on December 9,2011.

Mr Justice Raymond Fullam found the supermarket breached its statutory duty in relation to the positioning of an important noticeboard too close to the top of the stairs as well as in relation to the absence of a handrail on one side of the stairs.

As a result of the fall, Ms O'Reilly was taken to hospital and had to wear a neck brace afterwards

She was out of work for six weeks and had to have physiotherapy.

The judge awarded a total of €65,000 general damages which, with special damages, brought the total of €81,500.

In her action, Ms O'Reilly claimed she fell while descending a stairs from the staff locker room to  the ground floor and after she had stopped to check the noticeboard.

She claimed there was an alleged failure to ensure her safety.

The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Fullam said he was satisfied a colleague had called out Ms O'Reilly as she read the noticeboard but he said if there had been a handrail she could have held on to it while reading it.

Reading the noticeboard where it was positioned, the judge said, was an inherently unsafe exercise and the accident was entirely foreseeable.

Contributory negligence on behalf of Ms O'Reilly did not arise because of a momentary lapse of concentration, he said.

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