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Monday 22 September 2014

Physiotherapist awarded €1m after slip on icy steps

Kathryn Hayes

Published 28/02/2014 | 02:30

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The HSE has been ordered to pay just over €1m in damages to Nilofar Ikram (36), from Limerick a physiotherapist who slipped and fell on icy steps outside a Dublin community Hospital in January 2010.  Picture Press 22
The HSE has been ordered to pay just over €1m in damages to Nilofar Ikram (36), from Limerick a physiotherapist who slipped and fell on icy steps outside a Dublin community Hospital in January 2010. Picture Press 22

A PHYSIOTHERAPIST who slipped on icy steps has been awarded more than €1m in damages against the HSE.

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Nilofar Ikram (36) has been unable to work since her accident four years ago.

Ms Ikram, of Dooradoyle, Limerick, was awarded the damages following a six-day hearing at the High Court in Limerick.

The judgement includes a €675,000 payment for loss of future earnings, after the court heard it was unlikely the senior physiotherapist would be able to work again.

The married mother of two, who specialised in paediatric care at Baggot Street Community Hospital in Dublin, has been in chronic pain since she fell on icy steps outside the hospital on January 7, 2010, injuring her lower back.

An Irish citizen, originally from India, Ms Ikram was returning to work after the Christmas holidays when the accident occurred.

The court heard that due to the cold snap, the steps of the hospital were covered in ice and snow.

Security men had used boiling water to melt the ice from the steps and clear a pathway.

Three yellow 'wet floor' caution signs were also placed on one side of the steps.

After attempting to warn an elderly lady about the condition of the steps, Ms Ikram herself fell and bounced down several steps, striking her tailbone, the court heard.

NEGLIGENCE

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon John Rice told the hearing she will require lifetime pain management and concluded that she would be unable to work in her chosen profession.

General damages, loss of pension contributions, loss of earnings and special damages were also included in the total payment of €1,001,239.

The HSE claimed Ms Ikram was guilty of contributory negligence as she had failed to take the weather into account.

In his judgment, Mr Justice David Keane concluded that the defendant had failed in its duty of care and that failure directly caused Ms Ikram's accident and subsequent losses.

He found the plaintiff to be a sincere and credible witness and said her evidence was measured and truthful.

The court heard evidence that Ms Ikram suffers from severe bouts of pain in her back and neck, has had to get help with shopping and housework, and can only drive for 10 minutes at a time.

The mother-of-two has also suffered from depression, loss of appetite, anxiety, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Irish Independent

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