Monday 24 July 2017

Schoolgirl awarded €12k after man dived on top of her in holiday swimming pool

Stock picture
Stock picture

Saurya Cherfi

A 12-year-old schoolgirl, who injured her chin when a man dived on top of her in a swimming pool in Spain, has been awarded €12,500 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Barrister Conor Kearney told the court that Megan Cullen was staying with her family at Sol Principe Hotel in Torremolinos, Malaga, when the accident happened in August 22, 2012. 

Counsel said Megan, who was eight-years-old at the time, was using the hotel swimming pool when a man jumped in and landed on top of her, pushing her to the bottom of the pool.

The court heard Megan lacerated her chin when it hit tiles at the bottom of the pool.  She had been taken by her father, Peter Cullen, to a local medical centre where her bleeding chin had been cleansed and Steri-strips had been applied to the wound.

Mr Kearney, who appeared with McDonnell Solicitors, said Megan’s injury had left a one-centimetre pale scar on her chin. She had suffered pain, distress and discomfort.

Through her father Peter, of Little Pace Woods, Clonee, Dublin, Megan sued travel agent Linevana Ltd, of Lower Liffey Street, Dublin, and the hotel for negligence and breach of duty.

She claimed the defendants had failed to take any adequate precautions while she was using the swimming pool and had failed to supervise it correctly. Her social, domestic and recreational life had been disturbed by the incident.

Mr Kearney said the defendants had entered full defences to Megan’s claim denying liability and argued in a preliminary issue that the law of Spain was applicable in these proceedings.

Counsel said that if Megan’s case was determined in accordance with Spanish law, she could be awarded around €5,000 damages. The defendants had made a settlement offer in that amount, which had been rejected.

The court heard that following further talks between the parties, the defendants had increased their offer to €12,500, which Mr Kearney recommended to the court.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, hearing that liability may be an issue if Megan’s case proceeded to a full hearing, said that in the circumstances, he was happy to approve the offer.

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