Sunday 23 October 2016

Woman who fell on escalator at Dublin Airport awarded €40k by court

Published 30/04/2015 | 17:03

Elizabeth Lavin, of Calverstown, Kilcullen, Kildare, pictured leaving the Four Courts earlier this week
Courts Collins
Elizabeth Lavin, of Calverstown, Kilcullen, Kildare, pictured leaving the Four Courts earlier this week Courts Collins

A WOMAN who fell on an escalator at Dublin Airport has been awarded €40,000 by the High Court.

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Mr Justice Michael Hanna said he was satisfied if Elizabeth Lavin (69) had taken the airport lift no accident would have taken place involving "an unfortunate neophyte in the ways of escalators."

He also said had sufficient signs been available at the time of the accident four years ago, Mrs Lavin probably would have availed of the lift to departures at Terminal 2.

In 2013, there was a change in signage at Terminal 2  with a sign erected to showing there was a lift, he said.

However,  at the time of the accident there was such no sign. Signage and available advice, the judge said are the best options when accommodating mass transit.

He did not fault Mrs Lavin for not resting her hand appropriately on the handrail or for having her bag behind her instead of in front of her on the escalator.

However, he ruled there was contributory negligence on her part for not asking for help from an airport assistant who could have pointed her to the lifts.

In making an award of €60,000, he  assessed contributory negligence at one third bringing the amount down to €40,000.

Mrs Lavin, Blackhall, Calverstown, Kilcullen, Co Kildare has sued the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) as a result of the fall on the escalator on November 2, 2011.

She had claimed that suddenly and without warning she was caused to fall down on her face as she was travelling up the escalator.

She claimed there was an alleged failure to take reasonable care  for her safety and that she was permitted to use the escalator when the DAA knew or ought ot have known that it was unsafe and dangerous for her to do so as she had baggage.

The claims were denied. The DAA contended Mrs Lavin did not hold the hand rail of the escalator and became unbalanced.

After the fall, the court heard she was taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital and treated for a wound to her head and other minor lacerations. She was later referred to an orthopaedic surgeon  because it is claimed  she had pain in her head, arm, hip and knee.

The judge put a stay on the €40,000 award in the event of an appeal on the basis that €25,000 be paid out immediately to Mrs Lavin.

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