Woman who slipped on vomit and broke her ankle awarded €82k
A woman who broke her ankle when she slipped on vomit while leaving a toilet in a pub has been awarded €82,000 in High Court damages.
Bookmaker's clerk Fiona McGovern, Huntstown Wood, Clonsilla, Dublin, sued Tom Salmon Ltd, owners of Salmon's Pub in Blanchardstown, Dublin, over the incident on March 24, 2008.
Ms McGovern (39) claimed the pub was negligent in failing to maintain appropriate cleaning standards and failing to ensure the vomit was cleaned up.
Awarding her a total of €82,000, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said she had suffered a nasty injury to her left ankle. On the application of her barrister, Bernard McDonagh SC, the judge also awarded her the costs of the case.
Mr Justice Cross said Ms McGovern had been at the pub with family on Easter Sunday to watch a football match on the TV between Liverpool and Man Utd. She was there "for some inexplicable reason to support Man Utd", he said.
She returned later that night at around 11.30pm to see if her sister was still there and was advised she (sister) was in the beer garden, he said.
Ms McGovern went to the ladies toilet and on leaving it she slipped on vomit which was on the floor. A woman who knew her to see said that earlier one of a group of young lads, who had been sitting near the toilets, had vomited twice on the floor.
It had not been cleaned up according to that woman, the judge said. The defendant had submitted it was hard to believe vomit would have been on the floor for up to one-and-a-half hours after it happened, the judge said.
It also argued there was no vomit seen on Ms McGovern's clothes by a member of staff who came to assist her. The judge said what was being suggested by the defence was that the woman either was wrong about her recollection or that it had been invented.
The judge said he could not see how someone would be mistaken about seeing someone vomiting twice. It followed there was vomit on the floor for an hour or more which had not been dealt with, he said.
If a proper system of cleaning been in place that evening it would have been cleaned up. Ms McGovern was entitled to succeed, he said.
She was in hospital for four days, in plaster for six weeks, off work for three months, and was left with a scar, he said.
She may also require operations on two screws she had to have inserted into her ankle and faced the risk of arthritis. He awarded €60,000 in general damages, €15,000 for damages into the future and €7,000 for loss of earnings.