Thursday 25 May 2017

Eircom settles case with 'accident-prone' man

Tim Healy

AN "accident-prone" man who has brought more than a dozen compensation claims in the past two decades has settled his latest court action.

Taxi driver and addiction counsellor Gerard McWilliams (52) of Bawnlea Close, Tallaght, Dublin, sued Eircom for injuries allegedly suffered when he twisted his ankle on a telecommunications box cover outside his home.

On the second day of the case in the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Vivian Lavan was told the matter had been settled. No details were revealed.

The court had heard on Thursday that Mr McWilliams may have had as many as 13 or 14 claims -- including one for food poisoning -- but that he could not recollect them all and said they were not his fault.

Mr McWilliams, described by his lawyer Hugh McGahon as being "accident-prone", told the court another judge had once described him as being "the luckiest or the unluckiest man".

In his action against Eircom, Mr McWilliams claimed that around midnight on March 28, 2003, he twisted his ankle on the edge of a steel cover beside the kerb outside his home.

Injuries

He claimed that the company was negligent and in breach of duty of care towards him in its maintenance, repair, upkeep and supervision of the cover and the area around it. The claims were denied by Eircom.

Mr McWilliams claimed that as a result of the accident, his ankle was "still not right" and that he suffered pain.

Under cross-examination by counsel for Eircom, Mr McWilliams said he knew the steel cover had been there since he moved into his home 30 years ago, but that it was "camouflaged."

He said: "I don't go looking for holes."

When the judge asked Mr McWilliams if he had been involved in 13 to 14 previous personal-injuries actions, he accepted that he may have been involved in 10 or 11 such cases arising out of accidents that "were not my fault".

Mr McWilliams said that over the years he had suffered injuries to his neck, knees, back and cruciate ligament.

He also said it was "probable" he had brought proceedings as a result of falling and injuring himself in a neighbour's driveway in 1991, for which he received compensation of around IR£10,000.

Another case was brought against a bakery over alleged food poisoning.

However, Mr McWilliams said he could not remember the details of most the actions in which Eircom claimed that he had been involved.

Irish Independent

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