€105,000 award for man who slipped in own porch
A man who slipped on tiles in the front porch of his local authority home has been awarded €105,000 by the High Court.
Thomas Keegan had sued Sligo County Council after he slipped on the porch which had a mosaic tile floor, fracturing his left ankle. Mr Keegan (49) had told the court he was on his way home from a funeral and had consumed five pints on November 18, 2013.
He was at his front door at McNeill Drive, Cranmore, when he said his left foot slipped on the tiles and he fell forward, landing in the hall. He later had an operation on the ankle.
Sligo County Council claimed Mr Keegan failed to take reasonable care for his own safety when entering the property.
Mr Justice Anthony Barr said he accepted Mr Keegan's evidence he continued to experience pain in the ankle joint, in particular when standing for long periods, when walking on uneven ground and when going up steps and stairs.
The judge granted a stay on the award in the event of an appeal providing €30,000 is paid out immediately to Mr Keegan. Mr Keegan, the judge said had candidly admitted he had five pints of beer before returning home on the day of the accident.
"Having regard to the fact this is a man who has worked in manual labouring jobs all his life, I decline to make any adverse finding against him having regard to the level of alcohol consumed by him that day," Mr Justice Barr said.
The judge said the essential issue in the case was whether the porch tiles were appropriate for use in an exposed exterior porch. He said engineers on both sides agreed with after tests that the tiles presented a low risk of slipping when dry and a moderate risk when wet. The engineers, the judge said, disagreed that these findings made the tiles inappropriate for use in the porch area.
Mr Justice Barr said he was satisfied that the tiles were inappropriate for use in an exterior porch and that the use of the tiles rendered the house unfit for human habitation.
The judge accepted Mr Keegan's evidence that on leaving his house on the way to the funeral he noticed the porch mat was wet and he put it on the side gate to dry. When he returned home Mr Keegan said the mat had been taken from the gate and for that reason, he stepped on to the tiles in the porch. The judge said Mr Keegan could not be held guilty of contributory negligence in those circumstances.