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€200,000 damages for women who lost eye


Won ruling: Elaine Newman Photo: Collins Courts

Won ruling: Elaine Newman Photo: Collins Courts

Won ruling: Elaine Newman Photo: Collins Courts

A woman who sued her partner's parents after she lost an eye in a household accident is entitled to €200,000 damages, the Court of Appeal ruled.

Elaine Newman (32) had lost a High Court action arising out of the accident at the home of Marie and Patrick Cogan at Delganstown, Delvin, Co Westmeath, on June 22, 2007.

She appealed that decision.

In a unanimous judgment, a three-judge Court of Appeal overturned that decision.

Ms Newman's eye was catastrophically damaged when her partner, Emmett Cogan, fell and a piece of frozen meat in his hand hit and smashed a glass panel in a door. This caused pieces of glass to hit her eye.

Ms Newman, originally from Mullingar, claimed Mr and Mrs Cogan failed, under the Occupiers Liability Act 1995, to take reasonable care to ensure that she (Newman) as a visitor to the house did not suffer injury by reason of any existing danger.

In 2012 the High Court dismissed her case on grounds that the Cogans could not have been reasonably said to have failed in their duty of care by choosing the type of non-shatterproof glass which was in the door.

Patrick Cogan, a farmer, had replaced the glass himself in 2000/01, the glass having been broken on a number of occasions.

Evidence was given that glass panels inserted in the door by Mr Cogan Snr were ordinary glass and not suitable for use in doors if broken.

Giving the Appeal Court's decision, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said Mr Cogan Snr's duty of care as occupier of the premises when he changed the glass in the door was to carry out the task with the level of care and skill expected of a reasonably competent tradesman.

The defendants were liable to Ms Newman because the glass installed did not comply to the standard required, the ruling said.

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