Tuesday 23 January 2018

Boy (14) who 'ripped kneecap during a waterslide ride' while on holidays awarded €29k

A 14-year-old schoolboy, who “ripped his right kneecap during a waterslide ride in Italy,” has been awarded €29,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court. Stock Picture
A 14-year-old schoolboy, who “ripped his right kneecap during a waterslide ride in Italy,” has been awarded €29,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court. Stock Picture

Saurya Cherfi

A 14-year-old schoolboy, who “ripped his right kneecap during a waterslide ride in Italy,” has been awarded €29,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Ben Connell claimed he was on holiday in July 2014 and had been riding the slide at the Albatros Park in Italy when his knee came in contact with a protruding and unprotected water jet.

Barrister Anthony Lowry, counsel for Ben, told the court that the teenager, who was 12-years-old at the time, lacerated his knee in the accident.  He had been bleeding heavily and screaming. 

Ben had been attended to by a doctor on site before being taken by ambulance to the Piombino Hospital, where his laceration required 15 stitches.  He had also suffered soft-tissue injuries to his right thigh.

Mr Lowry said the stitches were removed once Ben returned to Ireland.  The wound had left a significant and visible five centimetre scar on his knee.

Through his mother Claire Connell, Leopardstown, Dublin, Ben sued holiday organiser Greenbank Holidays Ltd, with an address in Cheshire, England. 

He claimed the water jet had not been properly installed, maintained or fitted and the defendant had failed to take reasonable care.  The court heard that Ben had to stop playing hurling following the accident.

Mr Lowry said the defendant had made a €29,000 settlement offer which he recommended to the court.  He said he found it to be low but liability could be an issue if the case proceeded to a full hearing.

Counsel said the proceedings had been issued under the Package Holiday and Travel Trade Act, 1995 but the flights tickets had been purchased separately from the accommodation.  He said Greenbank Holidays Ltd could therefore have a defence to Ben’s claim.  

He said Ben’s scar was significant and although he found the case to have a value of about €40,000 damages, if the €29,000 settlement offer was refused, Ben may have to issue proceedings under Italian law.

Judge Groarke said he was aware of the complexity of the case and he therefore could not refuse the offer.

“Having said that, nothing prevents Ben from also issuing proceedings under Italian law,” the judge said.  

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