Thursday 18 April 2019

Girl awarded €35,000 after breaking ankle in back yard of home

Evidence: The pothole which Maria Collins stepped in and broke her ankle when she was 14. Photo: Collins Courts
Evidence: The pothole which Maria Collins stepped in and broke her ankle when she was 14. Photo: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

A 17-year-old schoolgirl who broke her ankle when she stepped in a pothole while playing in her back yard has been awarded €35,000 damages.

The award was made against her mother's landlord, Dublin City Council.

Esther Earley, counsel for Maria Collins, of Avila Park, Cappagh Drive, Finglas, Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court that the accident happened just over 18 months ago when Maria was 14.

"She suffered a non-­displaced intra-articular fracture which has a higher risk of developing post-traumatic osteoarthritis," Ms Earley told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke yesterday.

An intra-articular fracture is a break which crosses into the surface of a joint.

Ms Earley, who appeared with Niamh O'Brien of O'Brien Murphy Solicitors, said Maria's ankle twisted in a hole in the tarmacadam surface of the backyard of her local authority home.

She told the court Maria was taken to Temple Street Children's Hospital where she came under the care of consultant orthopaedic surgeon Conor Hurson.

X-rays revealed a fracture of the right ankle bone and she had been placed in a temporary backslab immobilising cast and she had been referred to the fracture clinic.

Ms Earley said Maria had shortly afterwards been converted from a temporary immobilising backslab to a full fibreglass case, which she had to use for five weeks. During this time she had to take paracetamol for pain relief.

Mr Hurson had felt she was unlikely to suffer post-traumatic osteoarthritis, the court was told.

Judge Groarke, who app­roved the settlement offer of €35,000, heard that Maria suffered from a limp for a short while after her accident but had since made a complete recovery.

Ms Earley said that Dublin City Council was not only the local authority responsible for the area, but was the landlords for the development and had an inspection and maintenance function.

She was told by Maria's mother, Caroline Collins, that complaints had been made to the council prior to the accident about the unsafe condition of the backyard on the property.

Irish Independent

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