Housewife (88) injured after being 'trollied' in Dunnes Stores awarded €60,000
An 88-year-old housewife, now living with constant back pain as a result of having been “trollied” in a Dunnes Store, has been given the maximum €60,000 personal injury damages a Circuit Civil Court judge can award.
Barrister Eileen McAuley told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that a worker in Dunnes Northside Shopping Centre store struck her in the back as he “blindly pushed” a pallet trolley stacked with boxes along a shopping aisle.
Ms McAuley, who appeared with Synnott Lawline solicitors, said the boxes had been stacked above eye level and the shop worker had failed to see the then 86-year-old Christina O’Reilly doing her shopping with her daughter Mary.
She said the pallet trolley had struck Ms O’Reilly in her lower back and leg, jolting her forward without actually knocking her to the ground. The accident had aggravated existing degenerative changes in her lower back and, as a result, had left her with constant pain.
“Prior to the accident Ms O’Reilly had led an active social life which included ballroom dancing every Sunday night which she had to give up,” Ms McAuley said. “She can no longer do her own shopping.”
Ms McAuley told the court that Dunnes Stores had, just before the case was opened in court, conceded liability for the accident meaning that the case was now one of an assessment of damages only.
She said the entering of a full defence earlier against Ms O’Reilly, who lives at Adare Drive, Coolock, Dublin, had delayed the proceedings coming to court due to her legal team having been put on full proof of what had happened.
She said Ms O’Reilly’s daughter Mary, who was with her in the store when the accident happened, had since died. She was helped in court by another daughter, Bernadette Gallagher, and insisted in giving evidence despite serious hearing difficulties.
Judge Linnane said Ms O’Reilly had led a full, active social life up until the accident and had been living independently. She was now dependent on the help of her family as a result of having been left with residual permanent pain.
The judge awarded Ms O’Reilly €60,000 damages and her legal costs and when counsel for Dunnes Stores asked for a stay to facilitate consideration of an appeal to the High Court, Judge Linnane ordered payment out of €45,000 to Ms O’Reilly.
Judge Linnane directed that in the event of her decision being appealed an application be made at the earliest opportunity to the President of the High Court for a very early hearing of the appeal because of Ms O’Reilly’s age.