Jogger awarded €60,000 after tripping and injuring knuckle
A man who injured his hand when he tripped over a hole on a footpath while jogging at a Dublin halting site has been awarded €60,000 by the High Court.
The award to Martin Stokes (24), of Oldcastle Park, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, includes €5,000 in aggravated damages because he was entitled to be compensated for the upset caused to him by the defendant's assertion that his claim was fraudulent, a judge said.
The defendant, South Dublin County Council, put forward the defence Mr Stokes had probably suffered his injuries while boxing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said.
Mr Stokes sued the council, as owners of the halting site at Bawnogue, as a result of the accident on September 18, 2011.
Mr Stokes, who lived with his parents in a caravan, was jogging up a footpath leading from the entrance to the halting site. He said he tripped over a depression or hole in the surface of a footpath and fell.
He fractured a knuckle on a finger of his right hand and later had to have surgery. He was left with a scar.
The court heard Mr Stokes was involved in a road traffic accident the day before the jogging accident.
He was a passenger in a car that was hit from the rear on September 17, 2011, when he had suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck and back.
In cross examination it was put to Mr Stokes it was somewhat incredible he would decide to go jogging the day after the road accident.
He said he had done so to alleviate his symptoms.
Mr Justice Barr accepted the evidence of a medical witness that some people, in particular those engaged in sport, would try to "run off" a soft tissue injury.
He accepted "this as a credible explanation" for Mr Stokes going jogging the day after the car accident.
The judge said it was obvious from the content and tenor of the questions put to Mr Stokes that the court was being invited to draw the conclusion it was a fraudulent claim.
That allegation was not established on the evidence before the court, he said.
Mr Stokes he said had been consistent in his account of the accident, and while he delayed in bringing the matter to the attention of the council or to his solicitor, the judge was satisfied it was not a fraudulent claim.
The judge said Mr Stokes had been boxing since he was eight years of age and had claimed he was not able to return to the sport. However, the judge said he was not satisfied Mr Stokes made any reasonable attempt to get back to his sporting pursuit.