Wednesday 16 October 2019

Man awarded over €51k after stumbling on small hole in footpath caused by manhole cover

Stock picture
Stock picture

Tim Healy

A man who suffered a wrenching knee injury when he stumbled on a small hole in a footpath has been a awarded more than €51,000 by the High Court.

Richard Dignam (40), who represented Ireland in Australian Rules football and  won senior county championships with his home town club of Rathnew, Co Wicklow, was returning to work in a hotel when the accident happened.

He had been to a hardware shop to get an item for his work as a french polisher and was returning to the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, where he was involved in refurbishment work, when he fell on the Pembroke Street area on July 29, 2014.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr said part of the surround around a manhole cover became broken away creating a substantial danger on the footpath. 

Mr Dignam sued Eircom,  the utility company responsible for the chamber and cover, and Dublin City Council as the roads authority for the area.

Mr Justice Barr ruled liability must rest with Eircom and he dismissed the case against council. 

The judge said  photographs also showed the hole had been caused when the concrete mix which surrounded the manhole cover had cracked and ultimately broken away.

He accepted the evidence the concrete mix which was used to fill in the gap between the frame for the chamber cover and the surrounding paving slabs was clearly inadequate.

Given that it was a relatively small hole, the judge did not think there was any negligence on the part of Mr Dignam in failing to observe it.

He awarded a total of €51,936 against Eircom.

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