Tuesday 22 May 2018

Mattress delivery man sues brother's company for €400k after 'gust of wind' carried him 12ft

Declan Homan, (54), from Island Lodge, Walsh Island, Co. Offaly pictured leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of a High Court action for damages. Picture: Collins Courts
Declan Homan, (54), from Island Lodge, Walsh Island, Co. Offaly pictured leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of a High Court action for damages. Picture: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A van driver who claimed he hurt his back when a mattress he was delivering was lifted by a gust of wind in to the air, and carried him for 12 feet before he was thrown to the ground, has sued in the High Court.

Declan Homan said he was delivering the 4 foot 6 inch mattress to an apartment on the last of 16 deliveries that day when he was “ caught by a gust of wind.”

The 54-year-old, who said he left work with pain three days after the accident, has not had a job since.

In his action against his employer, the father-of-four has included a claim of €400,000 for loss of earnings to date and in to the future.

“It is more than a soft tissue injury. I have a lot of pain and nobody seems to be listening," he told Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

Mr Homan, Island Lodge, Walsh Island, Co Offaly, has sued Etmar Ltd, with offices at Glen Easton Point, Leixlip, Co Kildare, as a result of the accident on December 13, 2011. The court heard one of Mr Homan’s brothers is a director of Etmar.

He has claimed he was instructed to deliver the mattress and was doing deliveries with another brother in the Sandyford Industrial Estate in Dublin.

He claimed he fell from a height of five feet, about twelve feet away from the truck.

He has further contended there was an alleged failure to provide him with safety equipment such as a safety harness. Mr Homan claims he suffered pains to his back immediately and he has constant pain, made significantly worse by any degree of activity.

The claims are denied.

Mr Homan told Mr Justice Kevin Cross he went to work the next day and went to a doctor three days after the accident

Cross examined by Bernard McDonagh SC, for Etmar, Mr Homan agreed he had no difficulty with the wind for the first 15 deliveries, but he said it was “windy all day”.

He agreed he had not worked and had been on social welfare since 2011.

Counsel put it to him he had been on a number of holidays, including four holidays in one year and had been to Florida and Tenerife.

Mr Homan replied his wife, who was a sales rep, paid for the holidays.

Counsel put it to him he was indulging in “gross exaggeration” in relation to his injuries. Mr Homan replied: “I disagree with you.”

Counsel put it to Mr Homan that when one of the defendant’s doctors examining him asked to touch his toes he refused. Mr Homan replied that he told the doctor ‘I can’t  do that.’

Counsel suggested to him the mattress incident was not foreseeable by his employer as it was caused by a gust of wind.

Counsel also said he had not complained it was too windy to do the job. Mr Homan replied there was no point as he would have been told to get on with it.

He agreed his social welfare was withdrawn at one stage because he was declared fit to work. Mr Homan said he appealed the decision and he was later deemed unfit to work.

The case before Mr Justice Kevin Cross continues.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News