Student who broke nose while working in 'dangerous' Dunnes Stores stockroom awarded €35k
A 23-year-old design student, who broke her nose when a box toppled over while she was working in a “dangerous” stockroom in a Dunnes Stores, has been awarded €35,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Judge Sarah Berkeley said she was satisfied the container system used to stock goods on pallets at Dunnes Stores, Swan Shopping Centre, Rathmines, Dublin, could be described as temporary as it lacked shelving and racking.
The judge said she was also satisfied that Yana Shmatova was a young student who had only worked in the store for four weeks by November 17, 2013, when a box of cereal boxes fell on her nose.
Shmatova, of Deer Park, Newbridge, Co Kildare, told the court that she had been lifting a container of soya milk packs in the stockroom when the heavy box above her fell.
She said she had assessed the stockroom visually before lifting the contaainer of soya milk and had decided it was safe to do so. She had been confused after the box fell on her face and had not known how it happened.
She told her barrister, Barney Quirke, who appeared with Tiernan & Co Solicitors, that she felt pain and discomfort in her nose that evening and later attended her GP, who referred her to the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin.
Shmatova told the court that she suffered a fracture to her nose and had undergone surgery to reduce a deviation. She said the operation had been successful but she still suffered pain and discomfort occasionally.
The court heard that Shmatova was also conscious that her nose shape had changed since the accident and she was considering undergoing a rhinoplasty procedure.
Dunnes Stores had denied liability and had claimed that Shmatova had failed to take reasonable care for her own safety and had failed to notice the box above her.
Barry Tennyson, a forensic engineer who inspected the stockroom, said it unusually lacked racking and shelving and was a dangerous and very congested area, with goods stacked in a haphazard fashion.
Judge Berkeley, awarding Shmatova €35,000 damages, said she was satisfied Dunnes Stores had not carried out a proper risk assessment of the stockroom before the accident.