Woman 'covered from head to toe' in varnish gets €85k
A woman has been awarded €85,000 for injuries she received after she was covered "from head to toe" by a tin of varnish when the lid fell off as she was scanning it at a self- service checkout in a DIY store.
It would have been better if the barcode on the tin of Ronseal had not been on the lid, which meant Wendy Delaney (68) had to turn it upside down to scan it, Mr Justice Michael Hanna remarked when he made the award.
Ms Delaney, a community worker from Newlands Road, Clondalkin, Dublin, sued B&Q Ireland in the High Court over the accident in its Tallaght store on May 30, 2009.
She said she was covered from "head to toe" by varnish which she cleaned off afterwards in the store's staff bathroom. She later had to be treated for injuries to both eyes but also suffered a depressive reaction, the court heard.
Mr Justice Hanna said Ms Delaney was a qualified nurse who left nursing to work in full-time community care in the area of women's rights and education.
She and her daughter went to the B&Q Belgard Road store to buy some varnish and chose a 2.5-litre tin of Ronseal.
She decided to use the self-service checkout and had to invert the tin when the lid fell off and she dropped it causing significant personal injuries, the judge said.
Ms Delaney and her daughter, as well as a manager from B&Q, gave their evidence impeccably and fairly, he said.
While there was no CCTV evidence, through no fault of B&Q, and no other witnesses, there was evidence from engineers on both sides as to what may happen if a tin of varnish slipped in this way, he said.
"As one who does not frequent the darkest corners of DIY stores," the judge said it was clear varnish is less viscous than paint and if it was going to fall out it was going to spill in every direction.
The barcode was on the lid and it seemed to the judge the "safe place" to have it would be on the base or on the side "but life does not work like that".
He found there was no issue of contributory negligence by Ms Delaney.
She received treatment in the Eye and Ear Hospital.
She also suffered a depressive reaction, and while her doctor said that she was pre-disposed to this reaction, the incident had increased the risk of such a reaction, he said.