Friday 19 January 2018

Woman gets €1.4m award after slipping on a grape

Patricia and Martin Walsh, from Co Clare, leaving the High Court yesterday Photo: Collins Courts
Patricia and Martin Walsh, from Co Clare, leaving the High Court yesterday Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A woman who was left permanently disabled with severe back and other injuries after slipping on grapes while shopping in a Tesco store has been awarded €1.4m in damages by the High Court.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr made the award to Patricia Walsh (48), of Shannondale Stud, Rehy, Carrigaholt, Co Clare, over the incident in the Kilrush, Co Clare, branch on August 28, 2012.

A stay applies on the award pending an appeal, on condition that €500,000 is paid out now, along with 75pc of Ms Walsh's legal costs.

Ms Walsh sued Tesco Ireland, which admitted liability on the first day of the case. It ran for seven days and involved evidence from 15 doctors.

The judge said it was clear that as a result of the fall Ms Walsh had suffered a serious injury to the muscles and ligaments of her lower back.

This caused her to experience severe pain in her lower back, radiating into her lower leg.

He was satisfied that she had suffered permanent back and bladder injuries, rendering her "grossly disabled in all aspects of her life".

Ms Walsh underwent a range of treatments here and in the UK, culminating in the insertion of a spinal cord stimulator in 2015. While that gave her considerable relief, she continued to have pain daily and doctors believed that she would also need ongoing treatment.

A significant injury to her bladder requires her to self-catheterise three times a day and she also suffered psychiatric and psychological consequences from her injuries, the judge found.

She was unfit to return to her pre-accident career as a secretary/receptionist and, on the balance of probabilities, would not be fit to return to work again.

Formerly an active sportswoman who played Gaelic football with Clare and Munster, Ms Walsh is now unable to participate in sports and dancing with her young daughters, especially riding horses, and finds that very distressing, he added.

Videos of Ms Walsh taken for Tesco by a private investigator did not disclose her engaging in any activity that was inconsistent with her evidence, he said.

The video showed her going into a health centre and walking with a limp, he noted.

Tesco had also asked her about images from her Facebook page of her attending a One Direction concert with her children in Croke Park.

The judge accepted her evidence she wanted to give her children some "happy memories from childhood" and had paid for that with pain in the days afterwards.

Irish Independent

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