Thursday 18 January 2018

Woman sues boyfriend's parents after losing eye in accident

Tim Healy

A WOMAN has sued her partner's parents over an accident on their family farm in which she lost an eye.

Elaine Newman (27) was struck in the face by pieces of glass when a glass pane in a door shattered, the High Court heard.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill was told today, if liability is proven, it was agreed damages of €200,000 would be paid to Ms Newman, formerly with an address at Mullingar, Co Westmeath, but now living with her partner Emmett Cogan in Australia. The couple have a four year old son.

Ms Newman has brought the action, which raises issues under the Occupier's Liability Act, against Marie and Patrtick Cogan over the accident on their farm at Delganstown, Delvin, Co Westmeath.

The court heard Emmett Cogan, who was on crutches at the time of the incident, had provided a statement in which he said, as he came into the farmhouse behind Ms Newman, he tripped and fell in the porch and his left hand collided with one of the glass panels in the back door and broke it.

In their defence, his parents denied any liability.

Without prejudice to their denials, they also pleaded the injuries arose from negligence and breach of duty of Emmett and further pleaded contributory negligence on the part of Ms Newman.

A report provided for Ms Newman's side by an engineer concluded the glazed door was typical of its type and age and similar to farmhouse doors around the country. It said there was no obligation on householders to retrofit safety glazing in such doors and there were many unusual features in the description of the accident.

The case concluded today and judgment was reserved.

In evidence, Ms Newman told her counsel Edward Walsh SC she was visiting Emmett at his parents' farm on June 22, 2007. when the accident occurred about 12.30pm.

She said she and Emmett had been outside and she was returning into the house, followed by Emmet. She went through the porch to the rear door which had two large panes of glass, opened that door and was moving to shut it.

All she remembered was the glass broke and shattered into little pieces and she was hit in the face, she said. She put her hands up to her eyes and there was blood all over them.

The court heard Ms Newman was taken to Mullingar hospital from where she was immediately transferred to the Eye & Ear Hospital in Dublin. She later underwent surgery but was ultimately told her eye could not be saved and she was later fitted with an artificial eye.

It was all "a horror story", she agreed with Mr Walsh. Her self esteem had been badly affected, she had changed her hairstyle to cover the affected eye and was constantly worried something would happen to her other eye.

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