Monday 14 October 2019

Woman who broke her ankle after slipping on ice in car park loses damages case

Mary Burke from Thurles, Co. Tipperary pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Mary Burke from Thurles, Co. Tipperary pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A woman who broke her ankle when she slipped on a patch of ice in a car park has lost her action for damages before the High Court.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he could not say on the balance of probabilities that the subsidence in the car park surface where ice had accumulated was due to negligent or bad workmanship.

The judge also awarded costs of the one day hearing against 61-year old Mary Burke who had sued Tipperary County Council over her fall.

The accident occurred as she walked away from a pay station in a car park on Friar Street in Thurles town on February 15, 2016.

Mr Justice Cross said he would be pleased if the council decided it would not enforce the costs order against Mrs Burke.

Mrs Burke, Kylecrue, Drombane, Thurles, Co Tipperary, had gone to the pay station which was on a raised concrete plinth and after paying for her ticket she stepped down on to the macadam surface when she slipped on the ice.

She claimed there was a failure to ensure the groundwork was properly compacted before laying the tarmacadam.

There was also an alleged failure to properly design the surface of the car park or to grit it.

The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Cross said Mrs Burke had suffered a very nasty fracture of her left ankle and had to have an operation and had to have a plate and pins inserted in her ankle.

The judge accepted Mrs Burke fell on ice and that it happened as she stepped down from the plinth at the pay station.

The car park had been been there since 2003 and the judge accepted the surface was relatively new and it was designed so that surface water would drain off.

However he found as a fact that ponding had occurred and he accepted this was caused by subsidence and the water had frozen in to ice which caused Mrs Burke to slip.

Mrs Burke's side had submitted the subsidence was caused by poor workmanship.

Mr Justice Cross said there no question of contributory negligence on the part of Mrs Burke.

The failure to grit the car park, he said, was not a grounds to succeed.

Dismissing the case, the judge said he could not say one the balance of probabilities the subsidence was caused by negligent or bad workmanship.

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