Friday 24 January 2020

Woman who 'lost two front teeth' after diving into pool at popular gym awarded €38,000

West Wood Gym Credit: Google Maps
West Wood Gym Credit: Google Maps

Tim Healy

A woman who effectively lost her two front teeth when she dived into a swimming pool lacking appropriate "no diving" signs has been awarded €38,097 by the High Court.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan increased the €35,000 award made last year by the Circuit Court to Timea Babos, South Brown Street, Dublin, over the incident in West Wood Club, Clontarf, Dublin, on November 13, 2011.

He said Ms Babos (32), an assistant manager at the Marker Hotel in Dublin, had put in a very modest claim and West Wood were fortunate the case had not been brought initially in a court of higher jurisdiction.

He said the signage at the pool was "woefully inadequate" and he did not accept West Wood's claim there was a lifeguard on duty at the time.  

It was quite clear West Wood was negligent and there was no question of contributory negligence, he said. Ms Babos, in diving into the pool, had no reason to believe it was unsafe to do so, he said.

Westwood had appealed the Circuit Court award and argued there was contributory negligence.

The court heard West Wood was an Olympic sized (50m) pool with a single depth of 1.35m.

Hugh Mohan SC, for Ms Babos, said she had never swum at West Wood before and was there as a guest of a friend.  She was unaware it was shallower than she expected it to be which was two metres, he said.

Ms Babos told the court she did not see any signs saying not to jump or red indicators and she dived because it was a big pool.

She returned a few days after the accident to her native Hungary for dental treatment.  She required two crowns and root canal treatment.   She still has to be careful how she bites when she eats.

She denied, under cross examination by Kerry Jane Morgan BL, that she chose an unsafe method to enter the pool.

Mr Justice Noonan, affirming the Circuit Court order and increasing it, said she had effectively lost her two front teeth which was cosmetically difficult for anyone but especially for an attractive young woman. 

She would require to have the crowns replaced every five to ten years and they would never be as good as the natural teeth, he said.

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