Tuesday 12 November 2019

Woman's slip and fall claim 'wholly unconvincing'

Tim Healy

A WOMAN who allegedly slipped and injured herself at a petrol station has had her damages claim dismissed after a Judge found her account of events as "wholly unconvincing and unreliable."

In his judgment, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill was satisfied to dismiss Francesca De Cataldo'S claim that she suffered a serious injury to her left pelvis, hip, and sacrum area as a result of her fall.

Ms De Cataldo (35) sued Petro Gas Group Ltd, Petro Gas Retail Ltd, Desdale Ltd arising out of an incident at the defendant’s petrol station Apple Green at Ballybrack, Co Dublin.

She claimed she suffered injuries after slipping in a patch of oil on January 24, 2007, while returning to her jeep after paying for diesel in the garage's shop. She was then taken to Loughlinstown Hospital by ambulance.

She also alleged she was out of work for three months and was unable to do various domestic activities for three years and required the assistance of a carer for three years.

Ms De Cataldo, an Italian national of Killiney Hill Road, Killiney, Co Dublin also claimed that after her fall her plight was ignored by the garages staff staff, and that her personal possession were stolen, before being returned to her.

The claims were denied.

The judge said he was satisfied Ms De Cataldo did not slip on oil at the location claimed. It was extremely unlikely any oil was spilt at the garage, said the Judge adding that her account of events was “completely unreliable.”

“I simply do not believe that a number of her personal possessions were stolen and then miraculously returned to her,” said the Judge.

The Judge further rejected her claim that following her alleged slip she was left lying in the rain without any covering being offered to her by staff at the garage. He was satisfied that staff had provided her with a jacket, and that an ambulance was called in a timely fashion.

The Judge said it “was apparent from all the medical reports” that her claim she had developed a serious condition in her left foot that causes her pain and inhibits her walking was “untrue”

The Judge also described her claims for €73,000 for the cost of employing carers and nursing assistants and €10,000 for oils and preparations, which the Judge noted "were abandoned late in the day" were "completely without merit or justification."

The Judge said Ms De Cataldo's had given "untruthful evidence" that contrary to her instructions her former solicitor generated this claim was not just "totally wanting in credibility but was a "reprehensible attack on the integrity" of her now former solicitor made with the benefit of privilege.

To suggest that a healthy person who had an injury of this kind would require nursing assistance over three years, was obviously absurd, and the reason why this part of her claim was abandoned, the Judge added.

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