A 26-year-old model has been awarded €9,000 in damages after telling the Circuit Civil Court that she suffered cuts to her face and body after a petrol station sales assistant unexpectedly smashed the driver's window of her car.
Trudy Higgins said that in May 2011 she had bought some petrol for her car at Castle Service Station, Butterly Business Park, Artane, Dublin. She then noticed a male staff member coming towards her and taking photos of her.
Ms Higgins (inset) told her barrister, Peter Maguire, that she went into her car, sat on the driver's seat and closed the door. It was her intention to call her father for assistance in order to prevent an invasion of her privacy, she said.
Judge Francis Comerford heard that the staff member suddenly approached her car and had smashed the driver's window with his closed fist. Ms Higgins, of St Alphonsus Road, Drumcondra, Dublin, claimed the glass shattered and collapsed and struck her with force, cutting her face, neck and back.
She was bleeding and in severe shock and pain and was taken from the scene to the emergency department of Beaumont Hospital where her cuts were cleaned and dressed.
She had suffered neck and back pain following the incident and a wound on her back, above her right shoulder, had left a four-millimetre scar.
She sued Chopard International Ltd, which trades as Castle Service Station, for negligence and trespass.
Barrister Philip Fennell, representing the petrol station which denied liability, said it was stated in a full defence that Ms Higgins had got into her car without paying for the petrol and had raised the driver's window, trapping the staff member's hand.
The petrol station alleged in its defence that Ms Higgins had then driven her car off the forecourt, forcing the staff member to run alongside.
He had broken the window to release his hand. It denied photos had been taken.
Judge Comerford said the petrol station had no CCTV evidence to sustain its allegations and the staff member had refused to come to court.
He said it was common case that the employee caused the glass to break and strike Ms Higgins.
Awarding her €9,000 damages, he said she did not have a distinctive scar.