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Mum gets €64k for fall in vomit at cafe

a WOMAN who slipped and fell on a pool of vomit at a cafe bar has been awarded more than €64,000 by the High Court.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he found 29-year-old mother-of-two Sarah Jane Burdis to be an honest witness who did not exaggerate any of her symptoms.

Her level of disability, the judge said, was not at the top of the scale but was still significant as she was a person in her 20s who is going to have pain in the future.

Ms Burdis, of Grangemore Grove, Donaghmede, Dublin, had sued Wright's Cafe Bar Airside Ltd, with offices at Seatown Road, Swords, Co Dublin, as a result of the slip and fall at the Wright Venue in the Airside Retail Park on July 9, 2011.

She claimed the cafe company neglected or failed to clean the vomit from the floor and it presented a hazard for her.

She further claimed there was a failure to give any or adequate warning of the vomit on the floor.

Liability was accepted and the case was before the court for assessment of damages.

In evidence, Ms Burdis said she was sitting at a table in the cafe bar and when she went to stand, she fell on a pool of vomit on the floor.

She said people came to her assistance and she was picked up and put sitting down again.

Somebody took her to the toilets to clean her clothes.


She said it was very hard afterwards to do her job as a swimming instructor and she was limited in the movement she could do. She later changed to secretarial work

The court heard that after the fall Ms Burdis got an immediate headache and had pain the next day. She went to a doctor and continues to suffer from lower back pain.

Mr Justice Cross said liability was not contested, which was a sensible attitude to adopt.

He accepted the level of pain was severe and that as a result Ms Burdis had to change her work from a school swimming instructor to a more sedentary position.

Ms Burdis' pain will subside but not entirely, the judge said.

She needed injections for pain, and while it has lessened and is less frequent, it is aggravated by housework and exertion such as jogging, which she used to enjoy.

The judge awarded damages for pain and suffering to date of €45,000 and €15,000 for pain and suffering into the future. He also gave Ms Burdis special damages of €4,325, bringing the total to €64,325 plus costs.