Saturday 21 April 2018

Council worker who tripped over electrical cable gets €257,000 in damages

Tim Healy

A COUNCIL worker who tripped over an electrical cable while carrying a ladder has been awarded €257,000 damages by the High Court.

The award to Liam Murray (55) was reduced from €342,799 to just over €257,000 after a judge found him one-quarter liable for the accident due to contributory negligence.

Mr Murray, Cleggan Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, had to give up deep sea fishing and playing the bagpipes after hurting his right shoulder and neck in the accident, the court heard.

Mr Murray, a Dublin City Council employee, had sued the ESB as a result of the accident at Beech Road, Sandymount, Dublin on August 17,2009.

He had claimed he was walking along the road when he fell on cabling emerging from under the path at the base of a street lamp.

He claimed the ESB was negligent in allowing electrical cable to be present on the pathway and allegedly permitting a trap or a nuisance to be on the path.

The ESB admitted liability but claimed there was contributory negligence on the part of Mr Murray.

It was claimed that a day after the incident, he noticed pain radiating from the right side of his neck into his elbow and attended St James Hospital for an x ray.

He claimed if he tilts his head to the right his symptoms are aggravated and if he tilts to the left, they are relieved.

He said he later suffered persistent neck pain radiating in to his right arm and hand and had to undergo surgery two years ago.

In her judgement, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said Mr Murray who worked with the Council lighting department had tripped on electrical cable during the course of his employment.

She said Mr Murray on the day of the accident had parked his van and was carrying an extension ladder when for some unexplained reason he did not see a large spool of cable in front of him.

Everybody, she said, must take reasonable care for their own safety as footpaths can be hazardous. Pedestrians, she said and are not entitled to blindly proceed on the assumption they will be safe.

Mr Murray, she said,would have been required to report dangers to his employers and would have been more aware than most.She said he should have seen the spool of electrical cable and applied a 25pc reduction for contributory negligence.

The judge said he fell on his shoulder but was, after treatment, able to continue work that day and to later take photographs of the scene.

Mr Murray, she said, had made little effort to return to gainful employment after his accident.

The judge accepted he could not do heavy lifting but she said he could do some jobs such as a car park attendant.

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