At the High Court €75,000 in compensation has been awarded to a female public servant who fell in an office car park, fracturing her ankle in the process.
The woman in question, Shirley Farrell, submitted a legal compensation action against her employer, the Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, and Apelona HSG Ltd, a company contracted to operate as a facilities manager by Department. The action was taken as a result of the falling incident in which she sustained her injuries at the Backweston premises in Celbridge, Co Kildare, on October 22, 2015.
Mr Justice Max Barrett said the he believed, based on all of the evidence presented to him, that Ms Farrell was correct in her belief that she must have slipped on leaves as she walked to her car on the day in question.
As Ms Farrell left work that day, there were approximately 10 members of staff remaining in the building and no lights outside, the judge was informed.
She stumbled and fell as a result of the fact that she had no clear visibility of where she was walking. Additionally the presence of the mud on on her tights, she said that she felt it more than likely that the leaves had caused her to slip to the ground. The judge agreed with this suggestion as it was consistent with the time of year and the mud on her tights.
Ms Farrell’s unchallenged testimony was that the outside area and car park were completely unlit when she departed work that evening.
The judge found a breach by the Minister to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, Ms Farrell’s place of work, and the manner in which is accessed to and from it, is safe. He ruled that there was negligence on the part of both defendants.
Ms Farrell’s fractured ankle was medically treated with a below-knee plaster cast and crutches and, after that, with a walking boot and ongoing use of crutches.
She said that, even after the boot was taken off, she could not return to walking for pleasure until about May 2016, discovered that long-distance walks no longer possible and was also unable to resume her dancing classes.
The judge said that he felt that Ms Farrell’s injuries were at the higher end of moderately severe and were commensurate with a compensation award of €75,000.