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Negligence Determined in Claim for a Workplace Accident at Dunnes

A High Court judge has found Dunnes Stores negligent in a claim for a workplace accident in Dunnes, made by an employee who fell down a flight of stairs.

Jean O´Reilly from Wexford was employed as a checkout operator at her local Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square, when – on 9th December 2011 – she lost her footing while reading the staff noticeboard and fell down a flight of stairs leading from the staff locker room to the ground floor.

Jean was taken to hospital by ambulance, where she was treated for soft tissue injuries to her neck and back. Jean had to wear a neck brace to support her head for the six weeks she was unable to work and also underwent a course of physiotherapy to help her recover from her ordeal.

After obtaining legal advice, Jean made a claim for a workplace accident in Dunnes against her employer –  alleging that the staff noticeboard was dangerously positioned too close to the top of the stairs and that, had there been a handrail of both sides of the flight of stairs, her fall could have been prevented.

Dunnes Stores contested the claim for a workplace accident at Dunnes and refused to consent to an Injuries Board assessment. Jean was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her workplace accident claim through the courts process and her case was heard at the High Court.

At the end of the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam found in Jean´s favour. Judge Fullam ruled that Dunnes Stores had been negligent in two respects – for the dangerous placement of the staff noticeboard at the top of the flight of stairs and for the lack of a handrail on both sides of the flight of stairs.

Judge Fullam awarded Jean €81,500 compensation in settlement of her claim for a workplace accident at Dunnes – €65,000 general damages for her pain, suffering and loss of amenity as a result of her accident, and €16,500 special damages for her loss of income and the costs she had incurred.