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Compensation Claim for Breaking a Hip in Dunnes Stores Settled at Hearing

A compensation claim for breaking a hip in Dunnes Stores has been settled in favour of the plaintiff following a three-day hearing at the High Court in Cork.

Seventy-seven year old Bernadette O´Leary from Clonakilty in Cork was shopping in her local Dunnes Stores on 2nd July 2013, intending to buy a waterproof canopy to protect her stall at the weekly farmers market, where she sold homemade cakes and other food items.

Bernadette located a small gazebo that she thought may be suitable and asked a shop assistant whether he knew if the gazebo was waterproof. The shop assistant said that he would ask a colleague, and told Bernadette to follow him as he went to find out the answer to her question.

Unfortunately, as Bernadette followed the shop assistant into the adjacent aisle, she stumbled and fell over a fold-up deckchair that had been removed from its packaging and was waiting to be placed on a display shelf.

Bernadette broke her hip in the fall, and was taken by ambulance to hospital – where she spent forty-eight hours on a trolley waiting for a bed to be available. After she was discharged, Bernadette discussed her injury with a solicitor and made a compensation claim for breaking a hip in Dunnes Stores.

The basis of Bernadette´s claim was that – according to Dunnes Stores´ own safety statement – goods should not be left unattended in an aisle because they were a hazard. However, Dunnes contested Bernadette´s compensation claim for breaking a hip in Dunnes Stores on the grounds that she should have looked where she was going.

As liability was contested, the Injuries Board issued Bernadette with an Authorisation to pursue her compensation claim for breaking a hip in Dunnes Stores in court, and the case was recently heard by Mr Justice Henry Abbot at the High Court in Cork.

After hearing arguments from both sides and watching a CCTV recording of the accident, Judge Abbot agreed with Bernadette´s counsel that “the defendant had invited the plaintiff into the path of a hazard on which she fell and was injured”, and awarded her €137,000 in settlement of her compensation claim for breaking a hip in Dunnes Stores.