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Judge Awards Compensation for a Health Club Accident

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded a plaintiff €30,000 compensation for a health club accident after dismissing claims that the plaintiff contributed to the accident by her own lack of care.

Thirty year old Timea Babos – a supervisor at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin – was visiting the West Wood Club on a free guest pass when, on 13th November 2011, she decided to go for a swim after coming out of the health club´s sauna.

Only intending to swim a few lengths, Timea dived head-first into the swimming pool. However, the depth of the water in the pool was only 1 metre 35 centimetres (around four feet) and Timea hit her face on the bottom of the pool – breaking her two upper front teeth.

With nobody around the pool area to help her – Timea made her way to the club´s reception area still bleeding from the mouth to report her accident and complete an accident report form. Timea then went straight to her doctor´s surgery, where she was treated for her injuries and prescribed painkillers.

Two weeks after the accident at the health club, Timea flew to Hungary to have crowns fitted to her front teeth and, on her return, she sought legal advice before claiming compensation for a health club accident.

In her claim, Timea alleged that the health club was liable for her injuries as there were no signs warning of the shallow depth of the pool or a lifeguard on duty to prevent her from diving in. However, the West Wood Health Club denied its liability, and contested the claim on the basis that Timea had been negligent by diving into a swimming pool without first checking the depth of the water.

With liability contested, the Injuries Board issued Timea with an authorisation to pursue her claim for compensation for a health club accident through the courts; and the case was heard this week at the Circuit Civil Court before Judge Jacqueline Linnane.

Judge Linnane heard evidence from a forensic engineer supporting Timea´s claim that there were inadequate warnings around the perimeter of the swimming pool to indicate guests that it was unsafe to dive into the pool. He also told the judge that the swimming pool was unusual in design as it had a constant depth throughout with no deep end.

The judge dismissed the allegations by the West Wood Club that Timea had contributed to her injuries through her own lack of care, and awarded Timea €30,000 compensation for a health club accident.