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Dublin Airport Injury Claim Heard at Court

A pensioner´s Dublin Airport injury claim has been resolved at the High Court after the judge assigned the plaintiff 33% contributory negligence and reduced the settlement of her claim to €40,000.

On 2nd November 2011, Elizabeth Lavin (69) from Kilcullen in County Kildare arrived at Dublin Airport intending to fly to Manchester. As she was travelling up the escalator towards Terminal 2, the escalator juddered, causing Elizabeth to fall forward and hit her head on the moving stairway.

Elizabeth was taken to the Beaumont Hospital, where she received treatment for a head injury and minor lacerations. She subsequently has had to undergo orthopaedic treatment for pain in her head, arm, hip and knee – during which time she found it difficult to do household activities.

After seeking legal advice, Elizabeth made a Dublin Airport injury claim, alleging that Dublin Airport Authority PLC had failed to take reasonable care of her safety. Elizabeth also alleged negligence on the part of the Authority for designing the airport in such a way that the escalator was the only apparent practical means of access to the next floor for passengers with luggage.

Dublin Airport denied liability for Elizabeth´s injuries. They argued that Elizabeth had failed to hold onto the handrail of the escalator and had contributed to the extent of her injuries by placing her hand luggage in front of her, instead of behind her, as the escalator ascended. Furthermore, the airport claimed, Elizabeth had the option of using the lift.

When the Dublin Airport injury claim was heard at the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Hanna was told that Elizabeth was unaware that the option of a lift was available because there were no signs erected at the time directing passengers to the lift. The judge heard that these were not erected until 2013. Judge Hanna was also shown CCTV footage of Elizabeth´s fall.

After viewing the CCTV footage, Judge Hanna said that Elizabeth could not be considered to have contributed to her injuries for failing to hold onto the handrail or for placing her luggage in front of her, but she could have asked for directions to the lift from an airport assistant. He assigned her 33% contributory negligence and reduced the settlement of her Dublin Airport injury claim from €60,000 to €40,000.