A former employee of Argos in Waterford has been awarded fall from ladder injury compensation amounting to €25,000 after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.
Forty-two year old Nicola Starmer was working as a front-of-house sales assistant at the Great George´s Street branch of Argos in February 2007, when she went into the store´s stockroom to fetch goods that had been purchased by a customer.
As the purchase she needed to retrieve from the stockroom was located on a high shelf, Nicola – from Ballynakill Downs in Waterford – used a ladder in order to reach it. However, as Nicola was descending the ladder, she fell backwards and put out her hand to break her fall.
At the time Nicola was unaware that she had sustained an injury in the accident; but, as the day progressed, she started to feel pain in her right wrist. She visited the Accident department of the local hospital, where an x-ray which revealed she had dislocated her wrist.
Doctors inserted pins into Nicola´s wrist to stabilise the injury, and she was discharged from hospital in plaster cast to protect her wrist while it healed. Unfortunately she was unable to return to her temporary job at Argos because of her injury.
Nicola explained the circumstances of her injury to a solicitor and made a claim for fall from ladder injury compensation against Argos. Argos contested its liability for her injuries and the Injuries Board issued an Authorisation for the claim to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court.
At the hearing, Argos disputed Nicola´s claim for fall from ladder injury compensation on the grounds that Nicola had been trained in ladder safety and that the company should not be held responsible for her injuries.
However, Nicola´s solicitor told Mr Justice Raymond Groake that the ladder safety training was comprised of a DVD presentation rather than a practical demonstration and, furthermore, that Nicola had never been given any training with regard to working in the stockroom as she had been employed as a front-of-house sales assistant.
Judge Groarke also heard that Nicola had only attempted to fetch the goods that had been purchased by the customer because the store was short-staffed and there was nobody else available. He found in Nicola´s favour and awarded her €25,000 in fall from ladder injury compensation.