A claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury has been resolved in the High Court in Cork in favour of a pensioner who broke her hip in her local store.
On 2nd July 2013, Bernadette O´Leary (77) from Clonakilty in Cork was looking to purchase a waterproof canopy in her local Dunnes Store so that she could protect her stall at the weekly farmers market, where she sold food items such as homemade cakes.
Bernadette found a small detachable gazebo that she thought would be suitable, but before buying it she wanted to make sure that it was waterproof. Bernadette asked a shop assistant for advice and, as the shop assistant was unsure about the protection the gazebo would offer, he went to ask a colleague.
The shop assistant told Bernadette to follow him but, as she entered the adjacent aisle, she stumbled over a fold-away deckchair that had been left in the aisle waiting to be placed on a display shelf and fell heavily – breaking her hip.
Bernadette was taken to hospital by ambulance – where she waited forty-eight hours on a trolley waiting for a bed to become available. Once she was allowed home, Bernadette sought legal advice and made a claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury.
Bernadette claimed in her legal action that the fold-away deckchair left in the aisle represented a hazard contrary to Dunnes Stores´ own safety statement. The company contested Bernadette´s claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury by saying that she should have looked where she was going.
With Dunnes Stores denying liability for Bernadette´s broken hip, the Injuries Board issued an Authorisation for Bernadette to pursue her claim for a Dunnes Store trip and fall injury through the courts; and the case was heard this week by Mr Justice Henry Abbot at the High Court in Cork.
Judge Abbot was shown a CCTV video of the accident, after which he 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”. The judge awarded Bernadette €137,000 compensation in settlement of her claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury.