Compensation Claim for Slip on Wet Stairs Settled during Court Hearing

The settlement of a compensation claim for a slip on wet stairs was agreed part way through a court hearing when plaintiff agreed to settle out of court.

The compensation claim for a slip on wet stairs was brought by William Busteed (59) from Cork, who suffered a fractured arm and head injuries as he was leaving his council-owned property on May 9th 2009 to catch a taxi to the airport.

As William started to descend the stairs in his six apartment complex, he slipped on a wet step and fell to the bottom of the stairway sustaining his injuries and spending the first day of his holiday at the Cork University Hospital.

William made a compensation claim for a slip on wet stairs against his landlords – Cork City Council – alleging that the hazard was due to a faulty smoke alarm which went off randomly and resulted in the vents above the stairway to open and allow the rain to enter.

The council denied its liability for William´s injuries – despite William having made a complaint about the faulty smoke alarm just days earlier – and the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for William to pursue his compensation claim for a slip on wet stairs at court.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Daniel Herbert was told that Cork City Council had previously attended William´s complaints in good time, and defence counsel produced William´s medical records at the time of his admission to Cork University Hospital which showed high levels of alcohol and cannabis in his blood. The council argued that William was intoxicated, and that was the reason for his slip.

William denied that he had been drunk on the day of his accident, and he told the Judge that he had only drunk two small bottles of beer that day – mindful of the fact that airlines could refuse boarding to intoxicated passengers. He also said that he had never smoked cannabis and that the medical record must be wrong. William´s solicitor described the recording of the drug as “outrageous”.

At the end of the first day of the hearing, Mr Justice Daniel Herbert adjourned proceedings to be continued the following morning. However, when the hearing restarted on day two, the Judge was told that William had agreed to an undisclosed settlement of his compensation claim for a slip on wet stairs and that the case could be struck out.