Employee Awarded Compensation for Falling Down Stairs at Dunnes Stores

A checkout operator from Wexford has been awarded €81,500 compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores after a hearing at the High Court.

Jean O´Reilly was working as a checkout operator at her local Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square, Wexford, when – on 9th December 2011 – she fell down a flight of stairs due to losing her footing while reading notices on the staff noticeboard.

An ambulance took Jean to hospital, where she received treatment for soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. Jean had to wear a neck brace for six weeks to support her head while she was unable to work, and she also underwent a course of physiotherapy to the damaged soft tissues so that they could recover their strength.

Jean applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores, but her employed failed to consent to the assessment being conducted. Jean was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim for compensation through the courts, and she sought legal advice.

The claim for compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores was heard at the end of last week. At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam heard that the staff noticeboard was placed too close to the top of the stairs and that there was no handrail along one side of the staircase that would have enabled Jean to arrest her fall before she was injured.

Judge Fullam found in Jean´s favour and said that Dunnes Stores had failed in its statutory duty of care to prevent the risk of injuries to its staff. He awarded Jean €81,500 compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores, comprising of €65,000 general damages for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity Jean had experienced, and €16,500 special damages for her loss of income and costs she had incurred.