A High Court judge has awarded a woman €64,300 compensation after determining liability in a Dunnes back injury claim for slipping on milk and falling.
Thirty-two year old Rachel Prior, from Cratloe in County Clare, made her Dunnes back injury claim after slipping on spilt milk in the Limerick branch of Dunnes Stores. Rachel – who is a professional singer – claimed to have suffered injuries to her cervical spine and lower back due to the stores negligence in failing to identify the hazard and remove it before her accident.
Dunnes Stores contested the allegations of negligence and denied its consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of Rachel´s claim. Rachel was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue her Dunnes back injury claim in court. The hearing to determine liability was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.
At the hearing, Judge Barr was told that Rachel performs under the stage name of “Rachy P” and that her act involves energetic dance moves. He also heard that Rachel is in constant pain after a gig because of her injury, and that she has had to adjust her lifestyle as a result of her accident in Dunnes Stores.
It was argued by the defendant that Rachel´s performances after her accident implied her injuries were not as bad as she had alleged in her Dunnes back injury claim. Dunnes Stores also claimed that Rachel had contributed to her accident by failing to look where she was going in the Henry Street store.
Judge Barr found in Rachel´s favour after dismissing the allegations of contributory negligence. The judge commented that Rachel was a truthful witness, who had established liability and not overstated her injuries. He also dismissed the claims of contributory negligence on the grounds that it would have been difficult to see milk on a shiny floor under bright lighting.
The judge awarded Rachel €64,300 compensation in settlement of her Dunnes back injury claim, conceding to Dunnes Stores for a stay on the settlement pending an appeal, provided that the company immediately pay Rachel €30,000 of the compensation award plus €20,000 towards her legal costs.