Tipperary woman loses case over fall on ice in Thurles car park

A woman who slipped on a patch of ice in a car park in Tipperary fracturing her ankle has lost her action for damages before the High Court.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he could not say on the balance of probabilities the subsidence in the car park surface where ice had accumulated was due to negligent or bad workmanship.

The judge also awarded costs of the one-day hearing against 61-year old Mary Burke who had sued Tipperary County Council over her fall on ice as she walked away from a pay station in a car park in Thurles town three years ago.

Mr Justice Cross said costs must follow the event and it was unfortunate as Mrs Burke, who he described as most pleasant, was a most deserving person. He said he would be pleased if the Council decided it would not enforce the costs order against Mrs Burke.

Mary Burke, Kylecrue, Drombane, Thurles, Co Tipperary had sued Tipperary County Council as a result of the fall at the Council car park at Friar Street, Thurles on February 15, 2016.

Mrs Burke had gone to the pay station which was on a raised concrete plinth and after paying for her ticket she stepped down on to the macadam surface when she slipped on the ice.

She had claimed there was an alleged failure to ensure the groundwork was properly compacted before laying the tarmacadam and there was an alleged failure to properly design the surface of the car park or to grit it.

The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Cross said Mrs Burke had suffered a very nasty fracture of her left ankle and had to have an operation and had to have a plate and pins inserted in her ankle.

The judge said he accepted Mrs Burke fell on ice and that it happened as she stepped down from the plinth at the pay station.

The car park had been there since 2003 and the judge accepted the surface was relatively new and it was designed so that surface water would drain off.

However, the judge found as a fact that ponding had occurred and he accepted this was caused by subsidence and the water had frozen into ice which caused Mrs Burke to slip.

Mrs Burke's side had submitted the subsidence was caused by poor workmanship.

Mr Justice Cross said there no question of contributory negligence on the part of Mrs Burke.

The failure to grit the car park he said was not a grounds to succeed.

The real issue the judge said was whether on the balance of probabilities the subsidence was caused by defective workmanship

Dismissing the case, the judge said he could not say on the balance of probabilities the subsidence was caused by negligent or bad workmanship.

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