A 30-year-old hotel supervisor, who broke her two front teeth when she dived into a shallow swimming pool and hit her face against the bottom, has been awarded €35,000 damages against a Dublin fitness club.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane said the depth of the pool at West Wood Club, Clontarf, Dublin, and the fact it was unsuitable for diving, had not been adequately marked.
She said if a lifeguard had been present at the time, as it was claimed by the club, he would have warned Timea Babos that diving was not allowed in the pool.
The judge said she accepted Ms Babos’s evidence that, when she came out of the pool in severe pain and bleeding, she had not seen any member of staff to report the incident to until she had gone to reception. There was clearly inadequate supervision and she accepted that Ms Babos had not seen any sign prohibiting diving.
Gavin Mooney, for Ms Babos, told the Circuit Civil Court she had dived into the pool on November 13, 2011, after using the club’s sauna and jacuzzi facilities.
He said Ms Babos had once previously visited the club on a free pass to play tennis but on the second occasion, again on a guest pass, had used the swimming pool. She claimed it had no markings indicating depth or that diving was not allowed.
“I hit the bottom with my face and when I came up I was bleeding and had broken my two front teeth,” she said. “I completed an accident report form before leaving to attend an evening clinic where I received treatment to stop the bleeding and was given pain killers.”
Ms Babos, a Romanian national, said she had been living in Ireland for a number of years
and works at The Shelbourne hotel in Dublin. Ms Babos, of Tentar Fields Apartments, South Brown St, Dublin 8, told Kerry Jane Morgan, counsel for West Wood Club, that she had been booked to travel to Canada for a holiday on December l, a fortnight after the incident. She had flown to Hungary the day after the incident to have crowns fitted. “I could not have flown to Canada with broken teeth,” she told the court.
She told Ms Morgan she had learned to swim and dive while at school in Romania and denied she had chosen a dangerous, unsafe method of diving into the pool.
Barry Tennyson, a forensic engineer who examined the pool area after the incident, said the pool “unusually” did not have a deep end and measured 1.35m throughout its length.
Judge Linnane, awarding her €35,000 damages, said Ms Babos was not guilty of contributory negligence, as claimed by West Wood Club, which has its registered office at Leopardstown Racecourse, Foxrock, Dublin.
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