The High Court has awarded a singer €64,300 in damages for injuries she sustained after she slipped and fell in a Dunnes Stores supermarket.

Rachel Prior, aged 32, and known by her stage name of ‘Rachy P’, sued Dunnes Stores, seeking damages for negligence for injuries she sustained after she slipped and fell to the ground at Dunnes Stores outlet at Henry Street, Limerick on December 6, 2008.

She claimed while shopping in Dunnes her feet shot out from under her and she fell forcefully onto her back after she came into contact with a white liquid (milk or cream) on the floor surface in the vicinity of the dairy fridge. She claimed she suffered immediate pain.

The court heard she suffered pain in her neck and lower back and other injuries. Dunnes Stores had denied the claims.

During the action the supermarket’s lawyers had put it to Ms Prior that on line posts on social media including images showing her holding bowling balls, and punching a virtual reality boxing machine showed she was not suffering from any significant disability.

In his judgement Mr Justice Anthony Barr said Ms Prior of Woodlawn, Brickhill West, Cratloe, Co Clare, had established negligence. He said he accepted expert evidence given on behalf of Ms Prior that the floor surface where the accident occurred is shiny and a spillage would not have been readily visible to a person walking down the aisle.

The judge said he was not making a finding of contributory negligence against Ms Prior, who he added was a truthful witness. In terms of the quantum of the award the judge said he accepted medical evidence on Ms Prior’s behalf that while some of her injuries have resolved she will continue to have lower back pain.

He noted Ms Prior accepted that since the accident she did high energy dance routines as part of her musical performances and other activities, some of which were posted on social media. Ms Prior said despite her injuries she had tried to get on with her life, but “would pay for her activities in the days after a gig”.

The judge said after taking all the circumstances into account he was awarding Ms Prior €64,300 damages plus the legal costs of her action.

Dunnes had sought a stay on the award pending an appeal.


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