Top step moved, claims woman who fell down stairs

The top step of a stairs in a local authority house “moved” as a woman stood on it, causing her to fall down the stairs on her back and fracture two vertebrae in her neck.

That was the claim made yesterday in a High Court case against Cork City Council.

Nicola Healy brought an action against the local authority as a result of the injury she sustained at her home on Boyce’s St on May 18, 2013.

Ms Healy told her counsel, Seán Lynch, that she moved into the house in August 2012. The layout is such that her front door leads to a stairs and her living quarters are situated on two floors over another house, below which is a separate front door to the street.

“I came down from my bedroom,” said Ms Healy. “I was going to go out the front door. When I went on the first step, the step moved. I fell backwards and slided down the stairs.

“I got such a fright I got up and went to my mam’s house.

“When you put your foot on the step you can feel the movement, it is like a square piece before the step. I did not notice it [the movement] before.

“I kind of slid down the stairs, I was on my back. At the end of the stairs I was like: ‘What just happened?’

“I was in such a fright I didn’t take notice [of the pain]. When I got to my mam’s house, the pain just started. She is only two seconds away down Boyce’s St.

“It was a sharp pain in my neck. I went to the Mercy [University Hospital]. I had to get a full body x-ray. There were fractures in two vertebrae in my neck. I was very upset, to be honest.”

She said she had to get the assistance of her mother with a number of tasks afterwards and had to wear a hard neck collar.

Ms Healy said she works part-time now.

“I go to work because I don’t want this injury to take over my life,” Ms Healy told the court.

James Duggan, defending, asked Ms Healy how long she had been living in the house before the incident in question. She said she had lived there for nine months.

The case continues today before Mr Justice Robert Haughton at the High Court sitting in Cork.

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