Woman sues partner’s parents after losing eye in accident at their house

A woman who sued her partner’s parents after she lost an eye in a horrific domestic accident has had her action dismissed by a High Court judge.

Had Elaine Newman, aged 27, won her case, agreed damages of €200,000 would have had to have been paid to her arising out of the accident at the home of Marie and Patrick Cogan at Delganstown, Delvin, Co Westmeath, on Jun 22, 2007.

In what was described in court as a “horror story” by Ms Newman, her eye was catastrophically damaged when her partner Emmett Cogan fell and a piece of frozen meat in his hand hit and smashed the glass pane in a door causing pieces of glass to hit her eye.

As a result, she lost the eye and now has an artificial eye.

Ms Newman, originally from Mullingar but now living with Mr Cogan in Australia, claimed Mr and Mrs Cogan failed, under section 3 of the Occupiers Liability Act 1995, to take reasonable care to ensure that she (Newman) as a visitor to the house did not suffer injury by reason of any existing danger.

The Cogans did not contest her status as a visitor but denied liability.

Dismissing her case yesterday, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill said the Cogans could not have been reasonably said to have failed in their duty of care by choosing the type of non-shatterproof glass which was in the door.

Patrick Cogan, a farmer, had replaced the glass himself in 2000/01, the glass having been broken on a number of occasions when Emmett Cogan and his siblings were children

While Patrick Cogan did not give evidence, the judge was satisfied he installed the glass competently.


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