A woman returning from her father’s 80th birthday celebrations fell on her bottom as she was leaving the mini-bus taxi outside her home and yesterday she was awarded €9,000 compensation.
Janice O’Leary stood up once the Toyota Hiace taxi stopped outside her home at East Avenue, Laurel Brook, Lehnaghmore, Togher, Cork, and she testified yesterday that it moved again as she was leaving causing her to fall.
Edwin Long, the driver of the mini-bus for K-Cabs of Barrack Street, Cork, denied that the fall occurred.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said at Cork Circuit Court, “On the balance of probabilities the van moved and caused the fall. Her account is more consistent. She suffered a nasty injury (fracture to her coccyx). She could have taken more care for her own safety by holding on.” The judge assessed damages at €12,000 minus a quarter for contributory negligence.
The plaintiff’s barrister, Eoin Clifford, put it to Mr Long that he was annoyed at having to wait for an hour in Macroom before everyone was on board and ready to travel back to the city. Mr Long said, “I was upset a tiny bit but what can you do?”
Mr Clifford said Mr Long drove at speed from Macroom to Cork. Mr Long said he did not and the journey took one hour when it would normally take half an hour.
Mr Long said that Ms O’Leary did not fall at all. “She said something to me. I said, ‘You’re a disgrace, girl’. She was locked.”
Ms O’Leary said she was not drunk and had not drank that much as she was helping out in the kitchen at the party. She said she had three or four bottles of Coors Light that night and that the fall occurred at 3.30am that morning, February 16, 2013.
“When I went to move, he moved the bus and I fell to my bottom. I got very upset. I asked him why he moved the bus,” Ms O’Leary said.
Her sister corroborated evidence that the plaintiff was not drunk. Her husband, who was minding the children at home, said his wife was very upset and she rang K-Cabs and rang the gardaí when she got home.
When the judge was told that the gardaí were called on the night in relation to the disputed fall in the Hiace, he asked, “Did the armed response unit come out?”
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