Court of Appeal rules boy's €50k award for falling on unprotected, damaged radiator should be halved

A €50,000 award for a cut to a boy's back after he fell onto an unprotected and damaged radiator valve was "grossly excessive" and should be cut in half, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Court of Appeal rules boy's €50k award for falling on unprotected, damaged radiator should be halved

By Ann O'Loughlin

A €50,000 award for a cut to a boy's back after he fell onto an unprotected and damaged radiator valve was "grossly excessive" and should be cut in half, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

In April 2016, the High Court's Mr Justice Kevin Cross made the award to Paul Gore, Dingle Road, Cabra, Dublin, over the injury which occurred on December 11, 2011, in a bedroom of the family home. Through his mother Sharon Gore, he sued their landlord John Walsh, and Mr Walsh's son Darren, who had carried out renovation works to the bedroom.

Paul, who was four at the time, fell from his sister's bed onto the spindle which Mr Justice Cross found had been fractured and unprotected with a standard plastic cap.

Mr Justice Cross found the Walshes' were liable as the damage to it had occurred before they left the house, probably by the delivering of a sharp blow to it by spanners or hammers while work was being carried out on it.

It was fanciful, as was suggested by John Walsh's brother, Ken Walsh, who had installed the radiator, that the radiator had been damaged by the movement of a bed in the room. He found the defendants liable and awarded €50,000 for pain and suffering to date and into the future.

The defendants appealed that decision.

Today, Ms Justice Mary Irvine, sent the case back to the High Court saying the issue of liability should be reconsidered.

In relation to the amount of damages, Ms Justice Irvine said the boy's injury, in the context of cosmetic injuries commonly before the courts, "is at the very lowest end of the cosmetic injury spectrum".

She was satisfied it cannot be considered just, fair or proportionate to the injury sustained.

Ms Justice Irvine said: "Paul was not left with a significant scar, as was determined by the trial judge. Neither can his scar be described, as it was by counsel , as horrific."

The injury, unaccompanied as it was by any other physical or psychological injury, "is possibly if not probably the smallest scar I have ever seen form the subject of High Court proceedings in more than 35 years of legal practice", she said.

She therefore replaced the €50,000 award with one of €25,000.

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