Grandmother awarded €71,000 after fall at filling station

Grandmother awarded €71,000 after fall at filling station
The judge ruled incorrect workmanship was at fault. File Picture.

A woman who broke her two front teeth and fractured her ankle when she tripped in her local filling station has been awarded €71,770 by the High Court. 

Grandmother Mary Delaney was walking across the garage forecourt carrying her purse along with milk and bread when she stubbed her toe on a lip of tarmacadam and fell forward.

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon today ruled incorrect workmanship was clearly at fault and the lip arose due to the placing an excessive depth of material in a patched area. The judge said a definite tripping hazard resulted and the 14 millimetre height difference was sufficient to present a trip hazard.

Mary Delaney, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny had sued Circle K Ireland Energy Group Ltd, formerly Topaz, as a result of her trip and fall at the then Topaz Filling Station, Castlecomer Road Kilkenny on May 20, 2017.

Circle K had contended there wasn’t a lip but a changing gradient with a gradual rise in the surface.

Ms Delaney, in evidence, said she was wearing a pair of black laced shoes at the time of the accident. She said her face was black and blue afterwards and she had to use a straw to drink liquids in the weeks after her fall.

She fractured her left ankle and has not got full movement in her left foot and suffers from stiffness as a result of the accident. She also had to have dental treatments and paid nine visits to the dentist.

Ms Delaney's life had been impacted significantly from the fall 

Ms Justice O’Hanlon noted the accident impacted on Ms Delaney’s life causing her to have to move to a ground floor apartment and she no longer looks after her grandchildren.

The judge said she did not accept the difference in ground level took the form of a slight gradient.

“It is reasonably foreseeable that a person such as Ms Delaney would suffer such an accident in these circumstances as there was a lack of reasonable care in the reinstatement of the pavement,” the judge said.

Ms Delaney, the judge added, was entitled to proceed with safe entry to and egress from the premises. 

The reality of the case, the judge said, is that on the balance of probabilities and from the engineering evidence, there was too much filled bitumen put into the reinstatement operation and a patch of tarmacadam identified was, in all probability, provided as a repair of pre-existing defective surfacing when the forecourt had been recently refurbished.

Ms Justice O’Hanlon, who acknowledged it was “an acrimonious case”, granted Circle K’s application for a stay in the event of an appeal providing €35,000 and costs are paid out to Ms Delaney immediately.

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