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Retailer Found Negligent in Work Accident Claim

Posted: March 21st, 2016

The High Court have determined that Dunnes Stores were negligent in a claim for work accident compensation after an employee fell down the stairs.

The employee in question, Jean O’Reilly from Wexford, worked at her local Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square as a checkout operator. However, on the 9th December 2011, as she was checking the noticeboard for staff members she lost her footing and fell down a flight of stairs that lead from the ground floor up to the staff locker room.

Jean was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and received treatment for injuries to her neck and back. For six weeks after the accident, Jean wore a neck brace and was unable to return to work. She also attended a course of physiotherapy to help heal any injuries she sustained.

After seeking legal counsel, Jean proceeded to make a claim for compensation in a workplace accident against her employer. In this claim, she alleged that the position of the staff noticeboard was dangerous, as it was too close to the top of the stairs. She also claimed that had a handrail been positioned on either side of the stairway, her fall could have been prevented.

Dunnes Stores disputed the claim for compensation, and denied permission to the Injuries Board for them to undertake an assessment of the accident. As such, Jean was given authorisation by the board to bring her claim to the courts. It was heard earlier this month at the High Court in Dublin.

The case was overseen by Mr Justice Raymond Fullam, who found in Jean’s favour. The judge ruled that Dunnes Stores was guilty of two counts of negligence – the first for the dangerous positioning of the noticeboard and the second for the missing handrail on both sides of the stairs where Jean fell.

Jean was awarded €81,500 compensation for her claim, which comprised a €65,000 general damage payment for her pain and loss of amenity because of the accident, and a €16,500 special payment for the loss of income she suffered and costs she incurred whilst injured.

Categories: Accident at Work Compensation

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