Injury Compensation Claim for a Fractured Ankle Resolved at Court

A businesswoman´s injury compensation claim for a fractured ankle has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with a compensation award of €56,250.

In August 2014, the businesswoman from Kinsale, County Cork, was staying at the Herbert Park Hotel in Ballsbridge while visiting the Dublin Horse Show at the Royal Dublin Society. On the final day of the event, the businesswoman, her son and grandson decided to make an early departure to prepare for the journey home due to inclement weather.

After checking out of the hotel, the businesswoman tried to get out of the hotel car park, but the barrier would not raise. While she was returning to the hotel lobby to check that her parking ticket had been validated, she slipped on the wet floor surface and immediately felt a severe pain in her ankle.

She was attended to by hotel staff before an ambulance was summoned and she was taken to St Vincent´s Hospital. At the hospital, an x-ray revealed a triple fracture to her left ankle. The businesswoman underwent surgery to set the ankle and was discharged wearing a plaster cast. She is now unable to walk long distances and will likely develop arthritis in the future.

The businesswoman made an injury compensation claim for a fractured ankle against the hotel and its management company for negligence. Consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of her claim was denied, and the businesswoman was issued with an authorisation to pursue her injury compensation claim for a fractured ankle through the courts.

The hearing to establish liability took place at the Circuit Civil Court earlier this week. At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the floor of the hotel lobby was impeccably maintained, but it was prone to become slippery when moisture was carried onto it under people´s shoes. According to the expert witness, there should have been a mat by the entrance used by the businesswoman on her return to the lobby to absorb any moisture.

The defendants argued that the businesswoman had used an emergency entrance to re-enter the hotel, rather than the main entrance – which was protected against moisture. The hotel and its management company said that the plaintiff had only used the emergency entrance because she was in a hurry and there was a crowd of people blocking the main entrance at the time. Furthermore, it was argued, she had contributed to her accident by her own lack of care.

Judge Groarke found in the businesswoman´s favour – stating that it was an accident waiting to happen and that the plaintiff had suffered “a very nasty and extremely serious injury” as a result. However, he did also agree that the businesswoman could have been distracted as she re-entered the hotel and not paying full attention to her surroundings. He initially awarded her €75,000 in settlement of her injury compensation claim for a fractured ankle, but then reduced the award by 25% to €56,250 to account for her contributory negligence.