A Physiotherapist who sustained serious injuries to her lower back when she was caused to slip on icy steps at her workplace has been awarded damages of €1 million by the High Court.
The Physiotherapist who worked in Baggot Street Community Hospital in Dublin fell and seriously injured her back when she went to warn an elderly lady about the dangerous condition of the steps because of snow and ice.
Since the accident the Physiotherapist gave evidence that she suffered chronic pain, depression, loss of appetite, anxiety, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress. Medical evidence was given to the Court that she will require life time support for pain and will be unable to work as a Physiotherapist again.
Following the accident she sued the HSE who denied liability and claimed that she was guilty of contributory negligence. The Court had heard that before the accident occurred, a Security Guard who was concerned at the state of the steps went to a shop to buy rock salt but it was sold out. Another Security Guard tried to clear the ice and snow with boiling water. The Security Guards also placed warning signs in the area and later in the day the steps were gritted.
In delivering the Judgement of €1 million in damages to the Plaintiff Mr Justice David Keane said that legislation puts an onus on Employers to ensure all exits and entrances should be kept clear. He said that the Physiotherapist’s Employer had failed in its duty of care which led to the accident.
This duty of care is found in the Occupiers Liability Act 1995. This provides a duty of care to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that a person does not suffer injury or damage by reason of any danger existing thereon.
Commenting about the Judgement, Liam Moloney Solicitor in Naas said today “this Judgement again highlights the duty that is on Employers to ensure that their premises are free from defects and any hazards that could potentially injure somebody on their premises. An Employer has a duty to take such steps as are necessary to include in this instance the effective gritting of steps to make sure that they are not dangerously slippy”.