A 40-year-old Dublin accountant, who claimed she had been knocked down in a Lidl store by a child “running amok,” has lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim against the store.
Jiao Zhang, of Cuil Duin Walk, Citywest, Dublin 24, told Judge Sarah Berkeley she had been 16 weeks pregnant at the time and had deliberately twisted her body “to protect her bump” as she fell.
Zhang said she had been shopping in Lidl’s Leixlip store in September 2017 when a hyper young boy of about nine, who had been running amok in full view of staff, struck her from behind and knocked her to the ground.
Barrister Conor Kearney, who appeared with MacSweeney Solicitors, Galway, for Lidl, told Judge Berkeley that Ms Zhang had initially pleaded her right leg had been injured but later told doctors it had been her left leg.
He said that throughout the handling of her proceedings doctors who had treated or examined her had made no reference to a back injury she complained of in court. She had made no mention of a back injury when examined by a doctor on behalf of Lidl.
Ms Zhang’s barrister had told the court that CCTV of the incident had for six minutes recorded the child running amok in the Leixlip store. Mr Kearney said CCTV requested by Ms Zhang’s legal team up until the time of the incident did not show her falling.
When cross-examining Zhang about her evidence to the court he asked her to view additional CCTV of what had happened after the collision with the child.
“That CCTV shows footage of your own child walking around the store on its own opening fridges and cabinets,” Mr Kearney said. “From the extra footage it seems to me you put out your leg and you tripped up the child who fell over your leg and the child goes tumbling.”
Mr Kearney told her she had lain down on the floor and had refused to get up until helped by a member of staff and taken to hospital.
Zhang said she had been in great pain and couldn’t walk. She had not told doctors about having suffered pain in her back previously because this was not true. She had been detained for treatment in The Coombe Hospital and later at the Mater hospital.*
Mr Kearney told Zhang that in heavily redacted personal medical records it was revealed that in 2014 she had complained of pain in her back during a previous pregnancy when her doctor had referred her to a rheumatologist.
“This was just an unfortunate accident when this child collided with your leg and did not cause you any back injury,” Mr Kearney said. “To suggest five years later that problems you had with your back related to this accident and not to your pregnancy is not true and misleading.”
Mr Kearney told the court he was not presenting any evidence other than the CCTV on behalf of Lidl.
Judge Berkeley said she had watched the second video about what occurred after the collision and Ms Zhang had not been knocked to the ground. To doctors and others she had said she had been knocked to the ground and had not made any mention of a back injury.
Commenting that there did not seem to be any issue raised about her own child’s behaviour Judge Berkeley dismissed Zhang’s claim and awarded costs against her.
*This article was amended on Monday, July 25th, 2022 to correct an error in relation to one of the hospitals attended by Ms Zhang.