Worker withdraws personal injuries claim after forgetting alleged accident date

Zoubir Guelmi claimed he suffered back injuries as a result of an accident on warehouse floor

STOCK: The Courts of Criminal Justice on Parkgate St. Dublin
Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times
The Criminal Courts of Justice Exterior view

A general operative who cleaned home delivery trays supplied to supermarkets has withdrawn an action over an alleged accident on a warehouse floor after the High Court heard he could not remember exactly when it happened.

Zoubir Guelmi (49), a native of Algeria, with an address at Dufferin Avenue, South Circular Road, Dublin, claimed a stack of the trays fell on him when an adjoining stack was hit by a forklift truck.

He claimed he suffered back injuries as a result of the accident at the premises of XPO Supply Chain Ireland Ltd (formerly Norbert Dentressangle Logistics) in Woodford Business Park, Santry, Dublin, on May 30th, 2015.

XPO denied the accident occurred.


Mr Guelmi’s job with XPO was to clean trays mainly supplied to Tesco for home and other deliveries. He said that towards the end of his night shift on May 30th, 2015, a pallet of up to 20 cleaned trays was hit by the forklift and an adjoining stack of trays fell on him.

Forklift driver

He claimed the forklift driver said sorry to him and, after helping to take the trays off him, told him not to report the accident.

However, he said, about 20 minutes later he reported it to the manager and a supervisor, and he told them to check the CCTV before he went home. He was not due back at work for four days but when he returned he had to stop working because of the pain in his back, he said. He never went back to the job and returned to live in Algeria.

He told his counsel, Gabriel Gavigan SC, that the forklift should not have been in the area where there was a worker and that the vehicle was being driven too fast.

Under cross-examination by Finbarr Fox SC, for the defendant, Mr Guelmi said he could not remember the exact date it happened even though he agreed that for the last seven years he had told doctors, engineers and his lawyers that it happened on May 30th, which was a Saturday.

Work absences

When counsel put to him that nothing happened on that date and he never reported it because the two managers did not work on Saturday, he said he could not remember the exact date but he knew that the accident did happen and he reported it.

He agreed he had told the defendant’s doctor that he never had back pain before the accident. When counsel put it to him that he had recorded absences from work in 2013 and 2014 due to back pain, he said “that is possible”.

He also said he could not remember whether he told his GP about the accident three days after it when he attended with a respiratory problem. Mr Fox said there was no record of him telling the doctor about it on that date.

Following the completion of cross-examination, Mr Gavigan asked for some time to take instructions from Mr Guelmi.

When the court resumed, Mr Justice Garret Simons was told the case was being withdrawn. The judge struck out the case without making any legal costs orders and each side pays its own costs.