A solicitor who suffered a “nasty fracture” to her ankle when she fell on slippery decking in the beer garden of a pub in Ballsbridge, Dublin, has been awarded €105,000 by the High Court.
Emma Morrison (43), originally from Cork but living in the Liberties, Dublin, sued the Madigan Group Trading Co Unlimited, operators of the Horseshow House, where the accident happened during a work-organised barbeque at the pub in June 2017.
The court heard decking leading from the beer garden into the pub was very slippery and a number of others had slipped on it the evening Ms Morisson fell, coming down hard on her ankle.
Ms Morrison was a keen runner, putting in up to 7km three times a week and participating in 10k runs, before the accident. Due to complications from her injury that activity has been curtailed, although she has got back to jogging, the court also heard.
Madigans admitted liability and the value of the case was assessed by Mr Justice Michael Hanna at €100,000 for past and future damages, along with €5,000 in special damages.
The judge said Ms Morrisson was an excellent witness “and told it as it was”. She suffered a “nasty fracture at a work do” and initially thought she had hurt her ankle but “not that much”, he said. She got a taxi home and rested the day after.
However, by the second day it was not getting any better and she had to take herself to a clinic and “found out, no doubt to her horror, that she had fractured it and required a plaster of paris”, the judge said. The plaster remained on for six weeks and she had to use crutches to get around.
It later transpired the fracture did not knit back together again and she needed surgery to insert plates and screws into her ankle, the judge said. She was an active person who loved running and walking her dog but when the metalwork in her ankle was removed this itself brought further problems, he said.
Even though she got back to running, it became curtailed and she had ongoing problems and pain which she deals with by way of physio. She was left with an eight-centimetre scar which he said was prominent and had caused a discoloration of the skin.
There will apparently be no long-term complications such as arthritis, but she continues to experience activity-related discomfort and pain which interferes with “her great love” of running, he said.
‘Jimmy Choo hit list’
She liked to dress smartly including wearing high heels which she could no longer do, he said. The judge, who also remarked he had apparently been “put on a Jimmy Choo hit list” over comments he made previously about women’s love for high heels, said while this was still “something utterly foreign” to him, it was something women enjoyed.
Ms Morrisson was entitled to be compensated for a serious injury, he said. While she can still carry on her profession, the overall impact of the injury will be “real and lifelong” and she will have to put up with ongoing pain and discomfort from running and also while walking her dog, he said.
He agreed to put a stay on the award of €105,000 in the event of an appeal if half of it was paid out.