Boy settles case over alleged fall onto council utility box for €32,500

Ryan McCarthy was three at time of alleged incident at or near social welfare offices in Clondalkin, Dublin in 2013

A boy who allegedly tripped on a footpath and then banged his head on a utility box has settled a High Court action for €32,500.

Ryan McCarthy, now aged 13, was three when the accident allegedly occurred on March 4th, 2013 at or near the social welfare offices in Clondalkin, Dublin.

Through his father, Sean McCarthy, of Yellow Meadows Drive, Clondalkin, Ryan sued South Dublin County Council, which owned the utility box, and Chandos Investments Ltd, in liquidation, which was the owner of the path where he fell.

The court heard the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) had assessed his claim at €70,000 but the council refused to accept it and the case went through the court system with an offer of €32,500 made to settle it.


John Scott BL, for Ryan, said that after tripping on the path his client hit the council-owned metal utility box and cut his forehead, leaving him with a scar. The difficulty with the case was that the box was “quite far” from where the trip occurred, counsel said.

The council had offered €32,500 which, although Mr Scott did not believe this would be accepted by a court if the case went to hearing, he believed liability was against him and the offer should be accepted.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons said the PIAB assessment was interesting because it indicated the full value of the case. But, the judge said, there were “very significant issues” as it seemed the utility box was located some distance from where the accident occurred.

The judge shared counsel’s pessimism that if the case went to trial, it might be dismissed. He said he, therefore, had no hesitation in accepting the recommendation of the offer of €32,500.