An Aer Lingus pilot who suffered a finger crush injury when a door slammed against him in high winds while he was on an air bridge, has been awarded €30,600 damages against his employer and airport operator DAA.
However, Judge James McCourt told Captain Simon Moody in the Circuit Civil Court that he was 50 per cent responsible for the incident and reduced the award to €15,300 and costs, telling the defendants they could each pay half of the sum.
Barrister Pat O’Brien, counsel Capt Moody, told the court his client had just finished inspecting the exterior of his aircraft prior to take-off when a gust of wind propelled him through the doorway of the air bridge and pushed the security door against his finger.
Mr O’Brien, who appeared with Frances E Barron Solicitors, said Capt Moody was taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where x-rays revealed a right index finger fracture. He was out of work for three months and sued for €38,000 compensation including €8,600 special damages for loss of earnings.
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Barristers Fred Gilligan, for Aer Lingus, and Shane English, for DAA, cross-examined Capt Moody and his forensic engineer, Alan Conlan, regarding liability for the January 2012 incident under the €38,000 pre-existing Circuit Court jurisdiction.
Capt Moody, of Blackwood Lawn, Ongar, Dublin 15, said there were strong gusts as he was passing from a ramp through the air bridge and the door slammed shut on his finger.
He said there was a previous incident involving the same door in high winds but he received no warning from either defendant with regard to any potential safety issues. He said the door was fitted with a closer but it nevertheless slammed shut on him and was somehow defective.
Mr Conlan told the court the speed of closure of the door could be adjusted on the closing mechanism, but he was unaware of the speed setting on the day of the accident or if it had been appropriately set.
Judge McCourt said Capt Moody had fortunately made a full recovery. He said the court had no evidence of any particular defect in the door and Capt Moody had a duty to look out for his own safety. He said all parties were at high risk in the case and he did not believe Capt Moody could escape taking some proportion of responsibility for what transpired.
He awarded him €22,000 damages with €8,600 special damages and reduced the overall award to €15,300, payment of which was to be shared by the two defendants on a 50-50 basis.