€60,000 for ballroom dancer (88) hit by trolley in Dunnes

Court told Christina O’Reilly in constant pain since Northside Shopping Centre incident

An 88-year-old housewife who was struck by a pallet trolley in a Dunnes Stores outlet in Dublin’s Northside Shopping Centre has been given the maximum €60,000 personal injury damages a Circuit Civil Court judge can award. Image: Google Streetview.

An 88-year-old housewife who was struck by a pallet trolley in a Dunnes Stores outlet in Dublin’s Northside Shopping Centre has been given the maximum €60,000 personal injury damages a Circuit Civil Court judge can award. Image: Google Streetview.

 

An 88-year-old housewife who was struck by a pallet trolley in a Dunnes Stores outlet in Dublin has been given the maximum €60,000 personal injury damages a Circuit Civil Court judge can award.

Barrister Eileen McAuley told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that a worker in Dunnes Northside Shopping Centre store struck her client Christina O’Reilly in the back as he “blindly pushed” a pallet trolley stacked with boxes along an aisle.

Ms McAuley said the boxes were stacked above eye level and the shop worker failed to see Ms O’Reilly doing her shopping with her daughter Mary.

She said the pallet trolley struck Ms O’Reilly in her lower back and leg, jolting her forward without actually knocking her to the ground.

The incident aggravated existing degenerative changes in her lower back and, as a result, had left her with constant pain, the court heard.

“Prior to the accident Ms O’Reilly had led an active social life which included ballroom dancing every Sunday night which she had to give up,” Ms McAuley said. “She can no longer do her own shopping.”

Conceded liability

Ms McAuley told the court that Dunnes Stores had, just before the case opened in court, conceded liability for the incident meaning it was now just an assessment of damages.

She said entering of a full defence earlier against Ms O’Reilly, who lives at Adare Drive, Coolock, delayed the proceedings coming to court due to her legal team having been put on full proof of what had happened.

Ms McAuley said Ms O’Reilly’s daughter Mary had since died. She was helped in court by another daughter, Bernadette Gallagher, and insisted on giving evidence despite serious hearing difficulties.

Judge Linnane said Ms O’Reilly had led a full, active social life up until the incident and had been living independently. She was now dependent on the help of her family due to her residual permanent pain.

The judge awarded Ms O’Reilly €60,000 damages and her legal costs and when counsel for Dunnes Stores asked for a stay to facilitate consideration of an appeal to the High Court, Judge Linnane ordered payment of €45,000 to Ms O’Reilly.

Judge Linnane directed that in the event of her decision being appealed an application be made at the earliest opportunity to the President of the High Court for a very early hearing of the appeal because of Ms O’Reilly’s age.