Compensation of €975,000 for ‘silly act’ in playground

Teenager fell off swing designed for toddlers and is now paralysed from the waist down

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

A young man who is paralysed from the waist down as a result of committing what a judge described as a “silly act” and falling off a child’s swing in a playground has received €975,000 in settlement of his High Court action against the owners of a caravan park.

Liam Daly was 15 when he suffered a serious spine injury after landing heavily on his back when he fell off the swing in a playground attached to the caravan park where the family’s mobile home was at Bettystown, Co Meath.

He had been swinging on a swing designed for toddlers and young children, the court heard. Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the consequences of that “silly act” were very serious for Mr Daly, now aged 20.

Through his father John Daly, Mr Daly, Nephin Road, Dublin 7, sued David, Gerard, Kenneth and Michael Lynch trading as Lynch’s Caravan Park, Bettystown, as a result of the accident on July 24th, 2013.

It was claimed the cradle seat of the swing was caused to rotate at the maximum arc position and he was ejected. It was further alleged there was a failure to prohibit teenagers using the swings.

The claims were denied and it was pleaded there was contributory negligence by the plaintiff in getting on to a swing which was designed for younger children and unsuitable for him. It was pleaded that he attempted to use a swing for which he was too old and too big and used it in an allegedly dangerous manner.

Bruce Antoniotti SC, for Mr Daly, said the family had a mobile home at the caravan park for 10 years before the accident. He said Liam had gone to the playground at around 7pm on the day of the accident.

Spine injury

He went on the slide and then got on the swing which was designed for a toddler. He sat on the cradle of the swing but, as he swung, he fell back and suffered a very serious spine injury.

He is now in a wheelchair but can drive a car and is hopeful of getting employment.

Counsel said the matting at the playground was not “state of the art” but, because of the way his client fell, it would not have made a difference whether the matting was state of the art or not.

This accident occurred because the swing was not being used properly, counsel said. It was fine for a young child or toddler.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said Liam was aged 15 years at the time of the accident but the consequences of that “silly act” were very serious for him. In all the circumstances, it was a good settlement, he said.