Corporate relations manager sues UCD over neck injury

Lawyers say Jacqueline Ashmore’s life has been turned upside down by the accident

The case of the woman who worked for UCD for 24 years includes a claim for loss of earnings and pension totalling over €700,000.

The case of the woman who worked for UCD for 24 years includes a claim for loss of earnings and pension totalling over €700,000.

 

A corporate relations manager who claims she injured her neck as she attempted to pick up a box of information leaflets at an event in Budapest to promote UCD has sued the university in the High Court.

Jacqueline Ashmore (57) told the court she felt “overwhelming and extreme pain” in her neck when she lifted the box eight inches from the ground at the UCD stand at a Hungarian university.

“Something awful had happened, there was this horrendous pain. I knew it was the box. It was like somebody had stabbed me in the neck. I thought I was going to vomit,” she said.

Ms Ashmore, who worked for UCD for 24 years, and whose case includes a claim for loss of earnings and pension totalling over €700,000, had to stand in the witness box at times as she gave her evidence.

She claims she has been left with complex pain syndrome, has pain in her neck and down one side of her body, and a condition which means her neck is tilted to the right.

Before the accident, she said she liked to run and walk and had a stepper in her office. Now, she feeds the birds in her garden, listens to audio books and watches TV. “I have a PhD in Only Fools and Horses,” she told Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy.

Ms Ashmore was in Budapest in November 2016 as UCD sought corporate partners. After dropping the box, she got somebody to open it and spread some brochures on the desk and she worked for an hour “taking deep breaths”, she said.

She went to Beaumont Hospital A&E on her return to Dublin.

Opening her case, Diarmuid P O’Donovan SC, with Declan Buckley SC, said Ms Ashmore’s life has been turned upside down by the accident.

“She has become a virtual recluse in her own home. She would love to work but she is not able. It has severely damaged her life,” he said.

Ms Ashmore, from Santry, Dublin has sued her employer, UCD, as a result of the accident on November 16th, 2012 when, as a corporate relations manager, she attended Corvinus University, Budapest, on behalf of UCD.

It is claimed she attempted to lift the box of information brochures which were stored under the UCD table and suffered immediate pain in her neck and back.

She claims a box full of material was provided which was too heavy for her and caused injury.

She has further alleged failure to adequately, or at all, notify her of the weight of the box and to provide her with any or any adequate training in the manual handling of loads , safety and health and welfare at work.

UCD has denied the claims and pleads contributory negligence by Ms Ashmore in allegedly failing to take account of any hazard represented by the weight or size of the box and in failing to simply remove the brochures from the box without having to lift the box.

The case continues on Friday.