Damages award to woman over footpath fall increased by €20,000

Noreen Meehan (71) argued raised lip between slabs caused by subsidence and not tree roots

A woman who fractured her arm after she tripped on a path while walking in Clonmel, Co Tipperary has had her award of damages increased to more than €56,000 by the High Court.

A woman who fractured her arm after she tripped on a path while walking in Clonmel, Co Tipperary has had her award of damages increased to more than €56,000 by the High Court.

 

A woman who fractured her arm after she tripped on a path while walking in Clonmel, Co Tipperary has had her award of damages increased to more than €56,000 by the High Court.

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said Noreen Meehan (71) sustained a traumatic injury but also suffered a loss of dignity during a seven-week period after the incident in which her life had to be put on hold while her daughter cared for her.

Mrs Meehan, the judge said, could not drive, lift or hold her infant granddaughter and suffered ” a considerable loss of the amenities of life for a significant period of time”.

The judge ruled the appropriate award for pain and suffering to date was €55,000 in general damages as well as special damages in the region of €1,350, bringing the total award to €56,350.

The case came before the court by way of an appeal of a Circuit Court decision in May of last year in which Mrs Meehan was awarded a total of €36,350 as a result of the accident on a footpath at Cahir Road, Clonmel on August 6th, 2015.

Mrs Meehan, a retired nurse from Clonmel, had sued Tipperary County Council. She told the court she was out for a walk when she tripped due to a raised lip on the footpath between two slabs of concrete and landed heavily on her right side, fracturing her upper arm.

Inadequate

Her side argued the road was built using inadequate foundation, which led to subsidence. The council denied the claims and contended the raised lip was caused by the roots of a maple tree.

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon found there were a number of compelling reasons which lead to the conclusion that the lip in the footpath was due to subsidence rather than tree roots. She accepted evidence that the roots of maple trees grow downwards and the trees were two metres from the path.

The judge said the accident was reasonably foreseeable and she found the evidence of Mrs Meehan both “credible and cogent”. She said the court accepted that on the balance of probabilities the raised lip in the footpath was caused by one slab of concrete in the footpath dropping down due to subsidence so that the concrete slabs were at different levels.

Upholding the Circuit Court decision on liability, Ms Justice O’Hanlon said she was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the tripping hazard was reasonably foreseeable and was caused by subsidence due to a failure on the part of the council to properly construct that portion of the footpath.