A man who claims he suffered life-changing injuries after allegedly falling 27 feet from a third floor bedroom window of an hotel in Kinsale as he tried to flick ash from a cigarette has sued for damages.
The hotel owners contend Jason Platt threw himself from the window of his guest room following a heated argument with his partner Christine McKenna while the couple were spending St Valentine's weekend in the Co Cork town.
Mr Platt (43), from Liverpool, and Ms McKenna were staying at the Old Bank House, Pearse Street, Kinsale at the time of the incident on February 15th, 2009.
In evidence to Mr Justice Bernard Barton, Mr Platt said he had opened the right side of the window and was smoking and "trying to blow smoke so no alarm would go off".
“I was leaning towards the window trying to flick cigarette ash away from our window when I lost my balance. All I remember is just going out the window,” he said. “I remember thinking, am I alive, or am I paralysed?”
Mr Platt landed on the pitched roof of a post office building below and it took some hours to free him before he was transferred by ambulance to hospital, the court heard. He suffered fractures to his spine, hip and thigh and several rib fractures.
Mr Platt has sued OBH Luxury Accommodation Ltd, with offices at Pearse Street, Kinsale, and company director Ciaran Fitzgerald as a result of the accident.
He alleges failure to provide him with a safe hotel room and to have appropriate restraining mechanisms or safety bars fitted to the hotel windows.
As a result of his injuries, Mr Platt has claimed he is unable to live independently and has to use crutches and a wheelchair.
The defendants deny the claims and contend Mr Platt threw himself from the window, was guilty of contributory negligence and failed to exercise care for his own safety.
In evidence, Mr Platt said he and Ms McKenna, who was not feeling well, went to a Chinese restaurant and he ordered food.
He said Ms McKenna went to the toilet and when she returned, she was not happy he was eating her soup and “was in a bit of a mood”.
Ms McKenna went back to the hotel before him, he said. He followed her later but realised he did not have a key to get in.
After being let into the hotel by staff, he said he was calling Ms McKenna outside the hotel door and then “shoulder banged it open”. Ms McKenna had been in the bathroom getting sick and he opened a window because the room was warm, he said.
Cross examined by John Lucey SC, for the defendants, Mr Platt said he was mostly housebound since the accident. He agreed he drove his car to collect marijuana and said that was because he was addicted to it and took it for pain. Marijuana was the only way to keep the pain down, he said.
The case continues on Tuesday.