Woman loses claim over accident on cycle lane kerbing

Judge describes incident as a ‘simple, unfortunate accident’

Elizabeth Murdock sued Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council over the accident outside the Stillorgan Park Hotel on October 8th, 2013.

Elizabeth Murdock sued Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council over the accident outside the Stillorgan Park Hotel on October 8th, 2013.

 

A woman who injured her ankle as she crossed a cycle lane to get into a taxi has lost her High Court claim for damages in what a judge said was a “simple unfortunate accident”.

Elizabeth Murdock (57), a medical secretary of Roebuck Drive, Clonskeagh, Dublin, claimed a kerb beside the cycle path was defective.

But Mr Justice Michael Hanna said the evidence persuaded him she had not taken account of the fact that the level of the surface she was walking on had changed.

“It was an unfortunate accident that could happen to anyone in a moment of inadvertence and that does not give rise to a liability,” he said. He was satisfied she was concentrating on getting into the taxi at the time after a friend she was with had just got in without incident.

Ms Murdock sued Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council over the accident outside the Stillorgan Park Hotel on October 8th, 2013. The cycle path was just outside the hotel entrance.

She also sued the hotel but during the proceedings the judge said it was agreed the hotel should have no further involvement pending applications in relation to costs.

Ms Murdock claimed she suffered an avulsion fracture of her left ankle when she stumbled and fell due to the condition of kerbing. The claim was denied.

Ms Murdock, a mother of two, claimed there was a “sudden drop” in a place she expected the ground to be firm, the judge said.

She claimed the council was negligent in, among other things, failing to ensure a tripping hazard was not created on the footpath and failing to warn of the danger posed by the defective footpath.

Mr Justice Hanna said Ms Murdock got into the taxi and it drove off.

The judge said it was impossible to know when her recollection and the theory of what happened “merged into one”.

He was sure she had observed the kerbing but less sure she had observed the drop (from the kerb). He believed her observation after the event had become blurred.

She did not immediately go to her doctor but got a pair of crutches to assist her. She later required surgery for ruptured tendons associated with an ankle injury.

Before giving his judgment, the judge said both parties in the case had genuine concerns and he gave them 15 minutes to try to resolve their differences so the judgment would not have to be given. When the case resumed, he was told there had been no resolution. He adjourned the question of costs to January.