Woman awarded €28,000 damages after falling off toilet

Isabela O’Sullivan startled by falling tile in her Co Dublin home

Photograph: Getty Images

Photograph: Getty Images


A 61-year-old carer, who was injured when she fell off the toilet of her Shankill, Co Dublin, home, has been awarded almost €28,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane said Isabela O’Sullivan got such a fright from a falling tile as she sat on the toilet that she had fallen forward, injuring her right knee.

Barrister William Martin Smith told the court Ms O’Sullivan , only weeks before the September 2011 accident, had her bathroom re-tiled following a fire at her house in Rathsallagh Grove, Shankill.

She sued contractor Neil Kelly, of Old Road, Monasterboice, Drogheda, Co Louth, who had been hired by her insurance company to carry out remedial work to her home.

Mr Kelly, who had employed a tiler to do the work, denied liability for alleged negligence or that the work had not been done properly.

Judge Linnane said Mr Kelly believed Ms O’Sullivan’s claim was a fraudulent one and that she had prised the tile off the wall because she wanted different tiles after discovering that not enough tiles had been ordered to cover the bathroom walls.

Mr Martin Smith said Ms O’Sullivan had gone to the bathroom on September 8th, 2011. As she sat on the toilet she had noticed a flashing shadow of the tile as it fell from the top row. The fright had caused her to fall forward off the toilet seat. He said she had lain on the floor for several minutes before managing to call one of her friends.

Ms O’Sullivan said she had needed to attend her GP several times, complaining of ongoing pain in her knee. She had undergone physiotherapy sessions and her GP had referred her to a specialist as the pain had been persistent.

Mr Martin Smith told the court X-rays had revealed Ms O’Sullivan had an underlying degenerative condition in her knee. He said she was no longer able to go for long walks as she used to.

Forensic engineer Barry Tennyson told the judge the tile had fallen because of “poor workmanship” and the possibility that improper adhesive had been applied to it.

The court heard the 60cm by 33cm (24” by 13”) tile, weighing 3kg (6.6 lbs) had broken the toilet seat when it fell.

Judge Linnane said she accepted Ms O’Sullivan’s account of what had happened.

Awarding her €25,000 damages for pain and suffering, along with €2,500 for replacing all of the tiles, and expenses of €350, the judge said Ms O’Sullivan’s degenerative condition had not troubled her prior to her fall.