A woman who dislocated her thumb in an accident in a bar has been awarded a compensation settlement of €90,000 when the case was heard in Dublin’s High Court.
Sharon Kelly was attending a 30th birthday celebration in the Atc Café Bar on the Fonthill Road, Dublin on the 28th May 2011 when the accident occurred. As Ms Kelly – aged forty-four – was trying to cross the lobby to access the bathrooms, she slipped on some liquid and disclosed her thumb.
Ms Kelly’s injury resulted in a loss of sensation in her thumb, as well as affecting her ability to grip objects. Ms Kelly sought legal counsel and subsequently made a claim for her bar injury against Lackabeg Limited, who trade as the Arc Café Bar. The claim alleged that there was no proper monitoring system in place to ensure that there was no liquid on the floor, and this caused her injury.
Lackabeg Limited refused to admit any liability for Ms Kelly’s injury, and countered her claims by saying that Arc Café Bar used a comprehensive cleaning system to prevent such accidents. They argued that Ms Kelly had already been drinking for several hours that evening, and that combined with the high heels she was wearing actually caused her fall.
The Injuries Board told Ms Kelly that she could proceed to the courts with her injury claim, as liability was being contested. The case was subsequently heard in Dublin’s High Court, by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.
Judge Barr was told that there were two possible sources of the liquid on the ground: either a customer had spilled their drink or someone walked it out of the ladies’ toilet. Two other women testified to the substandard conditions in the ladies’ bathrooms that night confirmed that complaints had been made to the staff.
CCTV footage of the bar that night showed that there area was quite crowded as there was a two-for-one drinks promotion and a Champions League match being shown. Judge Barr confirmed his belief that there was liquid on the floor where Ms Kelly fell.
Before awarding Ms Kelly the €90,000 compensation, Judge Barr commented “People cannot be expected to look at the floor when walking across a bar. She was entitled to expect that the floor was dry and it was safe for her to walk across it.”