A judge has awarded a woman €56,250 compensation for a hotel slip and fall injury after reducing the award by 25 percent to account for her own lack of care.
The claim for compensation for a hotel slip and fall injury was made by a businesswoman from Kinsale in County Cork, who had been staying at the Herbert Park Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin, in August 2014. The woman had been attending the Dublin Horse Show at the RDS and, on the final day on the show, decided to leave early as it was raining and she had a long drive home.
However, as she tried to drive her car out of the hotel car park, the barrier failed to raise. The woman rushed back into the hotel lobby through the emergency doors to check with reception whether her parking ticket had been validated. However, as entered the reception area, she slipped on the wet floor and fell – sustaining a triple fracture of her left ankle.
The woman was taken by ambulance to St Vincent´s Hospital by ambulance, where she underwent surgery to set her ankle. The ankle was protected with a plaster cast when the woman was discharged, but she cannot now walk long distances without experiencing pain, and is more likely to develop arthritis in the fractured ankle on the years to come.
The woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a hotel slip and fall injury, but the two alleged negligent parties – the Herbert Park Hotel and its management company Sheelin McSharry (Ballsbridge) Ltd – declined to consent to an assessment being conducted. The woman was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.
At the hearing at the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Judge Groarke was told that the hotel floor was usually well maintained, but became slippery when guests walked over it with moisture on their shoes. An expert witness for the plaintiff testified there was no mat placed by the emergency doors to absorb any moisture and that a mat placed there would have prevented the accident from happening.
The Herbert Park Hotel and Sheelin McSharry (Ballsbridge) Ltd argued that, had the injured guest used the main hotel doors as she was supposed to, the accident would not have happened because the floor in that area was protected from moisture with a mat. They also alleged that she contributed to her accident and injury by rushing and not paying proper attention to her environment.
Ultimately Judge Groarke found in the woman´s favour. He said this was an accident waiting to happen and that the plaintiff had sustained “a very nasty and extremely serious injury”. The judge also agreed that the plaintiff had displayed an element of contributory negligence and, after initially awarding the woman €75,000 compensation for a hotel slip and fall injury, he reduced the award by 25 percent to account for her own lack of care.