In September 2011, the jogger tripped who was running in Clondalkin, Dublin. As he turned into a caravan site, he tripped on a hole in the surface of a footpath. He fell to the ground, and as he put his hands up to protect himself, he fractured a knuckle on his right hand. He subsequently had to undergo surgery for and has since been left with a scar.
The man sought legal counsel, and as the caravan site is owned and managed by South Dublin County Council, he claimed compensation for a trip and fall injury on council land. The council disputed liability and argued the man-who also participated in boxing matches–had injured his knuckle in a fight.
The case went to the High Court due to the disagreement over liability. It was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr. During the hearing, it was disclosed that the man had been involved in a car accident the previous day in which he had suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck and back.
The defendants used this information to express doubts that the man would have gone jogging the day after an accident. They repeated their suspicion that the injury had been sustained in a boxing match, and was not a result of the fall on their land. However, a medical witness testified that the man was just trying to run off his soft tissue injury.
The judge accepted this evidence, and concluded this was a “credible explanation” for why the man had been jogging on the morning after a car accident. The judge awarded him €55,000 compensation for a trip and fall injury on council land. The judge had increased the award by €5,000 to account for the aggressive manner in which the council had pursued their argument the claim was fraudulent.
Judge Barr said in his closing remarks that the evidence suggested the plaintiff was injured in the manner in which he had claimed, on account of the evidence provided by the medical expect. He added there was no credible reason to suggest the jogger was making a fraudulent claim, and further stated that the jogger was entitled to the additional compensation for the upset caused to him by the nature of the unsuccessful defence put forward by South Dublin County Council.