Woman to Receive Compensation for Soft Tissue Knee Injury at Work
A kitchen assistant who was formally employed by Dunnes Stores in Clonmel has been awarded compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work.
29- year-old Dorota Michalowska from Clonmel in County Tipperary had been clearing tables in the canteen of her local Dunnes Store, when – on 14 July 2011 – as she was returning to the kitchen with a trolley stacked up dirty dishes, she slipped on a frozen chip that had fallen to the floor and fell heavily – suffering a soft tissue knee injury.
Dorota´s injury was so severe that she was immobilised for six months and unable to work for a further three months. After undergoing physical therapy to ease the pain in her knee, Dorota took legal advice from a solicitor and made a claim for compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work against her employers – Dunnes Stores – alleging that the company had not provided her with a safe environment in which to work.
Dunnes Stores contested Dorota´s claim for a soft tissue injury at work, and denied its responsibility for her slip and fall accident – arguing that she had been preparing food in the kitchen throughout the day and she was most likely the author of her own misfortune as it was most likely that she had dropped the frozen chip on the floor and failed to notice the hazard,
Dorota´s compensation claim for a soft tissue knee injury at work proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. After hearing evidence from both parties, Judge Irvine found in Dorota´s favour on the grounds that, if Dorota had dropped the frozen chip herself – and then performed a circuit of the canteen to clear away the dirty dishes – the chip on the floor would have defrosted and no longer have been frozen by the time Dorota slipped on it and sustained her injury.
The judge commented in her summing up that two other employees were working in the canteen on the day of Dorota´s accident, and that “on the balance of probabilities” it was likely that one of Dorota´s co-workers had dropped the frozen chip, and either neglected to pick it up or not seen the hazard at all. Judge Irvine ruled that Dunnes Stores were therefore the liable party in Dorota claim due to the negligence of its employees.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine awarded Dorota €82,750 compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work – a sum which included €20,000 for future pain and suffering, as the judge believed there would be a strong likelihood of Dorota suffering from arthritis as she grew older.