Pensioner awarded €40,000 for a fall on an escalator in Dublin Airport

On 2nd November 2011 Elizabeth Lavin lost her balance on an escalator in Dublin Airport when it juddered as she was using it. This caused her to fall forward over her luggage and hit her head on the metal stairs of the escalator.

Elizabeth LavinElizabeth was brought to Beaumont Hospital where she was treated for minor lacerations and a head injury. She then had to undergo orthopaedic treatment for the pains in her head, arm, hip and knee as she was unable to perform her everyday tasks.

An application was lodged with the Injuries Board but as the Airport Authority refused to accept liability and an authorisation was issued. Elizabeth sued the Dublin Airport Authority and her case was heard in front of Justice Michael Hanna in the High Court.

The Court heard how Elizabeth believed that the airport had failed in their duty of care towards her.

Dublin Airport argued that Elizabeth should have used the handrail and should have placed her luggage behind her and for that reason she was responsible for her own injuries.

Judge Hanna found that Elizabeth was not liable for her injuries however he did comment that Elizabeth could have enquired from a staff member to see if a lift was available had she been apprehensive about using the escalator. For that reason he reduced the proposed settlement of Dublin Airport Injury compensation from €60,000 to €40,000.

The above case clearly shows how the public are owed a duty of care. However they must at all times have regard for their own safety. Here we can see the Judge reduced the compensation for the plaintiff as she did not enquire from a staff member about a lift to the upper floor.

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