Mr John Reilly (49) sued Fallon and Byrne Ltd, Exchequer Street, Dublin as a result of a fall on their premises on 19th February 2011. Mr Reilly claimed he fell on the stairs of the restaurant, suffering two fractures to his left foot after coming in from a cigarette break and returning to the first floor. John Reilly claimed that the company failed to provide any grip on the steps of the stairs leading to the restaurant and that the steps were wet. He said that he fell forward and his left foot got caught in the gap between the steps, he claimed that the steps were damp, wet and slippy and that was the basis of his claim.
Fallon and Byrne Ltd denied all claims, including that the stairs were wet. They claimed that it was Mr Reilly’s own misjudgement that caused the fall. They argued that John had been outside for a cigarette on several occasion previously and was able to negotiate the stairs without injury each time. They claimed that is was Mr Reilly’s cavalier attitude that caused the accident.
Judge Moriarty found in John Reilly’s favour, but found him to be one third liable for his accident as he bound/ skipped up two steps at a time half way up the stairs.
The parties agreed that if Mr Reilly was fully successful on liability, damages would have been calculated at €51,375. Taking into account the contributory negligence, Mr Reilly was awarded €35,250.
Awarding Mr Reilly €35,250 Judge Moriarty said that he was satisfied the stairs leading to the restaurant did constitute a danger or potential danger in what was at the time very bad weather but that there must also be a finding of contributory negligence.
Many of these cases depend on engineering evidence. When an accident such as the abovementioned occurs we instruct our engineer to visit the premises so that he can advise us on whether or not the defendants have been negligent.
In some circumstances the defendants may refuse to grant access to our Engineer and in that event we would proceed by way of motion to compel the defendant to grant access.
If the locus of the accident is not in compliance with the relevant legislation and this failure has given rise to the accident then the plaintiff will have a stateable case.
However he must have regard for his own safety and if the court is satisfied that he did not have adequate regard then they may award contributory negligence against him as they did in this case.
TIERNAN & CO SOLICITORS IS A MEMBER OF THE DUBLIN SOLICITORS BAR ASSOCIATION AND THE LAW SOCIETY OF IRELAND