‘Fit young lady’ who fell in Dunnes Stores awarded €64k damages
The Irish Times – July 1, 2016
Rachel Prior (32), a singer known by her stage name of ‘Rachy P’, sued Dunnes over injuries she sustained after she slipped and fell to the ground on December 6, 2008, when she was shopping at its outlet in Henry Street, Limerick.
She claimed her feet shot out from under her and she fell forcefully onto her back after she came into contact with milk or cream on the floor surface in the vicinity of the diary fridge. She claimed she suffered immediate pain.
The court heard Ms Prior, of Woodlawn, Brickhill West, Cratloe, Co Clare,suffered pain in her neck and lower back and other injuries as a result of the accident.
Dunnes denied the claims.
During the case, the supermarket’s lawyers said Ms Prior’s social media posts, including images showing her holding bowling balls and punching a virtual reality boxing machine, showed she was not suffering from any significant disability.
Mr Justice Anthony Barr said Ms Prior had established negligence.
He accepted expert evidence on her behalf that the floor where the accident occurred is shiny and a spillage would not have been readily visible to a person walking down the aisle.
The judge found no contributory negligence by Ms Prior, who he said, was a truthful witness.
While some of her injuries have resolved, she will continue to have lower back pain in the future, he said.
He noted Ms Prior accepted that since the accident she did high energy dance routines as part of her musical performances and other activities, some of which were posted on social media.
Ms Prior said despite her injuries she had tried to get on with her life, but “would pay for her activities in the days after a gig.”
The judge said it appeared she will be able to pursue a singing career which involves energetic dance moves.
Noting the online postings, he said she is able to pursue fairly active sporting and recreation activities. It is clear she is “a fit young lady”.
She will, the judge said, have to adopt her lifestyle to take account of her condition.
She had “not attempted to overstate her injuries,” and “was genuine in her complaints,” he said.
The judge agreed to place a stay on the €64,300 award in the event of an appeal provided €30,000 was paid to Ms Prior plus another €20,000 towards her legal costs.
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