Judge reduces award of compensation for a slip and fall injury at work

July 20th , 2017

A High Court judge has reduced an award of compensation for a slip and fall injury at work to account for the injured employee´s contributory negligence.

On 3rd February 2010, the employee – a former maintenance worker at the Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary – was working at the now decommissioned plant when he slipped and fell on a path due to sewerage overflowing from the flumes surrounding the inlet channels.

As a result of his accident, the employee suffered frequent headaches and sustained a back injury that prevented him from returning to his job. He applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a slip and fall injury at work, but consent to assess the claim was denied by the Templemore Town Council.

The employee was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue his claim in court. A hearing to determine liability and assess damages took place last week at the High Court, where Mr Justice Raymond Fullam heard that the employee worked alone at the time of the accident, and that no safe system of work had been implemented by the council.

The council defended the claim for compensation for a slip and fall injury at work by arguing one of the employee´s duties was to keep the paths clear of hazards and, if he needed additional tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them. The council contested that the employee´s accident had occurred due to his own lack of care.

Judge Fullam agreed that the employee should take some responsibility for his accident, however he accepted the employee´s evidence that a lot of the time there was an issue with the pumps and he did not have time to clean the paths on a regular basis. Judge Fullam also acknowledged that flumes surrounding the inlet channels were in a bad state on the day of the accident.

The judge said that he would have awarded the plaintiff €79,000 compensation for a slip and fall accident at work, however he was reducing the award by 40% to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence. The adjusted settlement of the claim consequently amounted to €47,400.

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