Litigation Bulletin – March 2017

Facts :

Mr. Hyland sued Lamosa Limited in Dublin Circuit Court claiming that he had fallen from a ladder and injured his neck, ribs and back. He claimed that his employer Lamosa Limited T/A Extraspace was guilty of negligence.

The Defendant contended that the accident occurred as the ladder had been improperly positioned by Mr. Hyland who had received ‘on the job’ training.

The Plaintiff claimed that in June 2013, while standing on the ladder it moved because of a loose hinge and as a result thereof, the Plaintiff fell heavily to the ground injuring himself. Soon after the accident the Defendant had terminated his employment as he was unable to work and he became depressed and lost interest in any fitness and other daily activities that he was used to.

Decision :

President of the Circuit Court indicated that the ladder had fallen for one of either two reasons as follows:-

1: The ladder in question was defective or

2: Mr. Hyland has positioned it incorrectly rendering it unsteady and unsafe.

Judge Groarke found that “on balance of probabilities that this ladder was not defective and was placed in a position that had meant it had not been properly footed”.

The court was of the view that Mr. Hyland would have been well aware of the precautions that should have been taken when the ladder was being positioned and set up. The Court found that the accident occurred due to Mr. Hyland’s lack of regard for the positioning of the ladder correctly to ensure his own safety. The Court held Mr. Hyland was 100% responsible for the accident. The claim was dismissed, the Court noted that the Plaintiff “should have known better than to do what he did and the accident was as a result of his own misfortune”. The court made no order in relation to costs.

Summary :

This is a further example of the courts tightening views in relation to claims and the requirement that the Plaintiff proves negligence. It is a welcome departure for Insurers who will have found, particularly employer’s liability cases, very difficult to defend over the last number of years. It is a welcome decision and demonstrates the changing tide in the personal injury claims market that is occurring in Ireland.