Woman loses claim for damages against council for pavement slip injuries – The Irish Times

A woman has lost her damages claim against a local authority for slipping and falling on a pavement which caused injuries to her head, wrist and shoulder.

Ms Justice Nuala Jackson said Breda Long was a “most honest witness” but Tipperary County Council could not be held responsible for creating a danger.

While there were wet leaves on the footpath on November 16th, 2018, the judge said there was no evidence of water or silt “ponding” in the area as alleged.

“Unfortunately, accidents happen and sometimes with serious consequences. This is such an occasion,” the judge said.

In her recent judgment, Ms Justice Jackson said Ms Long, of Ballyanny, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, was walking her pets when she slipped or tripped and fell out into the road.

An ambulance brought her to hospital, where she remained as an in-patient for five days. Her head injury was not serious, although it left scarring, while her wrist has largely recovered, the judge said. Ms Long’s shoulder injury has persisted and her movement in the joint continues to be restricted.

Works were carried out on the pavement in 2019, so the only evidence about its condition on the date of the accident was a Google photograph from 2009. The 2009 photo supported Ms Long’s contention that there was a slope on the path, the judge said.

Ms Long alleged the council “failed to properly design and/or repair the footpath thereby allowing water and leaves to accumulate and present a danger to pedestrians”.

The council said the path was there for 50 years and repair is perfectly normal. The slope on the footpath, which facilitates buggies and wheelchairs, was an acceptable design, the council argued.

The judge said it was clear the council constructed the path in a way that causes water to flow to the point where it meets the road. However, she could not find that the council created a danger.

On the evidence before the court, this is a “clear case of non-feasance rather than misfeasance”, Ms Jackson said.

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