Posted: April 14th, 2016
A High Court judge has awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation to a waitress after expert testimony showed the jugs she was required to use were not fit for purpose.
The claim for compensation was made by Sophie Caillaud, aged forty-two, after she sustained a deep cut to her thumb when a jug she was using suddenly shattered in her hand. At the time of the accident, Sophie was working in the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, Co. Leitrim.
Sophie was brought to hospital and surgery was carried out to try and heal any soft-tissue damage she had sustained. However, since the accident Sophie has not regained full strength in the digit and this has negatively affected her ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
After seeking legal counsel, Sophie made a claim for her work accident compensation against Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd, the suppliers and manufacturers of the jugs.
The two defendants disputed the claim for compensation made by Sophie, alleging that the amount being requested was too high for the type of injury sustained. The also argued that Sophie had acted negligently, and contributed to the accident herself.
Negotiations did not yield any results, and after interventions from the Injuries Board failed, the case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross was informed of previous injuries sustained by hotel staff because of the same type of glass jug that had injured Sophie.
An expert witness also gave testimony at the hearing of how rapid heating and cooling of the jugs – as they would experience in a dishwasher – would have weakened the joint between the jug’s thick handle and comparatively thin body. The expert concluded that the jugs did pose a risk and were, as such, unfit for purpose.
After Sophie gave her testimony, Judge Cross dismissed any allegations made by the defendants of her contributory negligence, as well as allegations made that she had exaggerated the extent of her injuries. After commenting that he had found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, he awarded her €500,000 in compensation.
Categories: Work Accident