Contractor settles case for €1 million after fall through farm shed roof
Posted on 3rd November 2022 at 22:24
The case was settled on the basis that contractor John Callinane was 85 per cent responsible for the accident
A contractor who sustained a traumatic brain injury when he fell through the roof of a farm building has settled his High Court action for €1 million.
John Cullinane (45), of Leperstown, Dunmore East, Co Waterford, suffered a devastating injury when he fell from the roof of a sow shed in Waterford seven years ago.
The father-of-four’s case against the farm owner was settled on the basis that Mr Cullinane was 85 per cent responsible for the accident, as he had walked across the roof.
His counsel, Liam Reidy SC, told the court that Mr Cullinane was tasked with replacing acrylic sheeting on the shed roof. “The inevitable happened”, as Mr Cullinane walked across the roof rather than using a roof ladder.
Counsel said he fell to the ground through a perspex sheet.
Mr Cullinane had through his wife, Catherine Cullinane, sued farmer Patrick Gough, of Passage East, Co Waterford. as a result of the accident on Mr Gough’s farm on September 10th, 2015.
It was claimed Mr Cullinane inadvertently went on a roof light that gave way. There was a further allegation that there had been a failure to provide him with a safe place of work and that the roof surface was in an unsafe condition.
There was an alleged failure to take adequate steps to distinguish between the roof lights and other permanent elements of the roof structure. The action also alleged the condition of the roof had deteriorated to the point it became difficult or impossible to distinguish between the various elements of its structure.
The claims were denied, and it was contended that Mr Cullinane, who traded as John Cullinane Plant and Agri Hire, was engaged as a self-employed independent contractor. It was claimed he was hired as a specialist and was responsible for all aspects of the work that was to be carried out, including any appropriate safety procedures required.
Counsel said the €1 million offer was settled Mr Cullinane’s case and that of his wife, who had sued for nervous shock over the accident.
Mr Reidy said Mr Cullinane faced problems in relation to liability and he had chosen to walk across the roof and was the experienced person on site.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said Mr Cullinane had undoubtedly suffered a devastating injury that had far-reaching consequences for him and his family.
The judge said he was satisfied Mr Cullinane would be confronted with an overwhelming difficulty in establishing liability in the case.
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