Woman who suffered brain damage after being trapped in gate awarded €8m
Posted on 24th February 2022 at 22:27
Plaintiff, who is in her 40s, now uses a wheelchair after incident six years ago
A woman who suffered brain damage after she was crushed by an electric gate has settled a High Court action for €8 million.
The woman, who is in her 40s and now uses a wheelchair as a result of the incident six years ago, cannot be identified by the order of the court.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told she became trapped in the large moving electric entrance gate at her workplace.
Her counsel John Finlay SC, with Oonah Mc Crann SC, told the High Court the woman was discovered “caught up in the gate” by another employee who was exiting the factory premises.
Mr Finlay said the motor of the gate was “still running.”
He said it was their case that the key switch that opened the gate was defective and the gate should have stopped. Counsel said the large metal gate electronically moved across the entire entrance space and a key was used to operate it.
Prior to the incident, the woman had been a runner who had completed marathons, he said. She was now using a wheelchair and had limited mobility. Counsel said she suffered brain damage and had to be revived at the scene.
He said her brain injury has affected her cognitive ability and her vision and she also suffered orthopaedic injuries and had to have six operations. He said she has no recall of the incident due to the severity of her injuries.
Referring to the allegation by the other side of contributory negligence on the woman’s part, counsel said there was “an inference” that she had put her hand through the bars of the gate and operated the key. He said it has to be accepted that at some stage before the incident this is what she was doing, but the woman does not accept she was in any way responsible.
She had through her husband sued her former employer. It was claimed there was a failure to properly maintain the operating system of the gate and in particular a failure to replace an alleged defective key switch. There was a further alleged failure to fit the gate with a safety feature to limit the force applied by the gate on an entrapped person.
The company admitted negligence and breach of duty, but it also alleged contributory negligence on the part of the woman and claimed she had placed her hands through the tubular bar uprights of the electric gate when it was operating when she knew or ought to have known that this was fraught with risk.
It further claimed that the woman was operating a mobile phone at the time and she allegedly failed to give adequate thought to the action she was undertaking.
Counsel told the court the company involved later pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Health and Safety Act. A fine of €16,000 fine was imposed by the District Court judge who was told the gate was later replaced.
Approving the settlement Mr Justice Coffey said it was a fair and reasonable one and he wished the woman and her family the very best for the future.
Share this post: