Watch your step — 15 Comments

  1. there are too many snowflakes out there and too little common sense, happy the case was lost!

  2. What was she thinking, anyone taking part in sport or outside activity knows there is some amount of risk. How could you go hill walking and not know that you might slip and fall. It must be covered by the same laws which means you can’t sue someone for assault, if you are tackled in a match.

  3. While I think it was probably right she lost and I am not a fan of Generation Snowflake, it is important to read the newspaper article Granddad links to. This wasn’t a lady who went walking on a slippy mountainside in stilettos or half cut on bubbly. She suffered an injury because the walk way constructed for the use of the public was- in her opinion- ‘unsafe’, ie had holes, rotten joists etc. IF a landowner constructs such a walkway, even just out of the sheer goodness of his little heart, it has to be ‘safe’ to use, there is no argument in law about that (I assume that Ireland has ‘normal’ laws in this regard). How much the landowner has to upkeep inorder to maintain safety is something that , as in this case, tends to need clarification by the courts. Also a court has to decide where the ‘safe for use’ ends and where the ‘look-where-yer-fecking-going’ clause starts.

    SO perhaps we should not be too quick to judge little Miss “Waaaah I need COMPO!”. Obviously the first court thought she had a reasonable case.

    • I disagree [and I did read the article].  There has to a limit to the responsibility of the constructor, otherwise all construction would cease [as is pointed out in the article].  If a pathway of wooden sleepers is laid on bogland, it is reasonable to assume it will get wet and ultimately will rot.  If it is blatantly unsafe from the start then that’s a different matter.  If for example a rope bridge was constructed using inferior rope and if the bridge is marked as safe then there should be a case there, but people have to expect normal wear and tear.  I couldn’t tell you how many miles I have walked in the mountains [probably into the hundreds by now] and I use my common sense.  I take care where I place my feet, and if I slip, trip or fall then it’s my own fucking fault.  People are just too quick to go crying to the courts.

      • People are just too quick to go crying to the courts.

        Indeed, no disagreement from me on that point.

        but people have to expect normal wear and tear.

        Exactly. However what is ‘normal wear and tear’ is tricky to discern, what a walker might reasonably be expected to allow for etc . Of course the EU will probably come up with guidelines, with a ‘Definition’ of what Constitutes fair wear and tear on any bit of timber half buried in an Irish peat bog…how many holes and of what diameter per square meter of approved walking surface, how large any given area may be rotten (maybe they shouldn’t have banned creosote?) Unfortunately until they do, the courts will have to decide. Game Of Torts as so much in life is.

        I lived in the Dog Shit Capital of Norfolk, where the locals talk of ‘town bingo’ (‘eyes down or you’ll win a prize’). I have watched where I walked to the extent I have had a stiff neck and done further damage to my already unhappy nerve at C2. And yet, despite an unreasonably high level of care on my part , once or twice a year I would step in dog shit…usually cunningly hidden under more dog shit. I defy anyone to say I didn’t exercise ‘due care and attention’ (when you’ve had to scrub dog crap out of the wheels of a kiddies wheelchair most evenings of their childhood you get more than a little preoccupied -paranoid even-with not stepping in it yourself).  So I might believe that the Compo-lady had exercised a similar amount of caution, whether she did or not was a job for your fine Irish judges to decide.

        [as is pointed out in the article]

        Call me an old cynic but I can’t help wondering if that little piece of ‘politics’ didn’t play a much larger part in the Appeal courts thinking than questions of tort-ology ….indeed the article says that that was the reason the losers appealed in the first place I think (can’t be arsed to reread it again today)

        • The most obvious way is to erect signs – “At your own risk” – or whatever.  It’s sad that even those signs would be necessary as it is plain commonsense. 

          Incidentally, I know all about dog shit.  Our Penny, for reasons best known only to herself, thinks the front gravel is her own personal space.  Every so often I have a game of golf and sail the turds over the hedges and fences but I frequently discover I have walked shit into the house.

          • I have no idea about Irish law but I’ll wager that such ‘at own risk’ signs do not negate liabilty nor the ‘duty of care’ of those responsible for the contraption….for fairly obvious reasons. If they did then you can be sure there would be such signs along every road and pavement in the country…save the state a fortune in ‘minor’ road maintence…pot hole filling and the like.

            As some wit once remarked ‘common sense is not common’ and owners are legally required to take that fact into consideration. Same way your driving instructor (if you had one) will have, at some point, impressed upon you that you MUST drive on the premise that every other road user is not only an total idiot and a wanker but also a psychotic maniac whose dearest wish is to get himself and you killed. Or he, your driving instructor, took you for a lesson in Norfolk…which would have the same effect.

  4. The Compo Culture has gone too far in many countries and lawyers have gone smiling all the way to the bank.

    • One very simple way to cut down on claims is to stop lawyers advertising “no win, no fee”.  That’s an open invitation to any chancer to take a pop.

      • At the cost of not informing the poor that there is a way they might be able afford to advance their genuine claim and get justice against  some big powerful, lawyered-2-the-max corporation or government department? 

        I rather like the German solution (and I assume in other european nations too) that if at all possible you have a ‘Legal Protection’ insurance which, for pennies or rather cents amonth, will guarantee you access to a solictor/lawyer for any civil claim your insurers deem has a snowflake’s chance in Hull of success. Ok ,not an option for us genuinely poor peoples but for anyone in work, in even a Mc Job, certainly a good idea.

  5. What bothers me about the case isn’t that the lady in question sought compensation for something that was, in large part, her own fault but the amount of damages awarded to her in the first instance. 40K , even in that soviet monopoly money you Irish use, is a whole heap of change. Did she suffer irreparable damage to a bone ? Suffer thereafter with chronic pain? On crutches until her dying day?  If I recall the article correctly the accident merely dented her sporting social life (she couldn’t face going to the gym with a hideous bruise on her immaculate body?) ? Or was she a future Olympic hopeful ?

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