A 72-year-old pensioner, who suffered a broken nose in a fall, was afraid to socialise because she felt her two black eyes made her “fearsome looking,” a judge has been told.
Judge James McCourt, awarding Teresa Ruddy €30,000 damages against Eircom, said in the Circuit Civil Court she had suffered nasty facial injuries which, even after they had healed, had caused her difficulty when blowing her nose.
Barrister Kevin Callan, who appeared with Padraig Ferry of Ferry’s Solicitors for Ms Ruddy, told Judge McCourt she had been walking on a footpath near her Terenure home when she tripped on the exposed lip of a steel cover on a phone chamber.
Eircom, which trades as Eir, and Dublin City Council had both been sued by Ms Ruddy in a €60,000 personal injuries claim.
Judge McCourt told barrister John Doherty, who appeared with law agent Berni Fleming on behalf of the council, that he was dismissing the claim against the local authority with an order for costs in the council’s favour.
“It is obviously clear from the evidence that this accident would not have happened in the manner described if the lid on the chamber had been properly fitted in place,” Judge McCourt said.
He said it was raised above its housing and concrete surround and Ms Ruddy, of Cremorne, Greenmount Road, Terenure, Dublin 6, had been caused to trip and fall straight forward onto the footpath.
Holding Eircom fully responsible for the accident, Judge McCourt said Ms Ruddy had suffered nasty facial injuries including a fracture of her nose and, from a photograph he had seen, two black eyes.
The damages award and full costs of the action were ordered against Eircom.
Ms Ruddy, who was 67 at the time of the accident in November 2017, said she had fallen face down and had to have paper stitches placed on her nose in hospital.
Mr Cliff Beirne, consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon who treated her at his facial injuries clinic, said in a report there fortunately had been no requirement, cosmetically or functionally, for surgical intervention.
Judge McCourt heard there had been much stress, trauma, pain, discomfort and anxiety caused to Ms Ruddy, particularly over the pre- and post-Christmas period in 2017.