An Aer Lingus pilot who suffered a finger crush injury when a door slammed against him in high winds while he was on an air bridge has been awarded €30,600 in damages against his employer and the operator of Dublin Airport, the daa.
Judge James McCourt told Captain Simon Moody in the Circuit Civil Court on Wednesday that he was 50 per cent responsible for the accident and reduced the award to €15,300 and costs, telling both defendants they could equally share the pay-out.
Barrister Pat O’Brien, counsel for the transatlantic pilot, told the court that Captain Moody had just finished inspecting the exterior of his aircraft prior to take-off when a gust of wind propelled him through the doorway of the air bridge and slammed the security door against his right index finger.
Mr O’Brien, who appeared with Frances E Barron Solicitors, said Captain Moody had been taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital where x-rays revealed his finger had been fractured. He was subsequently out of work for three months and had sued for €38,000 compensation, including €8,600 special damages for loss of earnings.
Barristers Fred Gilligan, for Aer Lingus, and Shane English, for the daa, cross-examined Capt Moody and his forensic engineer, Alan Conlan, as to liability for the January 2012 incident under the €38,000 pre-existing Circuit Court jurisdiction.
Captain Moody, of Blackwood Lawn, Ongar, Dublin 15, said there had been high wind gusts as he was passing from a ramp through the air bridge and the door had slammed shut on his finger.
He said there had been a previous incident involving the same door in high winds, but he had received no warning from either defendant with regard to potential safety issues. He said the door had been fitted with a door closer but nevertheless had slammed shut on him, claiming it had been somehow defective.
Mr Conlan told the court the speed of closure of the door could be adjusted on the closing mechanism but he was unaware of the speed setting on the day of the accident or if it had been appropriately set.
Judge McCourt said Captain Moody had fortunately made a full recovery. The court had no evidence of any particular defect in the door and Captain Moody had a duty to look out for his own safety.
The judge said all parties were at high-risk in the case, and he did not believe Captain Moody could escape taking some proportion of responsibility for what had transpired.
He awarded Captain Moody €22,000 in damages, with €8,600 special damages, but reduced the overall award to €15,300.