A man has had his award for damages in a case reduced by over €70,000 as a result of the High Court’s finding that he was 80% to blame for the accident occurring.
In the case of Powney v Bovale Constructions Ltd the plaintiff suffered serious injuries to his hand when he tried to enter an apartment complex while carrying an empty glass fish tank.
His friend was holding the door open for him as he entered the complex while holding the tank. However, his friend became distracted and let go of the door just as the man entered, at which point it slammed into the fish tank causing it to shatter in the man’s hands.
The injuries were serious, impairing the use of his hand and leaving him with a large scar. He was required to get surgery to restore some of its functionality.
The court heard evidence that the door had been broken for some time. The spring mechanism was faulty which resulted in it slamming shut when ajar.
However, the plaintiff was quite frank in his evidence that he was aware at the time that the door was faulty, having visited the apartment complex many times.
The court held that the plaintiff had chosen to carry out a dangerous manoeuvre by carrying the glass fish tank through a faulty door in circumstances where he was aware that there was a risk of injury. As such liability should be apportioned between both parties as they had both contributed towards the accident.
The court held that the management company was 20% to blame for the incident and Mr Powney 80% at fault.
The decision meant that Mr Powney only recouped 20% of the damages he had been awarded, leaving him with a little over €15,000 as compensation for his serious injuries.
Powney v Bovale Constructions Ltd  IEHC 441.