Court overturns decision to award hillwalker €40,000

The judge found there was a "high degree of negligence” on her part

Court overturns decision to award hillwalker €40,000

File photo

The High Court have overturned the decision to award a hillwalker €40,000 for the injuries she suffered when she tripped and fell on the Wicklow Way.

Teresa Wall claimed that she tripped and fell after her foot got stuck in a hole in one of the old railway sleepers that made up a boardwalk.

She sued the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NWPS), who placed the boardwalk on the lands.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane originally ruled in her favour saying that she found the NWPS was negligent and ordered them to pay Ms Wall €40,000 in damages.

That decision has now been overturned as Mr Justice Michael White said he was satisfied to dismiss the damages claim by Teresa Wall.

Speaking about the ruling Mr Justice White said that Ms Wall is a "genuine person" who suffered injuries that had greatly affected her "active lifestyle". 

He said however, when you consider "the mechanism of her fall" he found there was a "high degree of negligence” on her part in that “she was not looking at the surface of the boardwalk when she fell."

Excessive pay-outs

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (ISME) Association have since welcomed the High Court's decision to overturn the ruling saying that it's "welcome and prudent".

CEO of ISME Neil McDonnell said "The decision made previously by the Circuit Court to award €40,000 in damages was unreasoned and one that only exacerbates the issues facing the insurance industry today with excessive pay-outs.

"The original ruling by the Circuit Court was one that should never have been made. The decision if upheld by the High Court would have had major implications and consequences for Ireland's national parks and in that respect ISME is delighted with today's ruling."