herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Walker tells court fall left her 'black and blue'

Teresa Wall was awarded €40,000 following her accident
Teresa Wall was awarded €40,000 following her accident

A woman with 40 years' hill walking experience says she was "black and blue on her right side" after gashing her knee on a nail in a fall on a rotting boardwalk on the Wicklow Way.

Teresa Wall (60) was awarded €40,000 by the circuit court over the accident on the popular walking trail in 2013.

The award was against the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which has brought an appeal in the High Court over the case.

Ms Wall, from Rathingle Cottages, Swords, told the appeal her injuries were such that, after lying on the ground at the scene for about half an hour, her husband Damien had to "piggyback" her down the mountain. He was unable to get a mobile phone signal to call for help.

She said her foot had snagged in a hole in one of the old railway sleepers that made up a boardwalk just below the JB Malone Memorial on the Sally Gap to Djouce trail. She was in significant pain, she said.

Ms Wall told her counsel, Louis McEntagart, the accident occurred at around 4pm on August 6, 2013, when she and her husband had been coming down the mountain after a long walk on the boardwalk, which had been placed by the NPWS.

Stitches

She said she suffered a gash to her right knee that required seven stitches. She and her husband had been active hill walkers in Ireland and abroad but, because of the injuries to her knee, she was now only able to walk on flat terrain.

She had also enjoyed running and had trained to do the Dublin Marathon in October 2013 but was unable to run anymore.

Under cross-examination by Brian Murray, for the NPWS, Ms Wall said she had 40 years' hill walking experience and had been looking where she was going when she fell.

In her action, she claimed the defendant permitted a defect to be present in the boardwalk where the timber had rotted, creating a tripping hazard, which left it in an unsafe condition and created a public nuisance. The claims are denied.

The NPWS claims Ms Wall contributed to her injuries by not looking where she was going and was the author of her own misfortune. She had participated in an activity known to have risks and the NPWS added it was not responsible for anything that may have happened to her.

The NPWS appeal opened before Mr Justice Michael White yesterday. Mr Justice White ruled the defence can call three expert witnesses who did not give evidence when the matter was heard by the circuit court.

The hearing continues.

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