Thursday 14 December 2017

Hotel guest loses €60k claim over ceiling KO

Hairdresser Julie Dowson
Hairdresser Julie Dowson

A woman who "walked into the ceiling" of her hotel room and knocked herself out has lost a €60,000 damages claim against the Ashling Hotel in Dublin.

Julie Dowson, of Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, northeast England, told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that when she hit the low slanting ceiling she was knocked unconscious.

Ms Dowson, a part-time hairdresser, said she had visited Dublin in October 2013 to celebrate her daughter's birthday and had booked into a dormer-type room on the top floor of the Ashling.

She said she was preparing to go down for breakfast with her husband and walked towards a locker to pick up her handbag.


"I just banged my head and I was knocked out," Ms Dowson told the court.

She said her husband had tried to talk to her after she recovered consciousness.

"I was feeling numb and thought I was paralysed. I remember saying, 'I can't feel my body'," she said.

She told the court she was taken by ambulance to the Mater Hospital and was released that afternoon. She said she decided to make the best of the family break and later went out for walks around Dublin.

Ms Dowson told barrister Adrianne Fields, for the hotel, that when she returned home she went to see her own doctor and a specialist. She had claimed more than €5,000 for loss of earnings as a result of her injuries.

She said she had not seen the dormer part of the alcove ceiling as it was all the same colour.

Ms Dowson said that, before the accident, she had suffered from pain in her neck, right arm and her shoulders, but it had become much worse since.

Ms Fields said Ms Dowson had not provided any medical reports from her doctors that would show evidence of her injuries being directly related to having walked into the ceiling.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane, in dismissing Ms Dowson's claim, said the low clearance of the ceiling was plain to see from photos provided to the court.

"It seems Ms Dowson wasn't looking where she was going and possibly was rushing to retrieve her bag as her husband was waiting," the judge said.

Costs were awarded against Ms Dowson.

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