| 1°C Dublin

Woman in boat fall case settles damages claim

A WOMAN who claimed she tripped over an uneven carpet on some stairs in a river cruiser and fractured her wrist has settled a High Court action for damages.

Irene Flood (48), who works as a company secretary, said she looked at the carpet after her fall and claimed there was "a kink in it".

She was seven days into a 10-day cruising holiday with her partner and his two children on the Shannon when the accident occurred.

Ms Flood, of Kilinerin, Gorey, Co Wexford, sued Silverline Cruisers Ltd of Main Street, Banagher, Co Offaly, as a result of the alleged incident on July 10, 2010 as she went down the stairs to go to the toilet.

She said Silverline provided a boat for hire that was dangerous and unsafe. She alleged it had a loose and uneven carpet which presented a tripping hazard.

Silverline denied the claims, and its counsel said the company did not accept that Ms Flood fell down the steps.

It was also contended that the carpet was industrial standard and there was nothing dangerous or wrong with it.

The company said that if Ms Flood fell, there was contributory negligence on her part as the boat was liable to have been in motion at the time.

After Ms Flood gave her evidence, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was asked to allow the parties time to talk and he was later told the matter had been settled and could be struck out.

Ms Flood had told the court that her group had picked up the eight-berth cruiser in Banagher and they were instructed on how to use it.

"The first couple of days there was no difficulty," she said.

On the morning of the accident, she said they decided to pull out of Portumna and her partner and his children went on to the quay to release the ropes.

She remained below tidying up and decided to go to the toilet which was down three steps.


"I tripped on the carpet and fell down the steps," she said. "I was lucky I was wearing my lifejacket because it protected me. I was nearly passing out with pain."

Ms Flood said she put out her hand to break her fall and hurt her left wrist.

The previous night, she said, the group had had a problem with the carpet in the boat's dining area which crumpled up.

Under cross-examination, Ms Flood agreed she had received €25,000 for a foot injury in 2005 and €29,000 for a soft tissue injury to her left wrist in 2008 after a hotel fall.

She agreed she still had problems with her left wrist at the time of the 2010 accident.