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Saturday 16 November 2019

Woman who fell off a bench at school 13 years ago loses her court claim for damages

Ms Gregan was ‘honest’
Ms Gregan was ‘honest’

A 22-year-old woman who tumbled over a bench and fractured her arm at school has lost her High Court action for damages.

Kellie Gregan, of Crescent Gardens, East Wall, Dublin, had claimed the accident 13 years ago left her mostly wearing long-sleeved clothes because of three scars on her arm.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the then-nine-year-old suffered a nasty injury which he said occurred when the girl fell over a bench while playing bench ball.

He described the young woman as a "most truthful and honest" witness but had not established that it was unreasonable for the school not to have mats on the floor.

Dismissing the claim and ordering that each side pay their own costs, the judge said Ms Gregan was a most honourable witness who had not in any way exaggerated her injuries.

Accident

Ms Gregan was in third class at St Joseph's National School, East Wall, Dublin, when the accident happened in September 2006.

She stated she was playing bench ball, where she had to stand on a bench and had to catch the ball thrown by her teammates. She told the court she missed the ball and got off the bench to retrieve it - but lost her footing as she tried to get back on the bench and fell across it onto the floor.

She said a bone in her arm had popped out and there was also blood. She later had to have three operations to the arm and has been left with three scars.

"I don't show off my arm. I wear a lot of long sleeves," she told Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

Ms Gregan had sued the board of management of St Joseph's National School.

She had claimed there was an alleged failure in allowing the girl to perform an unreasonably and unnecessarily dangerous act - climbing or attempting to climb the bench.

She had further claimed there was an alleged failure to place around the bench any mats that would have broken her fall.

The school denied the claims and contended the students were playing a different game - dodgeball - at the time, and Ms Gregan was not required to stand on a bench.

It was contended she opted to mount the bench and did so in a careless manner causing injury to herself for which the school claimed it was not liable.

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