Personal Injuries

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Slip on a Garage Forecourt

The plaintiff stopped at a petrol station to get fuel for his car. He bought €10 of fuel and walked to the hatch to pay. He noticed that the door of the station was ajar and that the staff motioned him, to go in the door and that at that point he turned and fell. His claim is that he skidded on whatever what was on the ground, oil or diesel.

This happened, he alleged, at a wheelchair bay and he further alleged that the person on duty who came to his aid suggested to him that “it was everywhere really” with reference to the spill. His claim with reference to photographic evidence was that the spill extended to the entire width of the wheelchair bay, and he further claimed that he paid for the petrol while on his hands and knees on the ground and that he was helped to his motor vehicle.

The defendant queried whether such accident happened at all as there appeared to be no record of it.

There was some confusion regarding the plaintiff’s name and addresses where in a subsequent claim following an accident, he used a different home address and gave his name as ‘Ben’ whereas on the current claim it was ‘Bernard’.

The judge said Mr Cronin did not have any evidence of an oil spillage as he did not have the clothing he was wearing on the date of the alleged accident and the items were no longer available.

The judge also noted an MRI scan report suggested that any difficulty with Mr Cronin’s knee joint was an old injury yet, at an inspection of the knee joint, Mr Cronin arrived with a stick.

The judge did not find the plaintiff convincing in his evidence and he had failed to prove his case on the balance of probabilities.

This case shows the clear risks in bringing an action that has little supporting evidence. Such a case will be costly as the plaintiff in losing will bear not only his own legal costs but also the legal costs of the insurance side.

 Bernard Cronin v Petrogas Group Ltd [2019] IEHC 346