A hillwalker has been awarded compensation in the sum of €40,000 as a result of being injured when she fell on a rotting boardwalk on the Wicklow Way.
She took her case against the National Parks and Wildlife Service who were responsible for the erection of the boardwalk.
It is the first time that a case of this kind has been successful before the Court and it is the first time that the National Parks and Wildlife Service has been sued for negligence by a hill walker.
The boardwalk was erected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the compensation was awarded because of the negligent manner of its upkeep.
The Judge stated in her Judgement that the Plaintiff had been directed by signs to use the boardwalk which was a structure that had been placed on the land by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The Judge said that it was clear from the photographs that she had viewed that the boardwalk had been made up of railway sleepers that were second hand and that were badly rotted with protruding staples loosely holding down the chicken wire.
[custom_blockquote style=”yellow”]The Judge said that reasonable care had not been taken to maintain the boardwalk in a safe condition and because of that, the Plaintiff sustained injuries to include a gash to her right knee that required a number of stitches. [/custom_blockquote]
No contributory negligence found
As a result of her injury, the Plaintiff could no longer hill walk or run marathons and she gave evidence to the effect that she had been walking for 40 years and had walked all over the world.
During the course of her walk the Plaintiff was wearing the appropriate clothing, walking boots and had walking sticks.
The Judge said that there was no contributory negligence on the part of the Plaintiff and it was submitted that the wooden walkway constituted a structure and the occupier’s liability act would therefore impose a much higher duty of care on the parks and wildlife service in the maintenance of such a structure.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service were represented by the State Claims Agency.
The Plaintiff was awarded €40,000 together with her legal costs but a stay was put on the Order in order to allow time for the Defendant to consider appealing the matter.