Carpenter who fell off ladder injuring neck, ribs and back loses €60k damages claim

Gerard Hyland told the Circuit Civil Court his fall had been caused by a loose hinge on a ladder


A carpenter, who fell off a ladder and injured his neck, ribs and back, has lost a €60,000 damages claim against his former employer. A judge said he had been the author of his own misfortune.

Gerard Hyland told the Circuit Civil Court that his fall had been caused by a loose hinge on a 10-feet-high A-frame.  He said he had been knocked to the ground when a leg of the ladder had moved suddenly.

Hyland, of Ballymun, Dublin, sued Limosa Limited which trades as Extraspace, Clondalkin Industrial Estate, Dublin, alleging they had been guilty of negligence.

Barrister Kevin Byrne, who appeared with Pembroke Solicitors for the defendant, told the court it was the defence case that the accident happened because the ladder had been improperly positioned by Mr Hyland who had earlier received on-job training regarding his work.

Hyland (35) said he was on the top of the ladder in June 2013 when it moved because of the loose hinge.  He had fallen heavily to the ground injuring himself and had attended Tallalght Hospital where x-rays had been taken.

He said his contract with the defendant had been terminated after the accident and he had been unable to get work.  He had been depressed and had lost interest in his fitness training regime.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said the ladder had fallen for one of two reasons, either it was defective or put up by Mr Hyland in a position which rendered it to be unsteady.

“It seems to me on balance of probabilities that this ladder was not defective and was placed in a position which meant it had not been properly footed,” Judge Groarke said.

The judge said Mr Hyland knew of the precautions required in setting up the ladder so he could work carefully.  He did not accept it had been caused to topple because of a loose hinge and was of the opinion the ladder had not been set up safely by Mr Hyland in the first place.

Dismissing his claim Judge Groarke said:  “He should have known better than to do what he did and the accident was a result of his own misfortune.”

He made no order as to costs.