Case Study

Escalator Accident

Case Type: Accident in a Public Place
Injury: Back Injury
Settled by: Philip Gleeson
Settled on: 12th July, 2023
Escalator Accident

Case summary:


Paula was exhausted after completing her shopping trip at the shopping center. Herself and her husband were eager to head back home, stow away their purchases, and unwind, however, their plans took an unexpected turn. While guiding her shopping cart down the escalator, Paula encountered a slippery substance that caused her to lose her footing and fall. There was no cautionary signs or alerts indicating the presence of the hazardous area that led to her injury. After analyzing the area, it became evident that the slippery liquid came from a fire extinguisher as several of them were nearby and clearly had been tampered with. The foam had dispersed across the floor and coated the lower part of the escalator, leading Paula to conclude that this substance was the cause of her injury.

Without delay, her husband immediately attempted to locate a staff member to discuss his wife’s suffering and distress and the unsafe zone at the scene. Unfortunately, he was unable to source an employee and they had to return home to tend to Paula’s injury. They telephoned the store when they had arrived home and notified them of the CCTV footage that had a direct view of the scene of her accident. The staff reviewed the footage and apologized for the inconvenience.

Subsequently, Paula sought medical advice to address the tingling sensation she was experiencing around the coccyx, Lumbar spine and buttocks region. Following an MRI scan, it was revealed that she had sustained a fracture in her sacrum, along with the presence of degenerative discs and minor disc bulges in two sections of her spine.  An irregularity was also noted in her coccyx. She actively participated in physiotherapy and Pilates sessions, underwent injections, and took prescribed medication to alleviate her discomfort and aid her recovery process.

Paula is a committed elementary school educator who takes immense pleasure in spreading happiness among the students under her care. Occupying the role of a teacher requires her to stand for long periods of time, demanding her to maintain mobility throughout the day. Unfortunately, the accident has had a profound effect on her life as an educator. She now suffers with pain and difficulty, due to her limited capacity to sit for only 20 minutes and stand for no more than 10 minutes. This considerable restriction significantly hampers her daily regimen and her effectiveness within the classroom. Furthermore, she finds herself unable to drive for more than 20 minutes without encountering discomfort.

As a result of the negligence of the staff on duty this particular day, failing in their responsibility to signal the presence of the dangerous zone or to promptly address the spillage that led to her accident—Paula made the decision to initiate a legal claim against the store.

Case progression:

Court proceedings were instigated, and the case was brought to a successful conclusion.

Case settlement:

The case was settled in the four Courts on the 12th of July 2023 for the sum of €45,000. This was a great result for an admirable client, we are proud of all the work put in by Philip and his team to achieve this brilliant outcome.


*Note: Client name changed for GDPR reasons.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does no win no fee mean?

    Solicitors fees are based on a number of factors:

    • Complexity and urgency of your case
    • Paperwork involved -the amount of paperwork, medical records etc., that need to be obtained and examined
    • The amount of time spent by the personal injury solicitor and their legal assistant on the matter
    • Skill, knowledge and expertise
    • Whether costs can be recovered from the other side will play a role in whether you will have to pay legal fees or whether the other side will have to pay them for you.

    Speaking with a solicitor is the best first step you can take if you are concerned about legal fees, they will explain to you exactly how it all works and put your mind at ease.

    You may find some solicitors operate on a no win no fee basis which means that if your personal injury claim is not successful then there is no charge to you. It is important to note that while this is a common practice in the industry the Law Society of Ireland regulate how a solicitor’s firm can advertise their services, one of these regulations is that a solicitor’s firm cannot advertise ‘no win no fee’ services and any solicitor found advertising these serves will be found to be in breach of the regulations. Keep this in mind when choosing your solicitor to represent you.

  2. What information will I need for my solicitor to make a claim?

    In order for your solicitor to proceed with a personal injury claim for you they will need the following information:

    • Details of the person who caused the accident.
    • Names, addresses and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
    • Where available, photographs of the location of the accident, paying particular attention to the item or area where the accident happened.
    • Name of Gardaí/police and station where the accident was reported- names of any Gardaí who attended the scene of the accident (where applicable).
    • Medical records detailing any injuries/treatment following the accident.
    • Details of any costs incurred following the accident.
    • Details of any loss of earnings and details of any future loss of earnings if you are to be out of work for a long period of time.
    • Cost of medical treatment-details of future medical treatment needed.
  3. Will I have to go to court?

    Every case is different and each case comes to a resolution differently. In the majority of personal injury cases, the person making the claim will not step foot into a courtroom.

    It is possible that the person at fault will seek to settle outside of court and your case will be settled in a settlement meeting attended by you, your solicitor and barrister to negotiate your settlement.

    Ultimately, it is entirely up to you whether to accept the settlement offered. If you do not accept then it will move to a court hearing where a judge will decide how much your settlement will be.

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