Patrick Ward (50) of Knocksedan Drive, Swords, Co Dublin, had sued his employer, Dublin Port Company, for €60,000 damages for personal injuries – a claim that was thrown out by Judge Cormac Quinn in the Circuit Civil Court.
Mr Ward told the court he had injured his back in December 2018 when he slipped on the top step of a flight of stairs after using the bathroom on the third floor of Dublin Port’s office building on Alexandra Road, Dublin.
“I bounced down four or five steps on my backside,” he told Judge Quinn.
He said he had experienced immediate pain in his back, but had not thought there was any cause for concern at the time.
He said his lower back pain had not subsided and a week after the accident he visited his GP.
His movements had been restricted and he had trouble performing basic tasks such as putting on his socks.
His GP recommended rest and prescribed painkillers to be taken in association with a course of physiotherapy.
In January 2019, Mr Ward had been referred for an MRI scan which took place the following month.
He subsequently received two courses of steroid injection treatment and a CT guided steroid injection into his spine, all of which had provided him with minimal relief.
He was told his condition would continue to worsen without surgery which was then carried out in the Mater Hospital in February 2020.
He said the surgery had been successful and he had seen significant improvement in his injuries since.
Mr Ward told barrister Adrianne Fields, counsel for Dublin Port, he had been involved in a number of other accidents.
In 2010 he had been awarded €12,500 damages after suffering neck injuries in a road traffic accident.
He had been involved in another accident in 2015 in which he suffered damage to the ligaments and tissue in his lower back.
He had been awarded €18,415 for an accident involving a taxi in 2016 and in which he had suffered shoulder and neck injuries.
Asked by Ms Fields in cross-examination if he had heard of anybody else slipping on the stairs, he said a colleague had told him she also had slipped on the same stairs and had informed him of this directly after his accident had occurred.
Defence counsel asked the court for a direction dismissing Mr Ward’s claim on the basis he had failed to prove a case of negligence against her client.
Judge Quinn dismissed Mr Ward’s action on the basis that the high point of his case was that there may have been moisture trapped on the sole of his shoe which could possibly have caused him to slip and fall.
There had been no evidence of water on the stairs and Mr Ward had not known what had actually caused him to slip and fall.
There was no order for costs made in the case.