A COUNTY Limerick woman who sustained whiplash-type injuries when boxes of cereal fell on her at a busy supermarket has been awarded more than €135,000 in damages.
Mother-of-three Christina Butler from Crecora sued Tesco Ireland following the incident at its store in the Crescent Shopping Centre on May 2, 2008.
During a High Court hearing this week Mr Justice Paul McDermott was told a large number of “industrial sized” boxes of Weetabix fell on top of Ms Butler as she was shopping.
She sustained soft-tissue injuries and a degenerative back condition was aggravated resulting in her having ongoing problems.
The judge said that while soft-tissue injuries normally resolve themselves, there are cases where it doesn’t happen.
The plaintiff, who works as a psychiatric nurse, also suffered anxiety as a result of what happened, the court heard.
In his judgement, Mr Justice McDermott paid tribute to the plaintiff for “not exaggerating” her injuries, which he accepted had been directly caused as a result of the accident.
Commenting on the contents of medical reports he she had been “monitored, scrutinised and examined on a continuous basis” since the incident.
He commented she had “taken every step to ensure she could stay in work” including swapping shifts with colleagues when unable to work due to pain.
He noted she has attended physiotherapy, acupuncture and reiki in an effort to alleviate the symptoms, which include restricted movement in her right shoulder and radiating pain. She also has difficulty sleeping, suffers from occasional dizziness and finds it uncomfortable when flying.
The court was told the plaintiff is unable to lift heavy items and often suffers pain and discomfort after completing household chores such as hoovering and cleaning.
Mr Justice McDermott said one of the main issues in the case was the probability that Ms Butler will never make a full recovery and that she may require surgery in the future.
“There is no medical opinion to assure her she will recover in anyway,” he said adding that the anxiety she suffered following the incident had been a “severe intrusion” on her life.
He awarded damages totalling €135,588.35 plus her legal costs.