Legal action over Limerick school yard fall in which girl broke wrist dismissed

David Hurley


David Hurley

The case was heard at Limerick Circuit Court

The case was heard at Limerick Circuit Court

A JUDGE has dismissed a legal action relating to school yard fall almost a decade ago which resulted in a young girl breaking her wrist.

The girl, now aged 19, sued St Joseph’s Primary School, Knockane, Newcastle West following an incident on February 19, 2008.

Judge Gerald Keys was told the girl fell while playing in the  school yard at lunchtime and it was the plantiff’s case that she had tripped on a “broken and uneven surface”.

It was alleged the school was negligent as it had failed to take adequate measures to inspect the school yard to ensure it was reasonably safe and not in a dangerous condition. Following the fall, the then nine-year-old was assisted by teachers at the school who administered first aid.

She later attended the Mid Western Regional Hospital. An x-ray confirmed she had sustained a fracture of the left distal radius and her arm was placed in a plaster paris cast for a number of weeks.

A teacher who was on yard duty when the incident happened said she had “walked the yard” before the children were allowed out and that she had not noticed any problems with the surface.

Earlier the school principal stated that she examined the school yard every morning.

Dismissing the claim, Judge Keys noted the legal action was not initiated until after the plaintiff had left the school.

He commented that “accidents do happen and children do fall” and that such incidents are “just part of growing up”.

Having heard the evidence the judge said he was satisfied the school had a system in place at the time and that any defect relating to the surface would have been noted.

The judge added that there no photographs of the area where the girl had fallen produced as evidence. 

He said the plantiff, who was represented by Emmett O’Brien BL, had not reached the necessary standard to prove her case and that it would be very unjust to find against the school.

Noting her age at the time the legal action was initiated, Judge Keys stressed he was not criticising the plaintiff in any way.