€105,000 Workplace Accident Compensation Award for Former Supermarket Worker Following Cold Room Injury

€105,000 Workplace Accident Compensation Award for Former Supermarket Worker Following Cold Room Injury

The Court of Appeal (CoA) has upheld a €105,000 workplace accident award for a former part-time supermarket employee who suffered an injury when she fell while driving a pallet truck holding stock.

Pamela Phoenix, a 37-year-old female now living in Canada, and formerly of McDonnell Drive, Athy, Co Kildare, took the legal accident against Dunnes Stores in relation to the accident that occurred on September 18, 2006. Ms Phoenix was attempting to move the pallet truck backwards in a cold room when she slipped and fell heavily on her bottom and back.

Ms Phoenix was awarded her €105,929 workplace accident compensation in the High Court in 2016 after that court accepted that she suffered chronic back pain and depressive symptomatology due to the accident. By October 2007 she had gained a considerable amount of weight. The judge stated that he felt she was a credible witness who did not exaggerate the extent of her injuries.

The workplace compensation award was appealed by Dunnes. They argued that the cold room accident compensation award was excessive and disproportionate.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, speaking on behalf of the three-judge Court of Appeal, upheld the workplace compensation award saying while it was probably in the upper range of what is appropriate, given the role of an appeallate court in other case law, the Court of Appeal cannot take any action.

Following the accident Ms Phoenix was rushed by ambulance to St Lukes’ hospital in Kilkenny. Her X-rays came back clear and she was discharged with some pain-killing medication. In the days following the accident she had to use crutches to get around.

She had difficulty re-assuming the same workload that she had managed before the accident and changed jobs to a role with Elverys. In 2007, still suffering from a considerable amount of back pain, she lost that role. She also has difficulty in continuing her studies at Maynooth University and became very psychologically vulnerable, eventually suffering from depressions when she became pregnant and suffered a miscarriage in 2008. She eventually moved to Canada in 2013 where she married and had a baby boy in 2016.

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