A personal injury award of almost €67,000 has been approved at the High Court in favour of an Australian tourist who injured his leg when he slipped and rolled down stone stairs at the National Museum of Ireland.
Presiding Judge Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said the Dublin museum’s Portland stone steps had been shiny and slippery when the tourist, Warren Baldwin (70), from Revesby, New South Wales, ruptured a leg tendon in the accident. Mr Baldwin suffered significant trauma, inconvenience and expense due to the accident that occurred on June 5, 2016, on the second day of Mr Baldwin’s trip to Ireland with his wife. He fell on the third step from the bottom of the staircase he was descending in the museum.
Justice O’Hanlon ruled that the accident was caused due to negligence in not have a railing in place for a person to hold onto the entire way down the seven-step staircase. The steps date to 1890, when the museum, located in Kildare Street building was built.
The Judge ruled that, had there been an adequate and safe handrail on the steps at the time the accident occurred, Mr Baldwin would not have sustained the injuries. She accepted the contention that because the railing stopped before the end of the staircase there was a tendency for people to move towards the centre portion. The wrought-iron bannister currently in place is topped by a wooden rail terminates at the third-last step where it joins a stone balustrade.
Legal Counsel for the National Museum of Ireland argued that the stairs did not have any defects at the time of the accident and that there was one handrail in place for people to hold onto. In addition to his they informed the judge that, out more than 470,000 people visiting the museum during 2016, Mr Baldwin was the only person who fell on the stairs.
Justice O’Hanlon awarded Mr Baldwin €66,989 as, she said, the museum failed in its duty to take reasonable care to ensure his safety.