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Jimmy Harris
wicklow way

Parks service appeals €40,000 payout for woman who fell while hillwalking

Teresa Wall said her foot had snagged in a hole in one of the old railway sleepers that made up the boardwalk.

A WOMAN WITH 40 years experience of hill walking has told the High Court she was “black and blue on her right side” and in significant pain when she gashed her knee on a nail after falling on a rotting boardwalk.

Teresa Wall said she suffered the injuries on the Wicklow Way and that, due to the severity of the pain, her husband had to “piggyback” her down the mountain because he was unable to get a mobile phone signal so he could call for assistance.

She said her foot had snagged in a hole in one of the old railway sleepers that made up a boardwalk just below the JB Malone memorial on the Sally Gap to Djouce trail near Roundwood.

Wall was giving evidence on the first day of an appeal against a Circuit Court finding that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) was negligent and must pay her €40,000 in damages.

In her evidence she told her counsel Louis McEntagart SC that the accident occurred around 4pm on 6 August 2013. Wall said she and her husband had been coming down the mountain after a long walk on a boardwalk, which had been placed on the lands by the NPWS.

‘Unable to run anymore’

Wall from Rathingle Cottages, Swords, Dublin said she suffered a gash to her right knee which required seven stitches. She and her husband Damien had been active hillwalkers in Ireland and abroad, but because of the injuries to her knee was only able to walk on flat terrain.

She said she had also had enjoyed running, and had trained to do the Dublin City Marathon in October 2013 but was unable to run anymore.

Under cross examination by Brian Murray SC for the NWPS, Wall said she had 40 years hill walking experience and been looking where she was going when she fell.

Following the incident she brought a claim before the Circuit Court seeking damages against the NPWS alleging it had been negligent and in breach of its duty of care towards her.

She also claims the defendant permitted a defect to be present in in the boardwalk where the timber had rotted away, created a tripping hazard, left the boardwalk in a unsafe condition and created a public nuisance at the site.

‘Not responsible’

The claims are denied. In its defence the NPWS claims Wall contributed to her injuries by not looking where she was going and was the author of her own misfortune.

She had participated in a activity known to have risks and the NWPS added it was not responsible for anything that may have happened to her.

In a judgment given last April Judge Jacqueline Linnane at Dublin Circuit Court said Wall (60) was entitled to €40,000 damages plus her legal costs.

The hearing, which is expected to last three days, continues.

Comments have been closed for legal reasons 

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Aodhan O Faolain