Boy who as a toddler fell 15ft through a gap in a handrail to a tiled floor settles court action for €750,000

A boy who, as a toddler, fell 15ft through a gap in a handrail onto a tiled floor in a doctor’s surgery has settled his High Court action for €750,000.

Brian Dunne (now 16), of Clonmore, Edenderry, Co Offaly, suffered extensive skull fracturing as a result of the accident in the Lowell House, Herbert Avenue, Dublin, on January 15, 2007.

He was with his mother Louise Dunne, who took the case on his behalf, while they were waiting for a medical appointment on a landing on the first floor of the premises.

It was alleged the boy, who was nearly two-and-a-half at the time, approached the stairs handrail/balustrade and fell through a six inch opening.

It was claimed, among other things, there was a failure to adequately assess the safety of the handrail or to screen it against such accidents.

He sued the operators of the centre, Somerzkroft Ltd, of Pembroke Road, Dublin, and the architect who designed the refurbishment of the building, Joseph Kennedy of Clarinda Park, Dun Laoghaire.

John Finlay SC, for the boy, said the defendants blamed one another for the accident but there was no blame attaching to the boy or his mother and there was no issue of contributory negligence.

He was stunned and upset and taken to Crumlin Children’s Hospital where he was put on ventilation and later transferred to Beaumont Hospital where it was noted he had extensive skull fractures.

While he had made a remarkable recovery, and currently played football for his local club and milked 300 cows a day on a farm, he remained at some increased risk of epilepsy as a result of his injuries, counsel said.

Ms Justice Mirian O’Regan said it seemed a good settlement and she told the boy “well done” for recovering from such a devastating accident which must have been terrible for both him and his mother.

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