Dublin man sues ski operator over slip on snow and ice covered street in France

A company director who slipped and fractured his ankle at the start of a ski holiday in France has launched a High Court action.

Darren Clarke has sued an Irish ski operator after he claimed he fell and dislocated his right ankle when he had to walk with his luggage on snow and ice covered streets at his ski resort in Chamonix, France, to retrieve the key for his accommodation.

Mr Clarke told the court he was pulling a suitcase on wheels and had two bags including one with his ski boots at around 10pm on a January night in 2016 when the accident happened.

“It was hard to see because of the snow. It was cold and dark. My front leg slipped. I remember lying on the ground,” he said.

He said he came down on the suitcase and his foot was trapped under the case.

Mr Clarke was in a French hospital for three days and had to get an air ambulance home.

He has claimed he was not able to work for a number of months after the accident.

His counsel Colm Condon SC said his side has claimed €102,227 in losses as a result of the accident, but the other side contends if there were any losses, it would be in the region of €9,000.

Mr Clarke (43), of Friarsland Avenue, Goatstown, Dublin, has sued Tony Collins Agency Limited with registered offices at Jervis House, Jervis Street, Dublin and trading as Directski.com.

Mr Clarke had a booking dated January 20, 2016, for a package holiday with flights into Geneva, Switzerland, and transfers to his accommodation in the Chamonix Valley as well as ski lift passes and equipment rental.

He has claimed when he got the bus transfer to Chamonix he and his cousin were dropped off at a certain location and told their accommodation was “right over there”.

He has claimed they could not access the accommodation and they had to walk to another address with their luggage to get reception and a key. It is alleged during the walk suddenly and without warning Mr Clarke slipped and fell on ice.

There was an alleged failure to transfer Mr Clarke directly to his accommodation and the men had been dropped off at the incorrect location.

It was further claimed Mr Clarke had been allowed to walk at a time and place when it was unwise, unsafe or dangerous to do so given his absolute lack of knowledge of the location or directions to his accommodation.

Mr Clarke had to wear a leg cast and was on crutches after the accident and he claimed his social life was greatly affected and he had to cancel an anniversary trip to London.

It was further claimed that after the accident Mr Clarke was greatly restricted in meeting and dealing with his customers and his business allegedly suffered a discernible reduction in turnover and consequent loss of profit for the year.

The claims are denied and the travel company has contended Mr Clarke was the author of his own misfortune, and was wearing inappropriate footwear.

The case before Mr Justice Kevin Cross continues.

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