Man secures €46,000 settlement after metal shutter fell on his head

A man who suffered a minor head injury after a heavy metal shutter fell on his head at a Dunnes Stores outlet has secured €46,000 under a settlement of his High Court action.

Patrick McMahon was a part-time employee of Dunnes at the time of the accident at the retail firm’s premises in Newbridge, Co Kildare, on March 20th, 2017.

Through his sister Mary McMahon, of Maddenstown, Curragh, Co Kildare, Mr McMahon (46) sued Dunnes Stores’ (Georges Street ) Unlimited Company over the accident.

In an affidavit, Ms McMahon said her brother has Downs Syndrome, hypothyroidism and suffered a cerebrovascular accident in 2014, three years before the shutter accident. Mr McMahon was walking through a doorway when a heavy metal shutter dropped and struck him on the head, she said.

A report from a GP stated Ms McMahon’s brother sustained a graze to his forehead, did not lose consciousness and attended K-Doc on the day of the accident, where he was diagnosed with a minor head injury. In light of his history of cardiovascular disease, he underwent a CT scan of the brain to rule out any new cardiovascular event and that scan was normal.

Ms McMahon referred to further medical reports, including one of January 2020 in which the GP stated Mr McMahon had complained of intermittent daily headaches and expressed the view his symptoms of headaches, dizziness and poor balance have deteriorated since the 2017 accident. The GP noted brain imaging carried out following the accident showed no new findings.

Ms McMahon said she and her mother are satisfied any of her brother’s ongoing symptoms are referable to his complicated medical situation rather than to the injuries suffered in the shutter accident.

On Monday, counsel for Mr McMahon noted the new guidelines governing awards for personal injuries provide for awards up to €21,000 for a minor head injury with no loss of consciousness and for awards between €19-34,000 for moderate head injuries with no loss of consciousness.

Counsel said her side considered the €46,000 offer was a very good one and was asking the court to approve it.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons noted Mr McMahon has other conditions and his sister and mother are satisfied the injuries from which he is now suffering did not arise from this accident. Mr McMahon has retired from his part-time employment in Dunnes, he noted.

The judge was satisfied this was a good offer representing the full value of the claim.

There was no point in going to trial as Mr McMahon would not do better and he could get less, he said.

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