Judge Finds Woman Innocent of Contributory Negligence for Waitress Hand Injury

A judge has a denied allegations that a woman was guilty of negligence, which resulted in her sustaining an injury to her hand while she was working as a waitress.

Sophie Caillaud (42) was working as a waitress at the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, County Leitrim, when a glass jug that she was filling shattered in her hands. She suffered a deep laceration to her thumb, and required surgery to treat the soft tissue damage to the area. However, in spite of the surgery, she never fully regained use of her thumb. She was unable to continue her work as a waitress, and the continued discomfort impedes her daily activities.

Sophie sought legal counsel, and made a complain for compensation against the two companies who had manufactured the jug and supplied it to the hotel for which she had been working-Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd.

Both companies protested the amount which Sarah was claiming for her injuring, and denied having full liability for the accident. They claimed that Sarah’s own negligence had contributed to her injuries, and that she should not receive the full sum that she requested.

Due to this dispute over compensation and liability, Sarah was issued with authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue her case in court. It was heard in the High Court by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. The judge was informed that staff members had previously reported injuries to their employees as a result of glass jugs shattering in their hands, and Sarah’s accident was not unique.

An expert testimony was read in court, who explained that the rapid cooling and heating of the jugs as they were put in a dishwasher and weakened the join between the jug’s handle and its main body. As a result, the jug was rendered unfit for purpose, and posed as a danger to those who used it.

The judge dismissed all allegations on contributory negligence, and agree with Sophie that she was not exaggerating her injuries. Commenting that he found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, the judge awarded her €500,000 in compensation for her waitress hand injury.