Instead, she’ll have to pay the legal costs of both defendants.
The jostle stone is a protected structure outside the Temple Bar pub having been placed there hundreds of years ago to prevent cartwheels knocking lumps of plaster and brick from the corner of the structure.
Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard that Janice Brazil had had a few drinks with some friends in the nearby Norseman pub in February 2015 before tripping over “an invisible stone” outside the Temple Bar pub at around 1.30am having failed to gain entrance to the hostelry as it was closing.
According to a report in the Examiner, “She said she had injured her right arm and had suffered with severe pain and bruising for six weeks following the fall. While she had no pain now she sometimes suffered discomfort in her arm”
The report continued, “Judge Linnane said it had been accepted by all parties that the jostle stone or wheel guard was, like the Temple Bar Inn itself, a protected structure in the area and had been there for many years.
“The judge said the manager of the pub for the last 28 years had given evidence that there had never been a complaint about the stone in the time he had been working there,” continued the Examiner, “‘The injuries Ms Brazil says she sustained are minor in the extreme and according to medical reports she had a full range of movement in her arm after six weeks.
“‘Now nearly five years after the accident she is complaining of some discomfort,’” stated Judge Linnane.
Janice Brazil had stated that the stone was invisible.
“The judge said the stone was visible to anyone who was watching where they were going and there was an obligation on people to look where they were walking.
“‘Ms Brazil is the author of her own misfortune and I dismiss the case with costs against her to both defendants,’ she said.
“Judge Linnane said there seemed to be an attitude abroad that if somebody suffered an injury such as in this case someone was to blame and there would be compensation.
“‘Someone suffering an injury does not necessarily mean they will get compensation. They have to prove liability against a defendant,’ the judge said.”
This judgement is good news for publicans, some of whom have seen their premia rise by 44% over the last five years despite there being no claims made.
The Alliance for Insurance Reform, the umbrella body for some 35 civic and business organisations across Ireland, has welcomed this specific decision as “the application of clear common sense”.
However AIR’s Director Peter Boland told Drinks Industry Ireland, “We do not regard it as the sea-change necessary to solve our insurance crisis. Only real reforms through the dramatic reduction in general damages for minor injuries, the rebalancing of the duty of care imposed on policyholders and the establishment of the Garda Insurance Fraud Unit will do that”.