Compensation Awarded to Holidaymaker Injured by Sunbed in Italy

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The Dublin High Court has awarded €40,796 in compensation to a holidaymaker who was injured when his sunbed malfunctioned while on holiday in 2012.

While on a package holiday the Hotel Savoy in Lake Garda, Italy, Vincent Reid (72) of Lisburn, County Antrim, leaned back on the sunbed, catching his middle finger in the arm mechanism of the chair. The tip of the finger was sliced off in the incident. After being attended to in the local hospital, his finger was wrapped in a split, where it remained immobilised for three months on his return to Ireland.

The vacation had been organised through the travel firm Topflight Ltd. Vincent made is claim for compensation through the Injuries Board of Ireland against them, claiming their negligence had caused his injury. The defendant denied liability for the accident, claiming that such an event was unforeseeable to them.

Vincent’s case for compensation was heard by Mr Justice Michael Hanna at the High Court in Dublin last week, as the Injuries Board was unable to assess the claim themselves.

At the hearing, the judge heard how another Irish guest had received a similar injury at the same hotel only a few days before Vincent had his own accident. It was also explained that the chair had not been suitable for use by Vincent, as the arm mechanism wasn’t locked into place as it should have been.

The judge dismissed Topflight Ltd’s claim that the accident could not have been foreseen. He stated that the fact that the sunbed would collapse had the arm mechanism not been locked in place would have been known to the staff at the resort, and they had been negligent in checking the mechanisms, thus putting holidaymakers at risk of an accident.

He also heard that Vincent was unable to participate in activities such as DIY or gardening due to pain that he suffered in his finger, and that the finger still had limited mobility after the accident.

Judge Hanna found Topflight Ltd guilty of breaching the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act of 1995, rendering them liable to pay Vincent €40,796 for a sunbed accident on holiday.

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