A 62-year-old Irish nurse was shopping in a large supermarket. Outside the fridge, she leaned over to pick up a three-litre carton of milk, when suddenly her legs went from underneath her and she ended up on her back in severe pain.

She had slipped on milk, which had leaked from another carton onto the floor. The client sustained huge injuries to her back. She sued the supermarket.

It turned out that the spilled milk had been on the floor for some time and the supermarket did not have a proper system for cleaning spillages in place. The client worked as a nurse in a Nursing Home. Her work involved heavy lifting of people. Due to her injuries, she was unable to return to work.

The court awarded her €80,000 due to the injuries to her back and loss of earnings up to retirement age. Interestingly, because she worked in a private nursing home, the normal retirement age did not apply. This meant that she also received her loss of earnings from age 61 to age 68. When the matter came to trial, she was aged 64 and had been out of work for 3 years. The loss of earnings per year was €40,000. She received €120,000 less her social welfare. In addition, because she did not have to retire at 65, she obtained loss of earnings into the future up to age 68. This meant that there was another 4 years of earnings she was entitled to at €40,000 per year. This was reduced from €160,000 to €150,000. The total amount that the client received was €80,000 for pain and suffering, €120,000 for loss of earnings to date and €150,000 for loss earnings into the future. This made a total of €350,000. The case was very hard fought, but the client was extremely happy with the result. However, she was left with a very bad back injury and never worked again.

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