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Woman awarded €85000 after B&Q varnish spill
Coleman Legal LLP
May 8, 2016

Woman awarded €85,000 after B&Q varnish spill

A woman was covered ‘head to toe’ by a tin of varnish when the lid fell off as she was scanning items at a self-service checkout in a DIY store. As a result she has been awarded €85,000 for injuries that she received.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna said it would have been better if the barcode on the tin of Ronseal had not been on the lid because that meant that Wendy Delaney (68) had to turn it upside down to scan it.

Ms Delaney sued B&Q Ireland in the High Court over the accident in its Tallaght store on 30th May 2009. After washing off the varnish which covered her ‘from head to toe’, she later had to be treated for injuries to both eyes and suffered a depressive reaction.

Ms Delaney had decided to use the self-service checkout and had to invert the tin when the lid fell off and she dropped it, causing significant personal injuries.

While there was no CCTV evidence, through no fault of B&Q, and no other witnesses, there was evidence from engineers on both sides as to what may happen if a tin of varnish slipped in this way.  The judge found that there was no element of contributory negligence by Ms Delaney.

She received treatment in the Eye and Ear hospital and was on the mend after a few weeks, but she now needs to lubricate her eyes if she intends to read or look at a screen for an extended period of time.
She suffered a depressive reaction (even though she was pre-disposed to this) but doctor’s reports would suggest that the incident would increase the risk of escalation of this.

Ms Delaney was entitled to recover, in the circumstances, ‘significant though not enormous damages.’ The settlement was assessed at €85,000 including €20,000 special damages.

A three week stay was afforded to Counsel for the Defense in the event that an appeal were to be lodged.


Keith Rolls Partner Coleman Legal LLP

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