Slip and Trip Accident

A bus driver slipped on ice outside his apartment and sued the apartment management company for injuries he sustained.


His apartment was on the first floor and led to an open-air external landing. From there a stairway to the ground floor. The plaintiff left his apartment to go to work at 5:30 a.m. I had been a cold night. There was a light over his front door but because of water ingress, it wasn’t working. As he stepped onto the landing he slipped on black ice and fell down the stairs and fractured an elbow. He sued the management company for negligence in that they failed to operate an adequate system of cleaning, that the landing should have been gritted and that the accident could have been avoided by nosing trips on the steps and if the external light had been working.

In the High Court hearing, it was established that the plaintiff could see that the ground outside his apartment was wet and that the external light above his door was the plaintiff’s own responsibility.

The defendant management company gave evidence that a property management company would have provided gritting services if asked to do so. However, none of the property management company’s 98 developments required gritting on footpaths or steps.

The judge found that the pathway was the control of the defendants, and they had a duty to grit the areas to avoid accidents.

It was held that nosing strips would have assisted the plaintiff in preventing his fall and that water dripping into the light may have resulted in the formation of ice. The plaintiff was awarded €60,000 for his injuries.

The defendants’ appealed and the court reversed the decision. The court found that the plaintiff, not the apartment management company, was responsible for the light above his apartment door. The cause of the ice was not determined so could not be attributed to any party.

Regarding the claim that the defendants failed to keep the common area free from excess water, this the court found was never part of the plaintiff’s case and, as such, this finding could not stand.

The lighting issue was only particularised the day before the trial and the remaining issues were not pleaded at all. The court held that this was inappropriate and emphasised that parties were required to provide full and detailed particulars of each allegation or assertion comprising the claim.

The court accepted that the defendants were not necessarily taken by surprise by the gritting issue given that there was an expert report on the subject. However, expert reports were not a substitute for pleadings and parties were still obliged to properly plead the case they wished to make at trial.

The alleged obligation to grit pedestrian areas in anticipation of adverse weather was an unreasonable duty to place on occupiers, the court said. The court also noted that the plaintiff was a member of the management company, but gritting services were not supplied.

The court held that the trial judge was incorrect to find that the defendants were liable for the accident. The appeal was allowed and the €60,000 award was overturned.

Ahmed v. Castlegrange Management Company Limited by Guarantee IECA 269


Leave a comment

The following cookies load by default:

Strictly necessary cookies
These cookies are essential for visitors to be able to browse the website and use its features. None of this information can be used to identify visitors as all data is anonymized.

Site session
Purpose: To remember different visitor preferences on the website.
Duration: For duration of browser session.

Preferred language
Purpose: To be able to provide the website in the visitor's preferred language (if the website contains multiple languages).
Duration: 1 year.

Purpose: To be able to show prices in the currency matching the visitor's preferences.
Duration: 30 days.

Google Recaptcha
Purpose: To be able to validate whether the visitor is human and to limit the amount of spam from contact forms.
Duration: 1 year.
Provider: Google.

Third-party cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use the website, like which pages they've visited and which links they've clicked on. None of this information can be used to identify visitors as all data is anonymized.

Purpose: Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.
Duration: 1 year.
Provider: Google.

Purpose: Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.
Duration: 24 hours.
Provider: Google.

Purpose: Used by Google Analytics to throttle request rate.
Duration: 1 year.
Provider: Google.

We also integrate with social platforms on this site that allow you to connect with your social network in various ways. Social media integration will set cookies through the website which may be used to enhance your profile on social media sites or contribute to the data they hold for various purposes outlined in their respective privacy policies.