Northern Ireland news

Boy gets £20,000 in damages after losing part of finger swinging on lamp-post

The High Court

A BOY who may have been swinging from a lamppost when it collapsed and sliced off part of his finger is to receive £20,000 damages, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.

Compensation was halved due to his likely actions contributing to the injuries being sustained during a street game with friends near his home in Keady, Co Armagh.

Mr Justice Maguire said: "He was probably abusing the road furniture at the time of the accident and was at an age when he should have known better."

The plaintiff, who is not being named, sued the Department for Infrastructure over the incident in August 2013 when he was aged 12.

He had been playing a game with friends and according to his evidence he arrived back to the base first, climbed onto a nearby electric box and touched the post.

The plaintiff claimed an arm of the steel fixture suddenly collapsed and fell down, striking his hand and shearing off the tip of a middle finger.

Although the missing part was sent to hospital by ambulance along with the plaintiff, he sustained the loss of a fingertip.

Based on the disfigurement and impact on his ability to play Gaelic football and other sports, the claim for damages was valued at £40,000.

Consulting engineers assessed the lamppost as being in a poor state of repair, with its condition described as "precarious".

However, both experts believed that merely playing the game, without any use of force by the youths, would have been unlikely to cause the accident.

Mr Justice Maguire said he was unable to accept the arm came down as a coincidental event.

Despite holding the defendant partially liable for the state of the lamppost, Mr Justice Maguire ruled the boy was himself 50 per cent responsible.

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