Northern Ireland

Woman who suffered ‘life changing injuries’ when allegedly struck by coffee shop sign to receive £1 million in damages

Civil action has been taken against Caffe Nero and Radiant Blinds Ltd

Caffe Nero logo.
It is claimed a sign and canopy fell from the premises and struck the woman

A woman who suffered “life changing injuries” when allegedly struck by a sign falling off a coffee shop is expected to receive several million pounds in damages, the High Court has heard.

The scale of compensation was predicted as a judge directed that two firms being sued should make combined interim payments of nearly £1 million.

Proceedings relate to an incident in April last year outside a Caffe Nero premises which is understood to be located in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

It is claimed a sign and canopy fell from the premises and struck the woman.

She suffered paralysis due to a fractured vertebrae, spinal cord injuries and rib fractures, the court heard.

Civil action has been taken against Caffe Nero as the occupier of the premises and Radiant Blinds Ltd for supplying the exterior awning fitting to the outlet.

With the woman requiring new accommodation to suit her complex needs, a suitable property has been located close to her daughter’s school.

She has already received £100,000 in a previous interim payment from Caffe Nero, made on a without prejudice basis and without admission of liability.

Her lawyers sought a further payout to cover the house purchase, medical expenses and other outlays.

Ruling on the application, Master Harvey said he had to be of the view she will obtain judgment for substantial damages if the action reaches trial.

“I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the plaintiff will succeed in her claim,” he said.

“I also consider that based on the material available to me at this interlocutory stage, this plaintiff will attract substantial damages given the extremely serious, life-changing nature of the injuries and the associated special damages claim, all of which will likely amount to several millions of pounds.

“This case clearly falls within the substantial category.”

In the newly published judgment, Master Harvey granted the plaintiff’s application.

He concluded: “I provisionally direct that the first defendant (Caffe Nero) pay the sum of £443,750, taking into account the calculation advanced by the first defendant, and the third defendant (Radiant Blinds) shall pay £543,750 by way of interim payment”.