Tobago Express to pay woman after fall from plane steps

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Tobago Express to pay woman after fall from plane steps

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Dec 08, 2008 ... =161410485

Tobago Express to pay woman after fall from plane steps
Keino Swamber South Bureau

Monday, December 8th 2008

TOBAGO Express Limited has been ordered to pay compensation to a 72-year-old woman who injured her hip when she fell while descending the stairs of a plane at the Crown Point International Airport in Tobago last year.

In a seven-page judgement delivered in the San Fernando High Court on Friday, Justice Carol Gobin said she accepted the evidence of the woman that she fell because she did not see the last step -a portable step-which was placed at the foot of the aircraft's staircase.

Justice Gobin said this would have caused the woman, who requested anonymity, to bear down her body weight in a manner that caused her to tumble over and fall on June 20, 2007.

"I accept her evidence that she did not see that last step because the black surface of that step was not illuminated in any way," Justice Gobin said.

"Further, the accident occurred at night (and) whatever floodlights existed at the airport were not adequate to sufficiently illuminate the area where the aircraft landed. I am not satisfied that they sufficiently illuminated the claimant's path as she disembarked using the staircase.

"I am in no doubt that the failure to light the dark surface of the portable step was what primarily caused this accident."

Justice Gobin said the fact that in the history of the use of this type of aircraft, no such accident has been reported, did not assist Tobago Express. The amount of compensation to be awarded to the woman will be assessed sometime early next year.

In an affidavit filed on her behalf by attorneys Anand Ramlogan and Cindy Bhagwandeen, the woman said she felt an intense pain searing through her right side when she fell.

"I started to cry and the passengers who were disembarking the aircraft rushed to my assistance but as I was in so much pain they decided not to move me," the woman said.

The court was told that the woman underwent surgery on July 10, 2007, and a metal plate was attached to her right hip. This surgery, the woman said, initially cost $46,800 and that bill was paid by Tobago Express. All other expenses were borne by her.

"I must now undergo a second surgery at a cost of $81,945, which I truly cannot afford. Recently I have been experiencing increasingly severe pains and it was determined that there has been a collapse of the fracture site and a loosening of the lag screw in my hip.

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