A woman has been compensated £21,500 after suffering a back injury while on her way to perform an inventory check at a Scottish lighthouse.
Rosemary Cairns was off work 15 months after travelling to the Isle of May. Her back was hurt when the boat on which she was travelling hit choppy waters.
Mrs Cairns, 55, brought the compensation claim against her employers, the Northern Lighthouse Board, and the owners of the boat, Calypso Marine. Her case was heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Though neither party disputed compensation they did contest liability. Lord Drummond Young, presiding judge, ruled that both firms were liable but the compensation should come from the boat firm.
He said: “The net effect will be that they are liable for the full sum payable to the pursuer (Mrs Cairns).”
Mrs Cairns, a finance assistant, travelled to the lighthouse in 2009.
She told the court: “I could see the lighthouse from the distance. It wasn’t far off. I felt the waves had started to get higher It was a bit more choppy I felt.”
She said that when the boat “banged down on the water” the first time she felt something happen to her back. When it happened again she screamed with pain.
She was taken by ambulance to hospital.
The judge said: “I think it is clear that the boat was driven continuously at a speed of about 17 to 18 knots, which was too fast for the conditions as it gave rise to a significant risk of slamming, with a consequent risk of injury to the passengers. That is precisely what happened: the boat slammed after crossing each of two successive waves and the pursuer was injured in consequence.”
After hearing expert evidence, the judge ruled the boat was driven too fast for the conditions, and this had a detrimental effect on her back.
He ruled that the boat should have been driven with more care, and summed up: “Had that been done, it seems quite clear that the risk of injury would have been very much lessened.”