News & Updates

McDonald's to pay €32k for man's fall

Date Posted: 02.07.2013

AN "admired and highly accomplished musician" who is still fighting a fear of public places following an accident in a McDonald's was awarded almost €32,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said a fall in the company's outlet at Belgard Road, Tallaght had exacerbated a phobia that Gavin Boxwell, of Avonmore Avenue, Tallaght, had struggled to deal with as a young man.


Barrister John Sweetman told the court that Boxwell, a bass guitarist with a number of bands, including Audio Fever, had fallen and injured his neck and lower back when a chair collapsed under him.

He said Mr Boxwell had suffered considerable anxiety and stress related to the trauma, which had stirred up symptoms of a phobia he had managed to bring under control prior to the accident.

Mr Boxwell said that since the February 2011 accident he had suffered from a fear of public places to such an extent that he had to leave a church wedding service and also walk away from the reception afterwards.

Judge Groarke said that, as a result of the fall, Mr Boxwell suffered severe exacerbation of a pre-existing serious but dormant psychological condition.

While his physical injuries had been resolved within eight months, he continued to suffer from his anxiety disorder.

He had been treated in 2004 for anxiety and panic attacks and had managed to get his condition under control.

The judge said that Mr Boxwell was now unable to enter restaurants without first sending people in to check seating arrangements. He had been unable to complete a gig since the accident and for some time had to give up teaching music.

"This man has been unable to enjoy things we all take for granted and his relationship with his wife and children has suffered," Judge Groarke said.


"He has been going through the wars ... frightened of chairs collapsing under him or of entering premises where he might be required to sit or engage socially with people."

Counsel for McDonald's told the court the restaurant had accepted responsibility for the accident, but believed Mr Boxwell had spoiled his claim by exaggeration by misinforming his doctors and legal representatives and attempting to mislead the court.

Judge Groarke said he could not accept there was any way Mr Boxwell, a talented and admired musician, had attempted to build up a case simply for the sake of compensation.


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