Elderly woman sues furniture shop for Sh 2 million after fall

74-year-old Janice Patricia Dickinson in Mombasa Law Courts where she is suing Sunny Daze Furniture for millions of shillings in compensation after she slipped and fell down hurting her head in the premises. She blames the store for negligence of the customers safety [Joackim Bwana, Standard]
An elderly woman has sued a furniture shop after she hurt herself while out shopping.

Janice Patricia Dickinson, 74, Thursday told Senior Resident Magistrate George Kiage that she sustained serious head injuries when she slipped and fell while leaving Sunny Daze Furniture where she had gone to shop for household items.

The court heard that Ms Dickinson (pictured) was directed by staff to exit the shop through the back entrance instead of using the front door.

“They had closed the front entrance so I was forced to use the back door that was muddy and slippery. While I was leaving, I slipped and fell, hitting my head on the ground, and ended up in hospital,” she said.

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Dickinson wants the furniture shop to be found liable for negligence for failing to erect a warning sign notifying customers that the doorway on which she slipped was dangerous.

She told the court she suffered head trauma that had left her using drugs constantly and visiting the hospital since December 8, 2014.

A medical report from the Radiology Department of Aga Khan Hospital Mombasa that was filed in court indicated that Dickinson suffered a severe head injury that resulted in a fracture as well as a solid swelling of clotted blood in the tissues.

Permanent damage

She said she had suffered permanent damage that left her requiring regular medication for severe headaches and physiotherapy for slurred speech.

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“I will further require extensive treatment in the future, the cost of which shall be informed by the treatment. I therefore pray that I be awarded costs of the said future treatment and the monthly expense of Sh19,800 for medication and physiotherapy for a period of 10 years from the date of accident.”

But Sunny Daze Furniture, through lawyer Eunice Kibet, said Dickinson was a trespasser on the premises and that despite being instructed by shop manager Winfred Muoki to use the designated path out of the premises, she hurriedly and carelessly used the back door.

“The plaintiff wandered carelessly into the garden area and, therefore, assumed the risk of injury and damage. She was the author of her own misfortune,” said Ms Kibet in a sworn affidavit filed in court.

The lawyer said the furniture shop had taken all reasonable precautions to ensure Dickinson's safety while she was on the premises, and that it was reasonably expected that she would at all times be careful and obey instructions to guard against any risks.

Cross-examination of witnesses will continue on August 21.  

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