A POLICE OFFICER who fell off a chair has been awarded $200,000 for head injuries.
The Port of Spain City Corporation was ordered by Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh to pay PC Dilraj Ramkissoon's legal cost as well, for a claim he filed against the corporation for failing to provide him with a chair free of defects.
Ramkissoon, 41, was on sentry duty at Port of Spain Central Market on February 8, 2013, when he fell. He was sitting in a swivel chair in a police post when, at about 8 am, one of the wheels broke off. He fell backward and his head struck the wall behind him.
Ramkissoon claimed in his lawsuit, filed by attorney Kevin Ratiram, that he then fell to the floor. He injured his shoulder and hip and said he also suffered prolonged dizziness, headaches and back pain.
His claim was supported by then acting Inspector Glen Charles, whom Ramkissoon quoted as having written to the National Insurance Board about the incident. Charles said in part, "According to the investigative report, the said chair was faulty and PC Ramkissoon did not use the chair inappropriately in any way to contribute to the injuries."
In his claim, Ratiram pleaded on Ramkissoon's behalf that the corporation failed to maintain the chair to ensure it was free from defects. It did not do regular inspections, resulting in Ramkissoon's sitting on a defective chair. Further, the corporation had a duty of care to ensure the wheels did not break off.
The corporation challenged the lawsuit, contending that when Ramkissoon fell, it was primarily due to his diabetic condition, which caused bouts of dizziness. It said the corporation usually replaced all defective furniture at the end of each financial year.
When the matter came up on Monday in the San Fernando High court before Boodoosingh, Ratiram announced that the corporation had agreed to a consent order.
Attorneys Issa Jones and Farai Hove Masaisai represented the corporation.
The corporation was ordered to pay Ramkissoon $200,000, including damages and interest, and $27,000 in legal costs. The judge ordered a stay of execution of the order for 42 days.