Policewoman settles out of court after fall at wedding

The entrance to the hall
The entrance to the hall

A police officer who toppled off her high heels as she fell out of a wedding has reached an out-of-court agreement over her claim for £40,000 compensation.

Detective Constable Shirley Carr sued the charitable trust which runs Portmoak Village Hall after the accident at a friend’s marriage ceremony left her scarred for life.

Carr raised a claim for £40,000 damages at Perth Sheriff Court after her trip left her with a broken foot and a scar on her chin.

Lawyers for the village hall said it was the off-duty police officer’s own fault because she was drunk, wearing high heels, went out the wrong door and failed to look where she was going.

A proof was due to be heard last week, but solicitor Richard Frenz told the court: “Settlement terms have been agreed and there is a joint motion to discharge the proof.” No further details of the agreement were revealed.

Carr had been a guest at the wedding in Kinnesswood, Kinross-shire, on May 6 2012, and was leaving with her partner Dan Pulfrey and others when she stumbled off a slab.

“They were leaving through an emergency exit door which had been open most of the day and at the evening reception. There was sundry conversation taking place,” her court action stated.

“She was unaware of the drop between the edge of the slab and the surface of the lane. It was dark. There were no warning signs about the step or unexpected drop.

“The edge of the slab was not highlighted. The external light above the exit door was not in working order. She stumbled off the edge of the raised slab and lost her balance.

“She was unable to regain her balance and fell to the ground, injuring herself. As a result of the accident she sustained loss, injury and damage.”

She admitted in court papers that she had downed two glasses of wine and three vodka and colas and had been wearing shoes with three-and-a-half inch high heels at the function.

When she tripped, she broke her left cuboid bone in her foot, sprained her wrists and cut her chin and left temple. Both of her facial injuries left permanent scars.

She was rushed from the wedding to hospital by ambulance and claimed in the court action that the incident had left her “psychologically distressed.”

Part of her claim related to the £1200 cost of two weeks’ rehab treatment at the Castlebrae Police Treatment Centre in Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Carr (36) from Hamilton, also sought £24.30 in petrol costs for travelling to physio appointments and £12.20 for buying a waterproof leg cover.

She said her partner had to help her with cooking, cleaning, bathing and dressing, and that she had been set back in the workplace because she had been unable to apply for a driving job.

But the village hall lodged a robust defence of the claim and stated that “the sum sued for is excessive” and that the accident was her own fault.

“All guests had been directed to exit the premises from the front door,” the charitable trust’s lawyer stated. “She was drunk at the time of leaving the premises.

“She did not exit by the front door. She was wearing high heels. After the accident she apologised for falling down because she had too much to drink.

“She has not suffered any recognised psychiatric injury. Her earnings returned to normal from November 2012. The accident was caused by the sole fault of the pursuer.

“The pursuer had consumed a sufficient volume of alcohol at the time of the accident, such that she was drunk. She failed to keep a proper lookout.”