A 58-year-old woman from Despatch near Port Elizabeth will be paid more than R800 000 in damages from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality after she was seriously injured in March 2013 when she fell into a manhole.
An order was made in the Port Elizabeth High court on Friday after an agreement was reached between Maria Du Plessis of Despatch, represented by Advocate Pieter Mouton, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality’s Uitenhage Administrative Unit.
According to court documents, Du Plessis was walking on a pavement alongside Main Street in Despatch on March 20 when she fell into the uncovered manhole.
The open manhole, which was not marked, constituted a hazard and a potential risk to pedestrians, according to the claim particulars.
The claim outlined the municipality was negligent in that it failed to take any precautions to protect persons walking on the pavement who could have potentially stepped into the hole.
Following her fall, Du Plessis suffered multiple injuries which included grazes on both elbows, a back injury, a deep cut to the left knee, and abrasions on both legs.
The claim indicated that her past medical expenses had cost an average of R6 000, while her future medical expenses were estimated at R150 000. The loss of past and future income was, according to the claim, worth R400 000. Du Plessis was also claiming general damages, which included disability, pain and psychological dysfunction, of R350 000.
In an initial plea, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality denied any liability, including any knowledge of negligence, and said that Du Plessis had been injured as a result of her fall.[Source: iol]