Compensation for injured Emirates Palace guest cut in half by court

Natalie Creane, a Dubai resident from Essex, was originally awarded Dh200,000 in damages.

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ABU DHABI // A woman who claimed to have suffered epileptic seizures after a wardrobe panel fell on her head at a luxury hotel was treated for the condition before the accident, an appeals court has heard.

The Civic Appeals Court ruled to halve the compensation to be paid to British Dubai resident Natalie Creane to Dh100,000.

Ms Creane, from Essex, sued the hotel, its management company and the insurer for Dh70 million, saying the wooden rack in the wardrobe had been improperly installed.

During her stay at the Emirates Palace hotel in July 2008, she was arranging her shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe when a rack, which weighed 2.2 kilograms, fell on her head.

She claimed the accident caused brain damage resulting in epileptic seizures and fainting.

Ms Creane also claimed that she lost her job as a result of her condition and suffered major physical, emotional and psychological pain, and needed constant medical treatment.

But it was proved to the court that there was no link between the injury and her seizures.

The court’s medical committee requested her health file from the UK to check her background, saying the probability of her suffering epileptic seizures from the accident was not more than 2 per cent.

She did not provide the file so the court issued an order to include it in the lawsuit.

It showed that before the accident she was being treated for the condition she claimed to have developed after the rack fell on her.

The court decided that the rack did fall on her head, despite an engineering committee’s report saying it was intentionally dropped, and that it did result in a minor injury that caused her pain and absence from work.

The court also said that she exaggerated the consequences of the accident, because she managed to find a job in another company after the incident and got married.

The hearings were attended by members of the “Justice for Natalie” support group, formed through social media.

hdajani@thenational.ae