It’s your fault, restaurant tells injured patron
A SUNNY lunch party at a hip restaurant took a nightmarish turn when Bernice van Eck was knocked out by a falling metal pole.
The 34-year-old fashion consultant and her friends were eating sushi at one of Cape Town’s top seafood restaurants when a 3.5m pole propping up a canopy covering the patio fell and hit her on the head.
The incident has apparently ruined the once bubbly socialite’s life and has left her with excruciating pain, anxiety, blackouts and amnesia for the past two years.
Van Eck sold her house to pay bills from neurologists, physiotherapists and psychologists and is now locked in a court battle with Blowfish, claiming more than R1million in damages.
In papers filed at the Cape High Court, Van Eck submits that the Blowfish Restaurant in Bloubergstrand was negligent by failing to secure the poles when the incident happened on September 26 2006. But the restaurant has denied liability, claiming she was negligent “by failing to keep a proper lookout for any sign of the pole falling”.
It also pointed out that due to an “enter at own risk” sign at the restaurant’s entrance, she had “accepted the risk of an injury occurring to herself whilst on the premises”.
Brian Singer of the Singer Group — which owns Blowfish — said this week he was “surprised” and had no inkling Blowfish was being hauled to court.
However, Van Eck’s life has changed dramatically since the incident. She has moved in with her parents; and is claiming for medical expenses, general suffering and loss of income.
In court papers she said her injuries hampered her ability to work as an upmarket fashion consultant, and that she may be forced to retire early.
“I get blackouts: I’ll be driving to Hout Bay for a delivery and end up in Muizenberg not knowing what I’m doing there,” she said. “ At times, when I was not allowed to drive, my father drove me to people’s homes . . . ”
The case is on the roll at the Cape High Court tomorrow.
BIG TOPPLE: A tent canopy covers the patio at the Blowfish Restaurant in Bloubergstrand, held up by a tall, unsecured metal pole
INJURED: Bernice van Eck is claiming over R1-million rand in damages