The 29-year-old Kruuse Nielsen came a cropper as she made her way to a dance lesson in December 2008, a year after she represented Denmark in the Miss World beauty pageant, local newspaper Sandefjords Blad reports.
The model was in the town for a work assignment when she took a tumble in the town square, hitting her head on the ground as she landed on her back.
“I was in terrible pain and froze as I lay there,” the former model told Sandefjord district court on Tuesday, the first day of a two-day trial.
She spent one night in hospital and the following week in bed before returning to Denmark, where doctors found she had suffered nerve damage, along with injuries to her back, hip, shoulder and neck.
Kruuse Nielsen and her lawyer claim the council should have salted what they describe as one of the busiest pedestrian areas in the town.
According to her doctor, Kruuse Nielsen was so badly injured in the fall that she should be considered eligible for a full disability pension.
Sandefjord council, however, argues that the spot where the model lost her footing was not part of the paved surface of the square and, as such, did not qualify for winter maintenance.
“It’s not a footpath; it’s a patch of ground,” said Ivar Otto Myhre, the lawyer representing Sandefjord.
The question of compensation will only arise if the court decides that Sandefjord should have salted the disputed area.
“It’s too early to talk about a concrete amount, but the way her situation is today it could be a considerable compensation claim,” her lawyer, Even Solbraa-Bay, told newspaper Dagbladet.