Irish Injury Claims News
Posted: December 19th, 2017
A Defence Forces whistleblower has made a protected disclosure claiming that the children of Air Corps staff died due to toxic chemical personal injury that were inflicted at at Baldonnel airfield.
Earlier this year a document was made available to the public in which a staff member of the Defence Forces said that they had proof in relation to the “the untimely deaths of at least 20 adults…of which I believe died of illness related to unprotected chemical exposure”.
Included in this was proof that the death of a girl just after birth happened due to ventricular septal defect (heart defect), a five year old boy passed away while having surgery to address a ‘malrotated intestine’ and a girl aged 15 lost her life after contracting Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of cancer – her father is also currently suffering from leukaemia.
There have been claims made about the consequences of toxic exposure on the wives of members of the defence forces. A mechanic, who used to work with the Air Corps, discovered that many of these women had suffered more than one miscarriage and in one instance, a woman had eight consecutive miscarriages. Former civil servant Christopher O’Toole was appointed as an independent third party, by the Minister for Defence in 2016, to investigate the allegations
Mr Micheál Martin TD, leader of Fianna Fáil, commented that he feels a Commission of Investigation should be established. Mr Martin said, “The situation is far from satisfactory because with his opening comments the report’s author is essentially saying he cannot fulfill the terms of reference. From the Government’s point of view they established this review, they must have known the terms of reference could not be fulfilled. It’s farcical.”
Though the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have stated that risk assessment processes need will be reconsidered, a whistleblower has said that these measures are “too little, too late”, particularly in the case of those who have lost family members or who have developed life-changing illnesses.
There have been allegations made that these fatalities are caused by organizational failure in the Defence Forces which meant that Air Corps personnel were vulnerable to toxic chemicals. The Defence Forces are now dealing with Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries compensation litigation being taken by staff.
Posted: November 16th, 2017
€20,000 House Accident Compensation has been awarded to a mother and son whose bathroom was splattered in “an explosion of raw sewage”.
Counsel for Patricia Powell and her son Sean Barrister, Andrew Walker, advised the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that both of them had suffered serious personal injuries as a result of “the explosion”. He went on to say that there was “an (sudden) explosion of raw sewage up through the toilet” and that it went all over the floor, walls, bath and hand basin.
Judge Francis Comerford was told that the mother and son were at their house in Hayestown, Rush, Co Dublin, on August 19 2015, when maintenance work was underway on the local drainage and sewage system by the Fingal County Council nearby.
Mr Walker advised Judge Comerford that Ms Powell and her son did an initial clean up before hiring a contract cleaning company to carry out additional work that was required. Despite this a strong smell remained in Ms Powell’s home, resulting in them vacating the residence.
Now residing at Hampton Cove, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, Ms Powell and Sean sued Fingal County Council and the water utility for up to €60,000 damages for psychological distress and trauma suffered, expenses incurred and house relocation charges.
Judge Comerford awarded Ms Powell €12,000 damages and her son €8,000 damages, and their costs, stating that they were entitled to house accident compensation for nuisance as well as a degree of damages for personal injury due to the incident that they experienced.
Posted: October 15th, 2017
A boy (13) has been awarded €25,000 in injury compensation for a Tayto Park fall following High Court Approval for a proposed settlement.
Conor Bolger, who was just eight years old at the time of the fall from a playground tower, of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, took the legal action against Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, Co Meath trading as Tayto Park, through his father Brian Bolger. Due the the injuries he was inflicted with in the fall on March 25 2012, Conor had to undergo a clinical operation to place pins in his lower arm after he fractured his elbow
Mr Bolger’s legal team argued that the playground tower which Conor fell from, one of the main attractions in the park at the time, was overcrowded. They also alleged that the ground around the base of the tower did not have the correct amount of protective wood mulch to prevent injury. This, they said, was due to the absence of constant inspections and safety checks in the area by staff members at Tayto Park. If these had these measures been in place, it was argued, the boy may not have been injured or would have suffered less severe injuries.
Tayto Park (Ashbourne Visitor Centre) through their legal representation David McGrath SC denied these claims and argued that Conor Bolger “just fell” when he was climbing the playground tower, rather than there being any issues with the safety of the tower. The Court was told that the Bolger family were happy to agree to a playground injury compensation settlement of €25,000.
High Court Justice Kevin Cross approved the Tayto Park Fall playground compensation settlement, He said that Conor’s scar, following the medical operation, was not “too upsetting” and also acknowledged that he (Conor) would have had his enjoyment of basketball hampered due to the injuries he suffered.
Posted: August 4th, 2017
Seven personal injury compensation claims against Hertz Rent-a-Car have been upheld following a hearing into an appeal by the car hire company.
The compensation claims against Hertz Rent-a-Car were made following an accident in June 2011, when seven men were injured in a crash between a hired Ford Fiesta and a privately-owned Peugeot 205. The accident happened at a roundabout in Lifford, County Donegal, and – 2015 – the seven injured men were awarded between €5,050 and €9,550 by the Buncrana Circuit Court.
Hertz Rent-a-Car appealed the compensation awards – claiming the injured men were all known to the driver of the hire car and the accident had been set up for the sole purpose of making compensation claims against Hertz Rent-a-Car. The car hire company also alleged the plaintiffs had exaggerated their injuries to maximise the value of their claims.
The appeal was heard in July this year by Mr Justice Charles Meenan at the High Court. At the hearing, the judge was told the allegations of collusion were based on an overheard telephone conversation made by the driver of the hired Ford Fiesta to the driver of the Peugeot 405, in which the negligent driver had addressed the injured driver in friendly tones.
The plaintiffs agreed they knew the driver and each other because of their memberships of the Joseph Plunkett and Charlie D’Arcy Societies, but described the allegations of collusion as outrageous. Judge Meenan said he would reserve his decision until October, but earlier this week upheld the compensation claims against Hertz Rent-a-Car and dismissed the car hire company´s appeal.
Giving his verdict, Judge Meenan said the overheard telephone conversation was insufficient evidence to prove the accident had been set up on purpose and there was no evidence at all to suggest the men’s injuries were fabricated. The judge added: “One would have thought, if the collision was a setup, the information sought in the call would already have been firmly fixed prior to returning the hire car.”
Posted: June 6th, 2017
A High Court judge has awarded €60,000 aggravated injury compensation for tripping on a footpath due to the upset caused by the defence against his claim.
In September 2011, the twenty-four year old jogger was running back to the home he shares with his parents at the Clondalkin caravan site in Dublin, when he tripped on a hole in the footpath and fell – fracturing a knuckle in his right hand. The jogger – who was a keen amateur boxer prior to the accident – has been able to go back into the ring after having surgery on his hand.
As the caravan site is owned by South Dublin County Council, the jogger claimed injury compensation for tripping on a footpath against the local authority – alleging that the footpath had not been maintained to a safe standard. South Dublin County Council denied liability for the jogger´s injury and contested the claim on the basis that his injury had been sustained in a boxing match and not as the jogger claimed.
The claim for injury compensation for tripping on a footpath went to the High Court where it was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr. During the cross-examination of the jogger, the council´s solicitor repeated the claim that the injury had been sustained in a boxing match and noted that the plaintiff claimed his alleged accident occurred one day after he suffered soft tissue injuries in a car accident.
The plaintiff acknowledged that he had been jogging the morning after a car accident, and he called an expert medical witness who testified it was not unusual for somebody in a good physical condition to try and “run off” an injury. Judge Barr said the expert´s testimony was a “credible explanation” for why the plaintiff had been jogging the morning after a car accident and found in the plaintiff´s favour.
The judge awarded the jogger €55.000 injury compensation for tripping on a footpath, plus an extra €5,000 aggravated damages for the upset he had felt for the implication made by South Dublin County Council his claim was fraudulent.
Posted: May 20th, 2017
Several former servicemen are prepared to make a claim against the Defence Forces due to damages to their and their families’ health due to prolonged unprotected exposure at their base.
As a result of an inspection made by the Health Service Authority (HSA) last October, the working conditions experienced by servicemen at the Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, County Dublin, have been the subject of investigation. Furthermore, a number of claims against the Defence Forces were made in 2015 and 2016 by former air corps personnel for unprotected chemical exposure at the facility.
Authorities are investigating the claims that servicemen were exposed to high levels of chemical dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks associated with continued exposure. The more recent claims highlight the serious health damage that several servicemen claim to have sustained from working at the base. The report was initially published by an online newspaper, the Journal.
According to site, a “whistle-blower” has alleged air corps servicemen were not protected against exposure to the chemical-which is widely known to be carcinogenic and mutagenic-at the Baldonnel base. He further claims that, as a result, at least twenty former servicemen have died due to neurological and cancer-related illnesses.
The former air corps mechanic also believes that the partners of personnel based at the aerodrome have suffered fertility issues, and that a higher proportion than average of their children have been born with birth defects or development issues. The claim alleges that five children have died due to their parents´ exposure to toxic chemicals and, the “whistle-blower” claims, many more are living with debilitating illnesses.
The Journal reports the representative association for air corps personnel – PDFORRA – has been attempting to get improve health and safety conditions at the camp for a number of years. The association´s general secretary Gerry Rooney told the Journal: “There’s a tendency in military organisations to focus on carrying out the operation at all costs. It´s fairly clear there was a problem with chemicals and their use.”
There have been several unsuccessful attempts made to obtain comments from the Defence Forces and Department of Defence about the new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces. However Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó’Snodaigh was heavily critical of junior Justice Minister Paul Kehoe. He told the Journal that previous chemical exposure claims had fallen on deaf ears, despite Minister Kehoe stating the health and wellbeing of members of the Defence Forces are a priority for him.
Posted: April 13th, 2017
A class action for the side effects of sodium valproate has been started in France on behalf of children who sustained foetal valproate syndrome in the womb.
Sodium valproate is an active ingredient of the widely used anti-epilepsy drug sold under the trade name Epilim in Ireland, manufactured by French firm Sanofi. Introduced in Ireland in 1987, the drug was initially used in France for epilepsy and bipolar disorder for almost twenty years. The active ingredient stabilises electrical activity in the brain. More recently, the drug has also been successfully prescribed for migraine and chronic pain.
In the 1980s, it was first identified pregnant women taking Epilim break down the sodium valproate, causing it to be absorbed into the bloodstream as valproic acid. The valproic acid can then be transferred to the unborn child in the womb, where it can have an adverse effect on foetal development. A wide range of health issues have been identified in children exposed to valproic acid, including autism and spina bifida, and from a cleft palate to kidney development problems.
In spite side effects of sodium valproate during pregnancy were identified before the drug was introduced in Ireland, it was still cleared for use by pregnant women by health authorities. It is claimed that evidence linking the drug to birth defects was allegedly covered up due by the company as it was not deemed sufficiently “conclusive”. Small scale studies conducted in France had failed to prove a indisputable link between Epilim and the side effects of sodium valproate during pregnancy. However, since 2006, when Sanofi publicly announced the link between congenital birth defects and their drug, France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) has looked deeper into the issue.
ANSM researched the health of 8,701 children born between 2007 and 2014 whose mothers were known to have taken Epilim (sold as Depakine in France) during their pregnancies. The agency believes it has identified up to 4,100 children suffering from the side effects of sodium valproate. Tragically, it discovered that hundreds of stillbirths during the period were also attributable to foetal valproate syndrome.
The results of ANSM´s research have prompted a class action by parents of children affected by the drug against in France against the manufacturer Sanofi. The parents of the children claim that Sanofi did not do enough to warn the medical profession of the risks associated with taking Epilim during pregnancy and the side effects of sodium valproate, and had made large-scale attempts to cover up the evidence of any link.
In Ireland, it is not known how many children have been diagnosed with foetal valproate syndrome. A support group – the FACS Forum – has called on the government to conduct an audit to identify the scale of the problem in Ireland and what support measures are needed for families. For further information, the FACS Forum can be reached via the disability-federation.ie website, or you can speak with a solicitor.
Posted: March 14th, 2017
A woman has been awarded compensation for a back injury she sustained after the chair on which she was sitting in a restaurant collapsed beneath her.
In May 2014, a woman was dining at the China Kitchen Restaurant in Beaumont with friends when a leg became detached from the chair she was sitting on, causing it to collapse.
The woman – a thirty-four year old cleaner from Finglas – twisted to her right side to avoid falling to the floor. However, due to her sudden movement, she felt immediate pain to her lower back. The following day, she visited her GP to discuss the pain. Her doctor prescribed painkillers.
For some time after the incident, she continued to experience pain in her lower back after working or sitting for a long time. The woman sought further medical advice, and underwent a course of physiotherapy sessions. Although the sessions had some effect, she still continues to suffer intermittent pain around her lower back.
The woman sought legal counsel, and claimed compensation for a back injury due to falling from a broken chair against Xwfx Ltd – the registered owner of the China Kitchen Restaurant. She alleged that the restaurant had been negligent in ensuring that the chair was not faulty, and that the waiter that had come to her assistance after her accident had tried to repair the chair rather than replace it, thus setting her up for further injury.
Xwfx Limited failed to answer a request from the Injuries Board for the restaurant´s consent to conduct an assessment of the woman´s claim, and subsequently failed to attend a court hearing after the woman had taken her case to court. By default, the case was found in the woman´s favour. It proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court for an assessment of damages only, where it was heard by Judge Linnane.
After hearing the details of the case, how the accident had occurred, and the consequences of the injury to the woman´s quality of life, Judge Linnane awarded her €17,500 compensation for a back injury due to falling from a broken chair.
Posted: February 17th, 2017
A case of a man suffering from a severe back injury due to a slip and fall accident at work has resulted in liability being split between the man and his employer.
In February 2010, a former employee at the Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary was walking along a path at work when he fell, causing injury to his head and back. He sought legal counsel, and made a claim against Templemore Town Council for his slip and fall injury at work. In the claim, he alleged that the fall was due to sewerage overflowing from the flumes surrounding the inlet channels at the now decommissioned plant.
As a result of his injury, the employee suffered frequent headaches and the back injury caused him a great deal of discomfort. The severity of the injury was such that he was prevented from adequately performing his role at the plant. He was rendered unable return to work. He sought legal counsel, and applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a slip and fall injury at work. However, the defendants-the party responsible for the sewerage plant, Templemore Town Council-denied consent to assess the claim.
The Injuries Board then issued the former employee of the plant with authorisation to pursue his claim in court, as it was unable to be settled in an out-of-court agreement. This authorisation was granted. The case was scheduled to be heard at the High Court by Mr Justice Raymond Fullam. The purpose of the hearing was determine liability and assess damages and amount of compensation that should be awarded. The judge was informed that the employee was working alone in his sector of the plant at the time of the accident, and that no safe system of work had been implemented by the council for the workers at the sewerage plant.
The council defended the claim for compensation for a slip and fall injury at work. Their legal team had argued that one of the employee´s own responsibilities to keep the paths clear of hazards, both for his own safety and his fellow employee’s. They further stated that if he needed additional tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them. The council contested that the employee´s accident had occurred due to his own lack of care and negligence, and thus denied all liability.
Judge Fullam agreed with the defendants that the employee was partially responsible for his accident, and therefore part of the liability for his accident should be attributed to him. However he accepted the employee´s evidence that the pumps in the plant frequently malfunctioned, and he did not have time to clean the paths to an appropriate standard on a regular basis. Judge Fullam also acknowledged that flumes surrounding the inlet channels were in a bad state on the day of the accident.
The judge said that he would have awarded the plaintiff €79,000 compensation for a slip and fall accident at work, however he was reducing the award by 40% to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence. The adjusted settlement of the claim consequently amounted to €47,400.
Posted: December 20th, 2016
A claim for slipping on a wet hotel floor has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court after the plaintiff was attributed 25% contributory negligence.
The claim for slipping on a wet hotel floor was made by a female guest of the Herbert Park Hotel in Ballsbridge, who had been staying at the hotel in August 2014 in order to attend the Dublin Horse Show at the RDS.
On the final afternoon of her stay, she decided to leave Dublin early for the journey back to her home in Kinsale, County Cork, as it was a wet and inclement day, but as she tried to drive her car out of the hotel car park, the barrier failed to raise.
The woman rushed back to the hotel lobby to check whether her car parking ticket had been validated. However, as she ran back into the reception area through the emergency doors, she slipped on the wet floor surface and fell – fracturing her left ankle on three places.
After receiving first aid at the hotel, she was taken by ambulance to St Vincent´s Hospital where she underwent surgery for the triple fracture. She was discharged some days later with a plaster cast protecting her injury, but she is no longer able to walk long distances and will likely suffer from arthritis in the future.
The woman made a claim for slipping on a wet hotel floor against the Herbert Park Hotel and its management company – Sheelin McSharry (Ballsbridge) Ltd. The two defendants denied that the hotel had been negligent in failing to maintain a safe environment, and their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of her claim was denied.
The Injuries Board issued the woman with an authorization to take her claim for slipping on a wet hotel floor to court, and the case was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.
At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that the hotel floor was usually well maintained, but became slippery when guests walked over it with wet shoes. An expert witness for the plaintiff told the judge that a mat placed by the emergency doors would have prevented the accident from happening.
The defendants argued that, had the woman used the main doors as she was supposed to, she would not have slipped on the hotel floor. They also contested that she was rushing and not paying proper attention to her environment, and that she had contributed to her accident and injury through her own lack of care.
At the end of the hearing, Judge Groarke found in the plaintiff´s favour. He said that, despite the generally well-maintained condition of the hotel floor, this was an accident waiting to happen and the plaintiff had sustained “a very nasty and extremely serious injury” as a result.
However, he also agreed that the plaintiff had contributed to the accident through her own lack of care and, after initially awarding her €75,000 compensation in settlement of her claim for slipping on a wet hotel floor, the judge reduced the award by 25% to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence.
Posted: November 20th, 2016
A Tesco customer, who sustained a fracture to her knee after tripping in her local branch, has been awarded a five-figure settlement of compensation.
The woman, who has remained anonymous throughout proceedings though is known to be a thirty-two-year-old nurse from Dublin, sustained the injury in January 2014. Upon visiting her local Tesco Metro, the woman tripped over a six-pack of beer that had been left aside by a customer waiting in a queue.
An ambulance was called to the scene and the woman was transported to St James’ Hospital, where her leg was x-rayed. The scan revealed that she had fractured her knee, and the woman had to have two surgeries and over two years of physiotherapy to regain use of the leg. The same knee had been injured years earlier and had already undergone reconstructive surgery.
The woman made a claim for personal injury compensation through the Injuries Board Ireland, and after the supermarket denied permission for an assessment of compensation to be conducted at the branch, the Board issued the victim with authorisation to pursue the claim through the courts. Earlier this month the liability hearing was held at the Circuit Civil Court.
Mr Justice Raymond Groarke oversaw proceedings at the hearing. He was informed that Tesco was denying liability for the accident as they believed that the victim was negligent in her actions by tripping over the vibrantly-packaged beer. Tesco’s representatives argued that the staff at the branch could not have done anything to prevent her fall.
The victim’s representatives, however, argued that because of the layout of the shop, the woman was left with no choice but to walk through the queue of people waiting to use the self-checkouts. The judge commented that this disorganised system contributed to the accident, noting that if the “customer traffic” was better managed the accident could have been prevented.
Judge Groarke commented that the nature of the fracture was particularly bad as it was still troubling the claimant nearly three years later. The Circuit Court judge found in the claimant’s favour, awarding her €60,000 in compensation. However, he applied a 20% penalty for her contributory negligence.
Posted: October 9th, 2016
A child’s claim for personal injury compensation has been approved by a judge in the Circuit Court.
When Róisín Byrne was just fifteen months old in August 2012, she fell from a window onto an emergency fire space at her parent’s temporary home in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. She suffered extensive injuries to her head and ribs, as well as puncturing her long from the eleven – foot fall. Róisín is now five years old and suffers from visible scarring on her head.
Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy, Róisín’s parents, had previously issued a complaint with the caretaker of the property concerning the same Georgian window from which Róisín fell. They said that it posed a risk to their daughter, as it was not very high off of the floor, and requested that the caretaker install a security mechanism to prevent such an accident.
However, the lock was never installed and, acting on her daughter’s behalf, Chloe made a claim for personal injuries assessment with the Injuries Board. Enda Woods, who owns the accomodation, contended to an assessment by the board and a compensation settlement of €46,000 was calculated.
The assessment by the Injuries Board was accepted by both parties, though as the claim was made on behalf of a minor, it had to be approved by a judge in court before it could be awarded. The value of the assessment was above €15,000, which meant that it had to be heard in the Circuit Court.
Mr Justice Raymond Groarke oversaw proceedings, and after hearing details of Róisín’s fall, he approved the settlement. The money will be held in court funds until Róisín is eighteen years old.
Posted: September 26th, 2016
After many years of criticism, a new Book of Quantum to be published that will provide new guidelines to those settling compensation settlements for personal injury claims.
The Book of Quantum, first published in 2004, is a reference text used by judges, solicitors and insurance companies when settling a claim for compensation. The book contains a wide range of injuries, and with each provides estimates of the amount of compensation to be awarded in each case. It also has subdivisions to account for the severity of the injury and the degree of permanence.
Yet over the intervening decade many have claimed that the book has become outdated and no longer facilitates the award of fair settlements. An increasing number of solicitors and judges no longer use the book, or when they do they only use the highest values presented. Consequently, inconsistencies result.
To take action against the unfair system, senior judges began negotiations with the Courts Services and the Injuries Board with the hope of establishing a new Book of Quantum. A team analysed over 52,000 personal injuries claims made in Ireland between 2013 and 2014 and used the data to create new estimates. The revised Book of Quantum will be published in the coming weeks, and many hope that it will help resolve current inconsistencies.
Amongst other things, new subdivisions have been introduced so that those settling claims can award more fair and appropriate settlements. Additionally, the estimates have been adjusted to account for inflation and the current cost of living.
It is important to note that the Book of Quantum only accounts for physical injuries, but potential claimants may also be compensated for emotional trauma, financial loss or impact on quality of life. It is best to consult an experienced solicitor before commencing any claim for compensation.
Posted: August 5th, 2016
A Dublin boy, who was scarred after an injury in a creche as toddler, has received a settlement of compensation for his injury.
In July 2007, when Calum Lawless was just three years old, he was playing at the Happy Days Creche in Dublin. As the little boy was running around, he tripped over uneven flooring and fell on his face. As a result, he was bleeding very heavily from a three-centimetre laceration above his eye. Workers at the nursery brought him to the VHI Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University, and his wound was closed with steri-strips.
Calum’s eye did not open for nearly a week after the accident, and his face remained bruised for many months. Now aged twelve, Calum still has a scar above his eye from the injury. The location means that it is uncorrectable with plastic surgery.
Lorraine Lawless, Calum’s mother, consulted a solicitor and proceeded to claim for personal injury compensation on her son’s behalf. In the claim, which was made against the Happy Days Creche, accused the facility of breaching its duty of care towards her son by neglecting to provide a safe environment in which he could play.
The Dublin creche admitted their guilt and offered the boy a settlement of compensation worth €45,000. However, as the claim was made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to be approved by a judge.
The case was heard at the Civil Circuit Court in Dublin earlier this week, where Mr Justice James O’Donohoe was detailed the nature of Calum’s injury. Judge O’Donohoe proceeded to approve the settlement of compensation.
Posted: July 7th, 2016
The High Court of Dublin has approved a six figure settlement of compensation for a teenager who scarred in a childhood holiday accident.
The accident occurred in August 2009 at the Slattery Caravan Park in Lahinch, Co. Clare. Shauna Burke was visiting the park with her family, and as the ten-year-old was playing with her friends. Whist she was running, Shauna gashed her leg on a nail that was jutting from a pole.
The nail caused a deep cut to Shauna’s leg just above her knee. Despite immediate medical attention, she has been left with a very visible scar. Acting on his daughter’s behalf, John Burke made a claim for personal injury compensation whilst on holiday against Austin Francis Slattery, the owner of the facility.
In the claim, it was alleged that Slattery was aware of the nail and the danger it posed, as it was located in an area popular with visitors. Though Slattery denied that he was negligent, he did offer €106,000 in compensation to account for Shauna’s suffering and the cost of future medical care.
However, as Shauna is a minor, the claim had to go the the High Court for approval before it could be award. The case was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr, who was given details of Shauna’s injury and its impact.
Judge Barr inspected Shauna’s leg and proceeded to approve the settlement. Shauna is now seventeen, so the settlement will be paid into court funds until she reaches the age of eighteen.
Posted: June 17th, 2016
The United Nations’ Human Rights Committee has recently announced that the Irish government should alter the Eighth Amendment such that those carrying a foetus with fatal conditions will be allowed access to an abortion in Ireland.
Though there was a recent change to the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution – which protects the life of the unborn – in 2013 to allow terminations should it be seen that the mother’s life is at risk, there are still many cases in which an abortion is not allowed. For example, if the foetus has fatal abnormalities which will lead to a miscarriage or death shortly after birth, the mother is not allowed to abort. Additionally, the ban is enforced on pregnancies that are the result of incest or rape.
Many women are negatively affected by such restrictions – for example, Amanda Mellet was twenty-one weeks pregnant when she was told that her foetus would die either in utero or very shortly after its birth. Not wanting to endure either of these possibilities, Amanda decided to travel to the United Kingdom – a common destination for Irish women seeking abortions.
Amanda has testified that this was a very upsetting and traumatic experience, as she was not easily able to access information on the procedure before going to the UK. Additionally, she was not entitled to bereavement counselling after the termination took place.
Dissatisfied with her ordeal, Amanda decided to set up “Termination for Medical Reasons”, an organisation that campaigned for a change to Irish law. The organisation made a complaint to the UNHRC, claiming that the ban on terminations for medical reasons was cruel and degrading.
The committee found in Amanda’s favour, noting that her wellbeing was endangered by the law. They found that Amanda should be compensated for the State’s failure to allow her an abortion “in the familiar environment of her own country and under the care of health professionals whom she knew and trusted.”
The UN also recommended that Ireland should introduce laws, or modify existing ones, to ensure that women “effective, timely and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination in Ireland, and take measures to ensure that healthcare providers are in a position to supply full information on safe abortion services without fearing being subjected to criminal sanctions.”
Posted: May 7th, 2016
The High Court of Dublin have awarded a teenage girl a final seven-figure settlement of compensation because of injuries she sustained due to a delay in her delivery.
Mary Malee, now aged sixteen from Mayo, was born with damage to her brain on the 11th October 1999 at the Mayo General Hospital. Despite medical professionals dedicating a slow heartbeat, there was a delay of eighty minutes in her delivery because of a lack of available consultants. As such, by the time the emergency Caesarean section was carried out, Mary had been deprived of oxygen.
Mary was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is reliant on a wheelchair for movement. Acting on her daughter’s behalf, Maura Malee made a claim for birth injury compensation against the Health Service Executives and Mayo General Hospital. In the claim, she alleged that – had a consultant been made available upon the initial diagnosis of a foetal distress – there would not have been a delay in Mary’s delivery and she would not have sustained her injuries.
A €1.5 million interim settlement of compensation was awarded by Ms Justice Mary Irvine in March 2014. The case was then adjourned for two years in anticipation of the introduction of new legislation that would facilitate structured, periodic payments. However, no such system was introduced and the Malees returned to the High Court for the approval of a final €5.56 million compensation settlement.
At the hearing, which was overseen by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, a representative for Mayo General Hospital read an apology to Mary, which expressed regret for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth”. The settlement of cerebral palsy compensation was then approved by Judge Kelly.
The judge also commended Mary for her heroism in dealing with the challenges of her condition. After the announcement of the settlement, Mary commented to a press reporter that “Cerebral palsy won’t kill me but I have to learn to live with it … it’s for life. This shouldn’t have happened to me and others like me. Justice has been done and I’m bringing closure to this, we can move on with our lives”.
Posted: April 12th, 2016
A High Court judge has awarded a hotel waitress a six-figure settlement of compensation after deeming that the jugs she was required to use were not fit for their purpose.
The accident occurred in the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, Co. Leitrim where Sophie Caillaud was working as a waitress. The forty-two year-old was filling a glass jug when it shattered in her hand, causing a deep gash to her thumb.
Despite surgery being performed on Sophie’s thumb shortly after the accident to try and help heal any soft-tissue damage, Sophie has still not regained full sensation and strength in her injured digit. Even now, she still has difficulty engaging in some basic, day-to-day tasks.
As she recovered, Sophie sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim for compensation against her former employers, the Lough Rynn Hotel, and the manufacturers and suppliers of the glass jug, Utopia Tableware Ltd and Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd..
The claim for workplace compensation was, however, contested by the defendants, who argued that the amount of compensation being sought was too high. They also argued that Sophie was acted negligently, and caused her own injuries.
The case continued, but neither negotiations or the Injuries Board could bring the parties into agreement. As such, the case was heard in the High Court of Dublin, where it was overseen by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross was told that other staff members before Sophie had also reported injuries involving the same glass jugs shattering.
An expert witness explained to the court of how the jugs were weakened at their joint between the thin body and thick handle because of repeated hot-and-cold cycles in the dishwasher. This confirmed that the glass jugs were not fit for purpose and safe for use.
Sophie also gave evidence at the hearing, after which Judge Cross dismissed the allegations made by the defence that she was either exaggerating the extent of her injury or had caused it herself by acting negligently. Before awarding her a compensation settlement of €500,000, Judge Cross commented that he had found Sophie “entirely genuine”.
Posted: March 20th, 2016
The six-figure settlement of compensation was awarded to the former employee after he sustained lifting injuries whilst working in a distribution centre in Dublin.
The worker, forty-seven year-old Slovakian Salmovir Spes, sustained the injuries whilst working as a lifter, or “picker” at the Windcanton Distribution Centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. His job entailed lifting (“picking”) goods from palettes and transferring them to trolleys. The goods are then transporter to the various twenty-four hour Supervalu supermarkets in the area.
Salmovir was injured in October 2011 when he was attempting to transfer a pallet of yogurts to a trolley. Upon lifting them, he felt a sharp pain in his back. He sought medical attention and then rested his back, but the pain was so severe he could not return to work. He remained on sick leave until 2014, at which point he was made redundant.
Salmovir consulted solicitors on his situation before proceeding to make a claim for the workplace injury. However, when the Injuries Board requested permission from his employers, Windcanton, to conduct an investigation of the claim, they withheld their consent. Salmovir was then allowed to proceed with his claim, and it was heard earlier this month by Mr Justice Anthony Barr in the Dublin High Courts.
At the hearing, evidence was given that alleged Salmovir was not adequately trained to carry out his work that meant he could meet any assigned quotas in a safe and timely manner. In a shift that lasts nearly eight hours, Salmovir was expected to do around 1,200 “picks”, and he alleges that his nationality meant he was chosen specifically to do any heavy manual lifting.
The defence disputed these claims, saying not only that Salmovir’s nationality was irrelevant to the work assigned to him and that he was treated as any other employee was, but that he had been trained in the correct procedures for his work. The company also claim they provide “refresher” courses for their employees regularly. They argued that Salmovir had caused his own injuries by taking short-cuts.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Barr found in Salmovir’s favour. He said he was satisfied that Salmovir’s injuries were caused by a lack of training, as well as an unreasonably high quota that put pressure on Salmovir to take short cuts. However, the judge added that he found no evidence to support allegations of discrimination, or that Salmovir caused his own injury.
The judge awarded Salmovir €153,150, commenting that he believed that the former lifter had suffered a significant injury to his lower back that “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life” and affected other day-to-day activities.
Posted: February 7th, 2016
A woman has been compensated for injuries she sustained whilst attending a Dublin bar.
Whilst celebrating a 30th birthday on the 28th May 2011, Sharon Kelly – herself aged forty-four- attended the Arc Café Bar on the Fonthill Road, Dublin. However, as she was trying to cross the busy floor in the lobby to access the bathrooms, Ms Kelly slipped on some liquid and disclosed her thumb.
Ms Kelly’s injury pained her greatly, and caused a loss of sensation in the digit as well as affecting her ability to grip. After seeking legal counsel, Ms Kelly made a claim for her bar injury against Lackabeg Limited, who trades as the Arc Café Bar. In her claim she stated that their failure to monitor the floor and take action when there was liquid on it caused her injury.
However, Lackabeg Limited denied any liability for Ms Kelly’s injury, and counter-argued that the bar had indeed employed a comprehensive cleaning system. They claimed that Ms Kelly was drinking for more than five hours that evening, and that combined with the four-inch heels she was wearing actually caused her fall.
As liability was being contested, the Injuries Board told Ms Kelly that she could proceed to the courts with her injury claim. The case was heard in Dublin’s High Court, where Mr Justice Anthony Barr oversaw proceedings.
Judge Barr was informed that the liquid that was on the floor was either from a customer spilling their drink or from some walking it out of the ladies’ toilet. Two other women testified that the conditions in the ladies’ bathrooms that night had been substandard, and complaints had been made to the staff.
CCTV footage of the accident was also shown, where it could be seen that there was a lot of people at the bar that night on account of a two-for-one drinks promotion and a Champions League match being shown. Judge Barr said he believed there was liquid on the floor where Ms Kelly fell.
Judge Barr commented “People cannot be expected to look at the floor when walking across a bar. She was entitled to expect that the floor was dry and it was safe for her to walk across it.” He then awarded Ms Kelly €90,000 in compensation.
Posted: January 19th, 2016
The Circuit Civil Court has approved two settlements of compensation for young sisters that were caught up in a fake armed robbery.
The incident occurred in Dundrum Shopping Centre in March 2013, when Abbie and Casie Kennedy (aged eleven and eight respectively) were shopping in H&M with their mother. Whilst in the changing rooms, they heard voices shouting at staff in the clothes shop, swearing and ordering them to the ground.
The family remained in the changing rooms, entirely unaware that the scene they were hearing was entirely staged as part of a training exercise for staff. The family remained in the room until the shouting stopped, at which point the girls’ mother, Claudia, tried to look outside of the door. However, she could not see anything and told her daughters to stay put until she could hear other voices.
Eventually, the family exited the room, at which point Claudia questioned the manager as to what had happened. She was furious that nobody had thought to check for customers in the changing rooms, and as such rang the head office in England with her complaint.
However, the retailer were unsympathetic and offered a curt apology with a €30 voucher. Unsatisfied, Claudia made a claim for compensation for the trauma she and her daughters endured against H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd, claiming that she and her daughters feared for their lives.
H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd made an offer of compensation to each of Claudia’s daughters, offering €8,000 to Casie and €10,000 to Abbie. Judge Rory MacCable oversaw proceedings when the case progressed to the Circuit Civil Court, where he heard that the family were happy to accept the offer.
Posted: December 22nd, 2015
A fourteen year old boy has been awarded a five-figure settlement of compensation for emotional trauma inflicted upon him when a fire broke out in his family home.
When a Hotpoint dishwasher caught fire in the evening of the 26th June 2010, the house owned by the Monds family in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath was destroyed. Luckily, each of the family’s four children were successfully and safely removed from the burning house by their parents, though they could not live in their family home until spring 2011
Aaron, the nine year old son of the couple, was severely unsettled by the fire. Already known to suffer from mild intellectual disabilities, the fire in his house caused him to develop a phobia of all fires and triggered obsessive compulsive disorder for years after the event, with symptoms including repeatedly checking that electrical appliances are unplugged.
As Aaron was not of legal age, he made a claim for compensation through his father Henry Monds for the emotional trauma he sustained in the house fire against the manufacturer of the dishwasher, Indesit UK Ltd.. An investigation into the circumstances of the blaze was attributed to the appliance, and as such liability was admitted by the company. The claim then proceeded to the High Court.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton oversaw proceedings at the hearing, and was given accounts of Aaron’s night terrors concerning fire and burning, years after the event occurred. The judge was also told that therapy was alleviating the condition, though he still suffered from anxiety attacks that it would happen again.
The judge accepted the evidence that Aaron was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the fire. Aaron was awarded a €51,244 settlement which the court ordered to be paid into court funds until Aaron reached eighteen.
Posted: November 9th, 2015
The HSE have lost an appeal against the amount of compensation paid to a cerebral palsy sufferer, though the case may still proceed to the Supreme Court for a final resolution.
When Gill Russell, from Aghada in Co. Cork, was born on the 12th July 2006, he was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy as a result of a “prolonged and totally chaotic” birth when he was delivered at the Erinville Hospital. Karen Russell, Gill’s mother, then proceeded to make a claim for birth injury compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE admitted liability for Gill’s injuries, and then an interim compensation settlement was awarded by the High Court until a dull assessment could be carried out.
In December of last year, the drawn-out claim was eventually resolved for a total of €13.5 million, meaning that this settlement was the largest ever awarded by the High Court for cerebral palsy damages. However, the HSE decided to appeal the award, and claimed that the judge presiding over the case – Mr Justice Kevin Cross – had not used an appropriate rate of interest in his calculations. The HSE stated that Judge Cross had used a lower rate of interest than that which was usual in the Irish courts when dealing with such a case.
When the case was heard at the Appeals Court earlier this month, a panel of three judges upheld the settlement made by the High Court. They said that, if a higher rate of interest were used, the result would mean the injured party would be forced to take “unjust and unacceptable” risks with their investment to ensure future security.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine, one of the three judges on the panel, said that it was not for the courts to determine how the recipient of an award was to invest it. She also commented that the Russell family and the HSE would not be in this circumstance if the government had enforced adequate legislation to allow for periodic payments.
Despite the decision of the Appeals Court, the case is unlikely to have come to a full conclusion. Some spectators warn that this award of compensation has set a precedent that could cost the State Claims Agency and insurers up to €10 billion over the next decade. The HSE has indicated its intentions to bring the case to the Supreme Court.
Posted: October 15th, 2015
A bar in Dublin has been found to be liable by the Circuit Civil Court for a hand injury sustained by a painter and decorator.
The claim for compensation was made by thirty-one year-old David O’Keefe, who fell whilst watching the All Ireland Football Final in 2011 at the Woolshed Baa & Grill. The bar, located on Parnell Street, was very full and David fell whilst trying to make his way to the bathrooms.
Yet there was a wet area of the floor en route to the bathrooms that David did not see, causing him to fall and cut his hand on a piece of glass left on the floor. Staff at the bar performed first aid, and David then attended the Accident & Emergency Department of St. James’ Hospital, where he received further treatment.
David then sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim for compensation against the Woolshed Baa & Grill. He alleged that the staff in the bar had allowed glasses to perilously stack up, and that one of these stacks had probably fallen over and broken. He also claimed that any drinks that were spilt were left unattended and that the staff did not engage in adequate cleaning protocol.
However, Woodshed Baa & Grill denied any liability in David’s injuries whilst also refusing consent to the Injuries Board assessment of the claim. As such, David was granted authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue his claim though the courts. A hearing to establish liability was held earlier this month in the Circuit Civil Court, Dublin, by Judge Jacqueline Linnane.
During the hearing, legal representatives for the bar argued that David sustained his injuries when his friends tried to lift him whilst he was holding a glass. The owner of the facility also testified that his staff did follow adequate cleaning procedures on the day of the accident, but that the accident report that had been filled had since been lost.
Judge Linnane found in David’s favour, stating that the bar would have been full “to the point that one would not have been able to see that the floor was wet”. She proceeded to award David a €20,000 compensation settlement for his injured hand.
Posted: September 5th, 2015
A man, who was gravely injured after he fell from a ladder whilst working in a family company, has resolved his claim for work injury compensation.
The accident occurred on the 22nd March 2011 when Michael Brady, aged forty-seven, was working at the Philip Brady Building Contractors Ltd in Naas. As part of his work, he was required to remove some vegetation that was clogging a gutter. His father, Philip Brady Senior (a relation to the owner of the company) had momentarily left Michael at work on top of the sixteen foot ladder.
However, when Philip returned, he found his son lying unresponsive at the bottom of the ladder. After being rushed to hospital, Michael had emergency surgery on his brain and has since had more neurosurgery, as well as operations to reconstruct parts of his face. Despite the surgeries, Michael suffered extensive brain damage and is reliant on round-the-clock care to live. He also has impaired vision as a result of the fall.
It was determined that the brain damage left Michael unable to represent himself in court, and as such Philip Brady Senior made a claim for work injury compensation against his employers. In the claim, Philip alleged that the ladder Michael was asked to use to clear the gutter did not provide adequate support or safeguards to prevent a fall.
The family construction company initially denied liability for Michael’s injuries. Though they had prepared a full defence, shortly before the High Court hearing the judge was told that an offer of €1.5 million in work injury compensation had been made to Michael. At the hearing, the judge approved the settlement upon hearing the details of the case.
Posted: August 10th, 2015
The Ombudsman for Children have criticised the Health Service Executive’s Child and Family Service for a lack of monitoring of children in care homes.
Speaking on RTE’s “Morning Ireland” earlier this week, Niall Muldoon – the Ombudsman for Children – made comments that criticised the HSE’s Child and Family Service (named “TUSLA”). In his comment, he said that the service has knowing let voluntary and private residential care homes for children remain open when the service knows the operators have breached statutory regulations.
The Ombudsman says the shortage of staff in the Child and Family Service as well as “inconsistencies and discrepancies” in the standards of monitoring by the service, or the blatant failure to monitor. Investigations by his own office, he claimed, uncovered a delay of fourteen months after a care home’s registration for a formal inspection. He claims that this placed the children involved in a “vulnerable situation”.
Mr Muldoon explained on the programme that the inconsistencies were because of the development of four regions within the HSE, which developed over twenty years. Over the years, each region had set up its own policies, a concern for the Ombudsman. Mr Muldoon has said that the same standards of care should be employed by care homes across the country.
The Ombudsman made a proposal to merge TUSLA into the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the body that monitors standards in residential homes run by the state. The proposal was made such that the agency could be run independently, following guidelines laid out in the Ryan Report of 2009.
Brian Lee, TUSLA’s Director of Quality Assurance, commented on RTE’s News at One that “We are working very closing with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and with HIQA to move this along. There’s nothing impeding us from supporting this process but it’s in the hands of the Department and HIQA to move this forward.”
Posted: July 25th, 2015
The offer of a €15,000 settlement of compensation for a young girl who was psychologically traumatised at a crèche was not approved by a Circuit Court judge, who deemed it too low.
Aged just eight months, Emilie Kiely – now four from Sandyford in Dublin – began attending the Giraffe Crèche in Stepaside in 2011. By September 2012, she was moved to the “Toddlers’ Room”, but this seemed to cause her great stress and anxiety. In the morning, her parents would notice her becoming very upset as they prepared to take her to crèche.
Yet in May 2013, RTE aired a documentary on the childcare facility as part of its Prime Time programme. The documentary, entitled “A Breach of Trust”, showed clips of carers in the crèche mistreating its charges, including one minder – who was responsible for Emilie – screaming at the children. As soon as Emilie’s parents saw this, they withdrew Emilie from the facility.
Upon seeking legal counsel, Emilie’s father, John, made a claim for psychological trauma on behalf of his daughter. In the claim, he alleged that Emilie’s change in behaviour was a direct consequence of her movement to the Toddlers’ Room. She would cry “No crèche” in the morning and had experienced terror, extreme upset and trauma in the facility. He alleged that he childcare facility had breached its duty of care to his daughter.
Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre contested the allegations, though did make an offer of psychological trauma to Emilie worth €15,000. This was made without an admission of liability, and as the claim was made on behalf of a minor, it had to be presented to a judge for approval.
Judge James O’Donoghue heard the case at the Circuit Civil Court, though he proposed that a higher settlement of compensation should be offered to Emilie, given the extent to which she suffered at the crèche.
Judge O’Donoghue then ruled that the case was to have a full hearing before a different judge. This will impact the rulings of up to twenty-five other claims for psychological trauma made on behalf of other children in the facility against the negligent crèche. Additionally, many parents – including Emilie’s – have commenced legal action against Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre for their breach of contract.
Posted: June 12th, 2015
A judge in Dublin’s High Court has awarded a man compensation for his hit and run injury claim after an agreement was reached where liability for the injury was divided.
The accident occurred on the 2nd November 2012 when Anthony Driver – aged twenty-five from Enniskerry in Co. Wicklow – was hit by car at the junction between Sidmonton Avenue and Meath Road. He had been waiting at the junction for a friend to take him home, and the vehicle was never identified.
Anthony cannot clearly remember the incident, only that the car briefly pulled over after the collision before then driving off without calling for assistance or checking that he was okay.
Later that night, Anthony was discovered lying beside the road by a passing Garda. He was subsequently taken to hospital, where he received treatment for fractures to his spine and ribs, as well an the many extensive internal injuries he sustained – including a lacerated liver.
Anthony stayed in hospital for a further nine days, four of which he spent in an intensive care unit. Once he was discharged, he still experienced severe pain in his back and difficulties eating.
The driver of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run was never identified. As such, Anthony made a claim for compensation against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Ireland (MIBI). This organisation is responsible for compensating victims of car accidents where the perpetrator is unidentifiable or uninsured.
However, MIBI contested Anthony’s claim for compensation. This was based on the description of Anthony as “grossly intoxicated” by the Garda who found him. The MIBI have said that, given his intoxication, it is likely that Anthony was responsible for his own injuries.
The Injuries Board issued Anthony with authorisation to pursue his claim for compensation through the courts as the liability was not determined through negotiations.
Earlier this month, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns heard the case at the High Court of Dublin. Anthony admitted to the judge that he was drunk when the accident occurred. The MIBI reiterated that, given this fact, some of the liability for the accident should be assigned to Anthony.
After a brief adjournment, Judge Kearns informed Anthony that he had been assigned seventy-five percent of the liability for the accident. He was then awarded an undisclosed settlement of compensation.
Posted: May 6th, 2015
A High Court judge has approved a €2.1 million interim settlement of compensation after hearing of birth injuries due to the use of Syntocinon.
In April, the State Claims Agency´s clinical risk advisor – Mary Godfrey – called for national guidelines to be introduced for the use of Syntocinon during labour to improve outcomes for mothers and babies. Ms Godfrey´s appeal came after the Agency released a report showing an alarming lack of consistency in the way Syntocinon is used in maternity units throughout Ireland.
Syntocinon is the brand name of oxytocin – a synthetic drug frequently used in maternity units to induce labour and accelerate contractions. For many expectant mothers it speeds up childbirth, helps the womb to contract after their child has been born and prevents excessive bleeding. However, Syntocinon can also cause adverse reactions with other medication and escalate foetal distress when an infant is deprived of oxygen in the womb.
A little over two weeks after Ms Godfrey raised concerns about the use of Syntocinon, a case came before the High Court concerning how a young boy – Patrick Brannigan of Castleblayeny, County Monaghan – suffered birth injuries due to the use of Syntocinon at Cavan General Hospital in 2007. Patrick suffers from dyskinetic cerebral palsy, is barely able to communicate and is confined to a wheelchair.
The court heard how, after a CTG trace had shown indications of foetal distress, Syntocinon had been administered to Patrick´s mother – Niamh – to bring forward her labour. However, the increased level of contractions brought on by the drug resulted in Patrick being deprived of oxygen and suffering devastating birth injuries due to the use of Syntocinon.
Through his mother Patrick made a claim for compensation for birth injuries due to the use of Syntocinon and Cavan General Hospital admitted liability. A €2.1 interim settlement of compensation was negotiated and approved by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. Judge Cross then adjourned the claim for birth injuries due to the use of Syntocinon for three years so that reports can be compiled on Patrick´s future needs.
Posted: April 2nd, 2015
A €25,000 settlement of compensation for an accident on the Luas that happened seven years ago has been approved in the Circuit Civil Court.
On February 14 2008, Aoife Heron sustained a head injury as she, her mother and her younger sister were boarding a Luas at Connelly Street towards Jervis Street. Aoife – who was only six years old at the time – boarded the Luas ahead of her mother Elaine. But, as Elaine started to board with a buggy containing her younger daughter, the automatic doors of the Luas closed – trapping the buggy between them.
As there was an obstacle to the doors closing, they automatically opened and Elaine was able to retrieve the buggy. Aoife, who was still inside the carriage, attempted to join her mother and sister on the platform; but as she went to disembark, the automatic doors closed once again – trapping the little girl´s head between them and causing her to suffer a traumatic head injury.
Aoife was treated at the scene by an ambulance crew and later attended the family GP, where she was diagnosed with bruising and a soft tissue injury. As a result of her injury, Aoife – now thirteen years of age – has a slight scar on her head and has developed a fear of travelling on the Luas. Doctors believe that Aoife might have to undergo psychotherapy in the future to resolve her phobia.
Elaine Heron claimed compensation for an accident on the Luas against the operators of the service – Veolia Transport Dublin Light Rail Ltd – on behalf of her daughter, claiming that the transport company had been negligent and failed in its duty of care. Veolia denied its liability for Aoife´s head injury and prepared a full defence against the claim.
However, after a period of negotiation, a settlement of compensation for an accident on the Luas was agreed, and the settlement was presented to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court for approval. The judge was told the circumstances of Aoife´s accident and approved the settlement of compensation for an accident on the Luas – wishing the young girl all the best for the future.
Posted: February 21st, 2015
A man who slipped and fell on the steps of a leading Dublin restaurant, fracturing his foot in the accident, has resolved his restaurant slip and fall injury claim at the High Court.
On 19th February 2011, John Reilly from Dun Laoghaire in Dublin was eating with friends at the city´s Fallon and Byrne restaurant in Exchequer Street when he went outside to smoke a cigarette. As he was returning, John slipped on the steps leading up to the restaurant which had been made wet by the rain.
John´s leg fell between the steps and he fractured two bones in his left foot, causing him immense pain. After receiving treatment for his injury, John sought legal advice and made a restaurant slip and fall injury claim against Fallon and Byrne on the grounds that the restaurant had failed to provide any grip on the stairs to reduce the risk of injury when the stairs were wet.
Fallon and Byrne denied its liability for John´s injuries and contested the restaurant slip and fall injury claim. They said that John had been outside for a cigarette on several previous occasions and had negotiated the stairs without injury each time. The restaurant denied that the stairs were wet and claimed that John had shown a “cavalier attitude” when returning to the restaurant the final time – skipping up the steps two at a time before slipping and fracturing his foot.
The case went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Michael Moriarty. The judge was told the circumstances of John´s accident and that a €51,375 settlement of his restaurant slip and fall injury claim had been agreed subject to liability being determined. After a day of evidence, Judge Moriarty said he would adjourn the case overnight to consider his opinion.
When the court reconvened, Judge Moriarty found in John´s favour, but said that he had to take some of the responsibility for his accident due to his contributory negligence. The judge assigned one-third liability to John and reduced the settlement of his restaurant slip and fall injury claim to €35,250.
Posted: November 4th, 2014
The Financial Services Ombudsman has been told by an Appeal Court judge to review an increase in a mortgage interest rate which a Dublin couple is claiming to be unfair.
Kenneth and Donna Millar had originally complained to the Ombudsman that the Danske Bank had increased the interest rate on their six variable rate investment mortgages and on the mortgage on their family home to 4 percent at a time when the Central European Bank´s interest rates were at an all-time low.
The couple argued that, under the terms of their variable rate mortgage, their lender was only entitled to change the interest rate on their mortgages “in line with general market interest rates”. However, when the Millars asked the Danske Bank to review the increase in their mortgage interest rate, they were told that the rates set by the European Central Bank were irrelevant.
With their complaint to the Ombudsman, the Millars – from Portmarnock, County Dublin – included an explanation of how their variable rate mortgages were supposed to operate based on information that had been provided to them at the time the first of the mortgages was taken on with the National Irish Bank in March 2009 prior to its subsequent takeover by Danske Bank.
The literature stated that the interest rate borrowers paid on National Irish Bank variable rate mortgages change in line with any fluctuations in general interest rates. The explanation went on to say: “When interest rates go down your monthly payments do likewise. However, when interest rates rise, your monthly payments will increase too”.
After a review of the increase in mortgage interest rate, the Ombudsman rejected the Millars´ complaint on the grounds that the relevant clause in their finance agreements stated that the bank would alter the rate “in response to market conditions” and not “in line with general market interest rates”. The Ombudsman ruled that this distinction was significant and released Danske Bank from maintaining interest rates in line with those issued by the European Central Bank.
As they were not happy with the review, Kenneth and Donna Millar appealed the Ombudsman´s decision to the High Court, where Mr Justice Gerard Hogan found fault with the decision of the Financial Services Ombudsman. The judge said that text of the clause was ambiguous in the “general factual background against which the contract was entered into” and that the Millars were justified in objecting to the mortgage interest rate increase.
Judge Hogan dismissed the Ombudsman´s original decision and said that the Service should review the increase in the mortgage interest rate once again “in a manner not inconsistent with this judgement”.
The Consequences of Judge Hogan´s Decision for Other Variable Rate Mortgage Holders
Judge Hogan´s instruction to the Ombudsman to review the increase in the mortgage interest rate has implications for approximately 207,000 mortgage holders in Ireland who have variable rate mortgages like the Millar´s – almost 30 percent of the Irish mortgage market – and who now have a precedent against which to challenge a mortgage interest rate increase.
Significantly Mr Justice Gerard Hogan did not rule that Danske Bank had acted unfairly or were in breach of contract, or instruct the Millars´ lender to reveal how the couple was risk-assessed. Furthermore, the Millars have always been up-to-date with the repayments on their seven mortgages, and the verdict in this case means that other variable rate mortgage holders will have to find fault with their mortgage agreement if they want a review of an increase in a mortgage interest rate.
If you are one of the 30 percent of the Irish mortgage market that has a variable rate mortgage, and you would like to know more about reviewing an increase in a mortgage interest rate, please do not hesitate to contact our Legal Advice Centre to speak with an expert on contract law. Although we cannot guarantee a successful conclusion, we will be able to advise you of your rights and how it may be possible to initiate a review of any increase in your mortgage interest rate.
Posted: October 8th, 2014
A man, who fractured his arm and suffered facial injuries due to falling down a stairwell at his home, has settled his injury compensation claim against Cork City Council for an undisclosed sum.
On 9th May 2009, William Busteed from Cork City was leaving his council apartment to catch a flight to Majorca when he slipped on a wet stair of the complex´s stairway and fell badly – landing at the foot of the stairwell with injuries to his face and left shoulder, and a fractured left arm. Instead of taking fifty-nine year old William to the airport, his waiting taxi took him to Cork University Hospital, where he received treatment for his injuries.
William made an injury compensation claim against Cork City Council, alleging that the wet stairs on his complex were due to a faulty smoke alarm. He claimed that the smoke alarm would go off at least twice a week, subsequently causing vents above the stairway to open up and allow the rain through. He claimed that he had reported the fault to the Cork City Council, but the council had failed to attend to the hazard
Cork City Council denied its liability for William´s injuries and produced evidence to show that William´s complaints had been dealt with within 48 hours of them being made. The council claimed that William had slipped and fallen on the stairway due to being intoxicated and in a hurry to get to the airport. The council also produced the medical report from when William attended Cork University Hospital which showed a high level of alcohol in his blood content.
William´s injury compensation claim against Cork City Council went to the High Court where it was heard before Mr Justice Daniel Herbert. During the first day of the hearing William denied that he had been drinking excessively, and he told the judge he was aware airlines would not allow passengers to fly in an intoxicated condition. William said that he would not put himself into that position and claimed he had drunk no more than two small bottles of beer on the day in question.
After the first day of testimony, the injury compensation claim against Cork City Council was due to continue; but, before proceedings could start on Day 2, Judge Herbert was told that an undisclosed settlement of William´s claim had been agreed and that the case could be struck out.
Posted: August 22nd, 2014
A man from County Wicklow has resolved his refuse truck injury claim against Dublin City Council after a High Court judge awarded him almost €5 million compensation.
Padraig Hearns (39) – a first class steward for British Airways – was attacked during a night out in Dublin on 23rd April 2007 and left lying in the road on Sycamore Street in the city´s Temple Bar area. As he lay dazed in the road, Padraig was run over by a Dublin City Council refuse truck and suffered a fractured skull and broken arm among many other injuries.
The operators of the refuse truck failed to notice Padraig as they drove off, and it was sometime later that he was taken to hospital; where he was put into an induced coma. Padraig underwent several operations for his injuries, but such was the extent of the brain damage that he suffered, he will never be able live an independent life or work again.
Padraig´s parents from Hollywood in County Wicklow made a refuse truck injury claim against Dublin City Council. The local authority denied its liability for the injuries that Padraig had sustained and contested the claim on the grounds that the refuse lorry operators could not be held at fault for Padraig being attacked and being left lying in the road.
The case went to the High Court, where Mr Justice Michael Peart was told that Dublin City Council had broken its own by-laws – implemented just three months earlier – by allowing its refuse truck operators to collect rubbish in the Temple Bar area between the hours of 12:00pm and 6:00pm. Had they adhere to the regulations, Padraig´s counsel argued, the tragic accident would not have occurred.
Judge Peart found in Padraig´s favour, commenting that the operators of the refuse truck had a duty of care to ensure it was safe to drive the vehicle through the narrow streets of that part of the city. The judge said that had one of the operating team remained outside of the truck as it moved from premises to premises, they would have seen see Padraig lying in the path of their vehicle.
The judge awarded Padraig €4,885,888 compensation in settlement of his refuse truck injury claim – which included €266,341 for Padraig´s loss of earnings, €350,000 for the pain and suffering he had experienced in the past and would experience in the future and €3,485,000 towards future care expenses. The judge also awarded legal costs against Dublin City Council.
Posted: July 30th, 2014
A High Court judge has approved a €1 million settlement of compensation for a pedestrian who was injured while crossing the road with her young granddaughter.
On 9th September 2011, sixty-year-old Elena Schiopu and her young granddaughter were crossing the Morehampton Road in Dublin when Elena was hit by a vehicle whose driver had been undertaking the car which had stopped to give way.
Although the force of the impact was not great, Elena was knocked to floor and suffered cuts and bruises. Despite her injuries, she chose to continue to walk home with her unharmed granddaughter, but after returning to the family home, Elena complained of weak limbs and her speech started to slur.
When her condition continued to deteriorate, Elena went to hospital and was admitted immediately. She was transferred to an intensive care ward after losing her powers of communication and remained there for seventeen days. Elena was diagnosed as suffering from brain injuries as a result of the car accident, and is now quadriplegic – confined to a wheelchair and requiring 24 hour-a-day assistance.
In 2012, Elena was transferred to a nursing home for specialist care and through her daughter made a claim for compensation for a pedestrian who was injured while crossing the road against the driver of the vehicle that had hit her – Eamon McElwain of Donnybrook in Dublin.
McElwain´s insurers contested the claim for pedestrian injury compensation – arguing that he had not been speeding or driving dangerously, and that Elena had failed to look as she stepped out from behind the stationary car. The family´s solicitors countered that McElwain had undertaken a stationary car when, with reasonable care, he should have been aware that it was an unsafe manoeuvre.
The two parties eventually agreed a €1 million settlement of compensation for a pedestrian who was injured while crossing the road; and due to the nature of the injury, the fact that Elena was unable to represent herself and the size of the settlement, the case went to the High Court in Dublin for the settlement to be approved.
At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard the circumstances of the tragic accident and about Elena´s injuries. The judge commented that this was such a distressing case, and she extended her sympathy to the family before approving the settlement.
Posted: June 19th, 2014
The Court of Appeal has upheld a claim for flight delay compensation more than two years old in favour of a passenger who experienced a flight delay in 2006.
In early 2012, James Dawson from Peterborough made a claim for flight delay compensation against Thompson Airways. James had suffered an avoidable eight-hour delay in December 2006 when there were insufficient crew available for his flight from London Gatwick to the Dominican Republic.
According to EU regulation 261/2004, James should have been entitled to €600 compensation per passenger, even though his claim for flight delay compensation was more than two years old – the length of time usually allowed under the Montreal Convention for claimants to bring claims against the company they are travelling with.
Thomas Airways rejected James´ claim, but James appealed the decision – stating that EU regulation 261/2004 allows passengers to claim for flight delay compensation more than two years old because the legislation is based on the contract laws of member states, and that the Statute of Limitations for contract law in the UK is six years.
James pursued his claim for a flight delay that was more than two years old and, earlier this year, the Cambridge County Court found in his favour – judges ruling that EU regulation 261/2004 superseded the Montreal Convention. The court ordered Thomson Airways to pay James £975 flight delay compensation (€600 for two passengers) plus £513.73 interest.
Thomson Airways appealed the ruling of the Cambridge County Court, and the claim for flight delay compensation more than two years old was heard again this week at the Court of Appeal in London. At the end of the hearing, the appeal court upheld James´ claim and repeated the verdict of Cambridge County Court that EU law should apply in domestic claims for delayed flight compensation.
It is likely that Thomson Airways will defend their point of view all the way to the Supreme Court. A spokesperson said “this judgment could have a significant impact on the entire airline industry and specifically upon the price that all air travellers would need to pay for their flights”.
Posted: June 11th, 2014
A kitchen assistant has made a successful compensation claim for an accident in Dunnes Stores following a hearing at the High Court.
Dorota Michalowska (29) had been clearing tables in the canteen of her local Dunnes Store in Clonmel, County Tipperary, and was returning to the kitchen with a trolley stacked up dirty dishes when, on 14th July 2011, she slipped on a frozen chip that had been left on the floor.
Dorota fell heavily, and suffered a soft tissue injury to her knee which immobilised her for three months and kept her off from work for a further three months .
After seeking injury claims advice from a solicitor, Dorota made a compensation claim for an accident in Dunnes Stores – a claim that was contested by her employers on the grounds that Dorota had most likely been the author of her own misfortune by dropping the chip herself.
However, at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine agreed with Dorota´s allegations that Dunnes Stores had failed to provide her with a safe environment in which to work and had failed to adequately warn employees of the hazard risk presented by frozen chips on the floor.
Judge Irvine determined that, if Dorota had dropped the frozen chip herself – and then spent time clearing the tables of dirty dishes – it was likely that the chip on the floor would have defrosted and no longer have been a hazard by the time Dorota slipped on it and sustained her injury.
The judge commented that two other members of staff were working in the canteen on the day of Dorota´s accident, and “on the balance of probabilities” it was likely that one of Dorota´s colleagues had dropped the frozen chip and neglected to pick it up or not seen the hazard at all.
Judge Irvine ruled that Dunnes Stores were therefore liable for the accident due to the negligence of its employees, and awarded Dorota €82,750 in settlement of her compensation claim for accident in Dunnes Stores – which included an amount of €20,000 for future pain and suffering as Judge Irvine believed that Dorota would likely start to suffer arthritis at an early age because of her slip and fall accident in Dunnes Stores.
Posted: May 3rd, 2014
A High Court judge has approved the settlement of a broken knee misdiagnosis claim in favour of a young female athlete who had been hoping to compete in the Special Olympics.
The Special Olympics World Games is a bi-annual sporting event for athletes with intellectual disabilities and, in May 2009, Amy Rose McGowan (now 31 years of age) from Trim in County Meath was training to represent Ireland in the Games that were scheduled to take place in Athens in the summer of 2011.
Unfortunately Amy Rose had fallen and hurt her knee during a 50 metre sprint, and had attended Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan, County Meath, for a precautionary x-ray on 8th May 2009. At the hospital, an x-ray was taken, and doctors diagnosed Amy Rose´s injury as soft tissue damage.
A few months later, Amy Rose attended her GP because the pain in her knee had not subsided; and it was due to this visit that a depressed fracture in her knee was discovered. The discovery of the fracture came too late for corrective intervention, and Amy Rose missed her opportunity to qualify for the games.
It was also determined that, due to the oversight of her injury, Amy Rose is likely to need knee replacement surgery later in life; and – after seeking legal advice – Amy Rose made a broken knee misdiagnosis claim against the hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE) through her mother – Collette McGowan.
After an investigation at Our Lady´s Hospital, the HSE admitted liability for Amy Rose´s injury and a settlement of €142,000 was agreed. However, as the broken knee misdiagnosis claim had been made on Amy Rose´s behalf due to her intellectual disability, it first had to be approved by a judge.
In the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Peart heard how Amy had previously won 34 medals and 10 trophies in athletics and swimming before the accident, and he invited her to show them to the court.
Stating that he was “very impressed and full of admiration” for Amy Rose, he added it was a pity that her athletics career had been cut short. After approving the settlement, Judge Peart adjourned the hearing after wishing Amy Rose a happy life with her family.
Posted: April 10th, 2014
A settlement of compensation for an accident in Debenhams has been approved by a Circuit Court judge after he heard the circumstances of a schoolgirl´s finger injury.
Naoise Walsh (now nine years of age) was shopping in the Debenhams store in Henry Street with her mother in March 2011, when she attempted to get a drink from one of the fridges in the store´s café.
As Naoise reached up to get the drink carton, one of her fingers got caught in the wire mesh of the shelf on which the carton was standing and, as Naoise tried to pull her finger free, she cut it against the metal of the shelf.
Naoise was taken to the Children´s Hospital in Temple Street by ambulance, where her injured finger was cleaned and dressed. The next day, Naoise underwent a general anaesthetic so that doctors could see whether any permanent tendon damage had been sustained; after which Naoise had stitches in her finger and was discharged.
A claim for compensation for an accident in Debenhams was filed by Naoise´s mother – Amy Walsh of Bluebell, Dublin – and the company immediately admitted that their negligence had been responsible for Naoise´s injury.
A settlement of €10,000 injury compensation for the accident in Debenhams was negotiated; but before the claim could be completely resolved, the settlement had to be approved by a judge. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was informed of the circumstances of Naoise´s injury before approving the settlement of compensation.
Posted: March 6th, 2014
A woman has been awarded €25,000 compensation for the failure to recognise surgical complications after suffering a near death experience following a Caesarean operation.
Honey Larkin (40) from Letterkenny in County Donegal made her claim for the failure to recognise surgical complications after giving birth at the Letterkenny General Hospital in January 2008.
Honey claimed in her action against the Health Service Executive and consultant gynaecologist Eddie Aboud that she began to haemorrhage internally after her baby was delivered by Caesarean section, and that she lost more than half of her blood volume by the time she was returned to the operating theatre more than one hour later.
Claiming that she had a near-death experience which has left her with a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Honey alleged that the defendants failed to check or recognise she was bleeding profusely, and there was a failure to attach due significance – to or take appropriate action – in response to her distress signals.
Both the HSE and Mr Aboud denied the allegations, and said that Honey was treated in a timely and appropriate manner once the surgical complications had been recognised. However, Honey persisted with her claim for compensation for the failure to recognise surgical complications, and the case was heard at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.
At the High Court, Judge Cross heard that no bleeding was apparent when Mr Aboud had finished the surgery; but, when he was called back to attend to Honey´s haemorrhage, he took full charge and performed the operation to successfully prevent the bleeding. The judge said that no blame could be attributed to the gynaecologist and he was dismissed from the action.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross did however find the HSE negligent in needlessly delaying the second operation, and awarded Honey €25,000 compensation for the failure to recognise surgical compensation for the distress she had experienced.
Posted: February 12th, 2014
A woman has been awarded €10 million compensation for passenger injuries in a car crash after a hearing at the High Court in Dublin.
Lydia Branley (now 32 years old) from Kinlough, Country Leitrim, was left in a coma when, in September 2010, the driver of a BMW Coupe she was a passenger in lost control of his car at 150km/h, drove through two crash barriers and hit a telegraph pole.
The BMW landed on its roof in a stream alongside the N4 at the Ballisodare slip road, but the driver and another male passenger had been thrown clear, while Lydia – who had been wearing a seat belt – remained unconscious in the front seat of the vehicle.
Lydia was cut from the wreckage of the BMW by emergency services and taken to Sligo General Hospital, from where she was transferred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. She remained in critical condition until she woke from her coma nine months later.
The driver of the BMW Coupe – Martin Kearney from Balinoo, County Mayo – was charged with dangerous driving causing serious harm and, in June 2012, sentenced to six years imprisonment and banned from driving for twenty years by the Roscommon Circuit Court.
After waking from the coma, Lydia found that she had lost the use of her limbs and was unable to speak or feed herself. Through her father – Martin – Lydia claimed compensation for passenger injuries in a car crash from Kearney and Kearney´s father – Michael – who owned the vehicle.
A settlement of €10 million compensation for passenger injuries in a car crash was negotiated between the parties but, due to the nature of Lydia´s injuries, the settlement had to be approved by a judge before the injury compensation claim could be fully resolved.
Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told the circumstances of the accident and that Lydia will now require around the clock attention for the rest of her life. The judge approved the settlement, adding “It does not give back Lydia her life. Nothing will, but it will provide her with the best care and hopefully bring back a degree of normality.”
Posted: January 13th, 2014
A coroner´s inquest into the death of a man who died following a cherry picket accident has been adjourned due to the complexity of the investigation.
On March 5th 2013, Frank McGrath died of extensive injuries caused by a blunt force trauma in a cherry picker accident on the University College Cork (UCC) campus.
Frank – who was a member of the governing body at the College – had worked for UCC in their maintenance and engineering section for twenty-seven years and, on the night in question, had been attending to the lighting system on the campus.
No details of exactly how Frank died in the cherry picker accident have been revealed, but an investigation was launched into the circumstances of his death by the Health and Safety Authority due to potential violations of the Safety and Welfare at Work Act.
At the coroner´s inquest in Cork, Dr Myra Cullinane was told by the lead HSA Inspector – Michael O´Flynn – the the Authorities investigation was complex and was taking longer than expected to resolve. Dr Cullinane adjourned the hearing into Frank´s fatal cherry picker accident until April 3rd.
A UCC spokesperson said after the inquest had been adjourned “Frank McGrath joined UCC in 1986 and was immensely popular among all staff. He was elected on two occasions to membership of the governing body, where he shared his wisdom, pragmatism and above all his loyalty to and pride in UCC”.
“UCC is deeply saddened by the accident and (again) wishes to extend its sincere sympathy to his family and colleagues.”
Posted: December 10th, 2013
A claim for a black eye injury, made by a UCD student who had volunteered to assist in an acupuncture training course, has been resolved in the Circuit Civil Court.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court heard how, In April 2010, Bernadette Poleon from Dunboyne, County Meath, volunteered to participate in a clinical acupuncture training course that was being run by the Irish Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Ranelagh, Dublin.
During the acupuncture training course, one of the students inserted needles below each of Bernadette´s eyes – the one below Bernadette´s right eye later being repositioned by a supervisor on the course.
Later that day, forty-five year old Bernadette – who is a psychology student at University College Dublin – started to experience puffiness below her left eye and, within two days, a substantial amount of yellow and black bruising appeared around her eye.
Although the puffiness and tenderness reduced within a couple of days, the appearance of bruising remained for seven weeks – causing Bernadette severe embarrassment whenever she tried to explain to friends how the injury occurred.
Having sought legal advice, Bernadette made a compensation claim for a black eye injury against Bellfield Consultants Ltd, the owners of the Irish Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Bellfield Consultants denied their liability for Bernadette´s injury and, when court proceedings were issued, presented a full defence against the claim for a black eye injury. However, at the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Linnane heard that the case was before her for the assessment of black eye injury compensation only.
After hearing the circumstances of Bernadette´s injury, and the embarrassment she had suffered as a result, the judge awarded Bernadette €6,000 in compensation for a black eye injury and costs at the District Court level.
Posted: November 7th, 2013
Figures released by the Injuries Board in a press release have shown a big increase in injury claims for scalds and burns at work in Ireland
The increase is described as “worrying” by the Director of Corporate Services at the Injuries Board – Stephen Watkins – who, in the press release, compares figures from 2011 – in which there were 28 accepted Injuries Board assessments in respect of claims for burn and scald accidents at work – and 2012, in which the number of accepted assessments had increased to 42 (1).
The press release showed that assessments with a total value of €1.33 million were accepted by plaintiffs during 2011/12 and that the average compensation award was €19,066. Mr Watkins also listed some of the most frequent causes of accidents at work which resulted in burn and scald injuries:
- Splashes from hot liquids
- Burns from overflowing boiling water
- Burns from chemicals and acids
- Scalds from faulty electrical equipment
- Burns from clothes setting alight due to being too close to a source of heat
The highest single award of compensation for scalds and burns at work within the two-year period amounted to €106,949 and was made to an employee of a chemical company who suffered severe burns in an acid spill (2), and the highest volume of injury claims for scalds and burns at work were made by people working as cleaning staff and in the catering trade (3).
Mr Watkins urged employers to put safety procedures in place to avoid scald and burn injuries in the workplace and asked employees to be aware of the safety guidelines and be extra vigilant when working with hot liquids and hazardous chemicals.
(1) In 2012, the percentage of Injuries Board assessments accepted by plaintiffs decreased from 37.2 percent to 32.7 percent. This would suggest that there may have been a further eighty or more injury claims for scalds and burns at work which were settled other than through the Injuries Board process.
(2) In the 2012 “Summary of Workplace Injuries” (published by the Health and Safety Authority) statistics revealed that female workers are three times more likely to be scalded or burned in the workplace due to the higher percentage of females employed in cleaning and catering.
(3) Earlier this year, the Health and Safety Authority published the results of their “Chemicals Usage Survey”, which showed that 67 percent of companies who use chemicals in the workplace did not have a formal training program in place to advise employees on how to avoid chemical burns.
Posted: October 29th, 2013
A Kilbeggan postman has been awarded €55,000 compensation after his claim for being bitten by a dog was heard in the High Court.
Sixty-three year old Joseph Dunne (63) from Kilbeggan in County Westmeath brought his claim for being bitten by a dog after he was attacked by a husky-type pet belonging to Olive Dalton and Martin Maher of Dublin Road in Kilbeggan on 8th October 2008.
As Joseph was delivering mail through the couple´s letterbox, their dog escaped from their garden through a hole in the hedge and attacked him – knocking him to the pavement outside of the house, and clawing and biting him until Joseph was rescued by a passer-by.
Joseph was taken to hospital by ambulance where he was treated for severe lacerations along the right side of his face and nerve damage close to his right temple. Joseph had twenty-two stitches inserted into his face and, after they were removed, had to undergo plastic surgery to hide the scarring from the attack.
Joseph returned to work soon after the attack and made a compensation claim for being bitten by a dog against the animal´s owners – claiming that they were liable for his injuries because they had failed to enclose their garden securely which allowed their dog to escape from their garden.
The couple denied their liability for Joseph´s injuries, and the case was heard at the High Court in Dublin in front of Mr Justice Michael Moriarty, who heard that the dog had been put down the day after the attack.
After hearing evidence from both parties, the judge found in Joseph´s favour and awarded him €55,000 in settlement of his claim for being bitten by a dog – commenting that it had been brave of Joseph to return to work so soon after what must have been a particularly frightening event.
Posted: September 26th, 2013
A woman who developed a neurological illness after an accident on a supermarket escalator has been awarded $9.9 million compensation by a jury in New York.
Rose Nudelman (51) had just completed her shopping in her local Costco Supermarket in New York, when she and her husband took their loaded supermarket shopping trolley onto the ascending escalator between floors.
The tread on the escalator had been made to secure the wheels of the shopping trolley, so that customers did not have to retain hold of their trolleys in order to prevent them rolling back down the slope. However, while Rose and her husband were ascending the escalator, the trolley wheels slipped from their mountings and the trolley rolled down the escalator, catching Rose on the wrist.
Although it did not appear at the time that she had sustained any significant injury, Rose and her husband reported the incident to the management of the supermarket. However, within two weeks of the incident happening, Rose began to experience issues with walking which deteriorated quickly so that she was only capable of hobbling around her home with the aid of a walking stick.
Rose went to see her doctor who, after an extensive series of examinations, diagnosed her with the neurological illness “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome” – saying that its cause was nerve damage due to being hit by the shopping trolley on the escalator.
As her condition deteriorated further, Rose sought legal advice from a solicitor, and made a claim for compensation for her accident on an escalator against Costco. Costco Supermarket rejected the claim that Rose´s injury was attributable to her escalator accident and alleged that she had exaggerated the level of her injury to justify her compensation claim. Rose´s solicitor however believed that his client had a strong case, and issued court proceedings.
Costco Supermarket continued to deny their liability and refused to settle the claim for compensation for an accident on an escalator out of court. However, when the case went to trial, the jury found in Rose´s favour and awarded her $9.9 million in compensation for an accident on an escalator.
The company who insure Costco Supermarket have indicated that they will appeal both the verdict and the size of the award, but Rose´s solicitor commented after hearing about the possible appeal that no amount of compensation would convince anybody he knew to trade places with his client.
Posted: September 18th, 2013
A senior doctor has claimed that more could be done to reduce cases of cerebral palsy in Ireland and called on the HSE to provide more comprehensive cover for labour wards.
Dr Sam Coulter-Smith – Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin – was speaking at a conference organised to hear from doctors, midwives, families and members of the legal profession on how preventable cases of cerebral palsy in Ireland could be reduced.
He told attendees that one of the major reasons for cases of cerebral palsy in Ireland was that consultants work under a contract which only requires them to be present in a hospital from 8.00 in the morning to 8.00 in the evening. Outside of these hours, a senior doctor may be on call, but he could be many miles away when a medical emergency occurs.
The doctor said that this situation often results in inexperienced medical staff having to make decisions which affect the healthcare of mothers and their babies and said “there needs to be twenty-four hour cover of labour wards by senior doctors to address this problem.”
Dr Coulter-Smith informed the conference delegates that the annual number of cases of cerebral palsy in Ireland has remained the same over the past twenty years despite more foetal monitoring and more deliveries being conducted by Caesarean section.
The doctor continued by explaining the situation at his own hospital, where a second level of experienced junior doctors has been introduced to provide cover for labour wards outside of consultants´ contracted hours.
However Dr Coulter-Smith admitted that the creation of a second level of experienced junior doctors had been contrary to the instructions to reduce the number of medical staff employed at the hospital provided by the HSE.
The doctor commented that the State currently pays €45 million each year in compensation payments to victims of cerebral palsy due to hospital negligence – an amount equivalent to the Rotunda Hospital´s annual budget – and he suggested that investing more to reduce the number of cases of cerebral palsy in Ireland may be a more prudent option.
Posted: August 15th, 2013
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has produced a report in which it finds that compensation claims for injuries due to a missed diagnosis are the most common cases brought for GP malpractice.
“The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” was prepared for the RCSI by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin and published recently in the British Medical Journal. The aim of the review was to identify which areas of primary care in Ireland required specific attention when preparing educational and risk management strategies for GPs and other front-line healthcare professionals.
Among the key findings in the review, the misdiagnosis of cancer – specifically lung cancer, colon cancer and breast – and medication errors stood out as the main grounds for adult patients making GP malpractice claims, while the majority of claims for injuries due to a missed diagnosis for children centred around cases of meningitis and appendicitis.
The lead researcher for the review – Dr Emma Wallace – acknowledged that reviewing cases of GP malpractice may not be the preferred methodology to identify in which areas of primary care the most attention was required; however, she did accept that compensation claims for injuries due to a missed diagnosis were creating an environment where GPs and front-line healthcare professionals were practising more defensively.
The review found that more patients are being referred by GPs to consultants than ever before – potentially delaying an accurate diagnosis and placing further pressure on the Irish health service – because of the risk of litigation should they make a mistake. It also highlighted that medical practitioners, against whom claims for injuries due to a missed diagnosis are made, are often subject to higher levels of stress which reduces their effectiveness to make correct diagnoses and places more patients at risk of an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition.
Dr Wallace – who herself is a GP – said that the problems identified in “The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” should provide an insight into the nature of adverse events in GP´s surgeries and hospital outpatients´ departments, and the reasons why they happen. This should then reduce the number of claims for injuries due to a missed diagnosis in Ireland and eventually improve the standard of healthcare provided by front-line health professionals.
Posted: July 23rd, 2013
A 60-year-old Dublin woman has had a successful compensation claim for a dance floor fall. Pauline McNamara from Skerries, County Dublin was dancing on a tiled alcove of ‘Fillies Bar’ when she slipped on a wet patch on the floor and fell, hitting her head on the tiles and breaking her left wrist.
Ms McNamara pursued an injury compensation claim against the owner of the bar, which was contested. However Judge Matthew Deery found the bar to be negligent and awarded Ms McNamara €28,802 in compensation for a dance floor fall.
See also: http://uk-accident-injury.co.uk/ for UK news.
Posted: June 2nd, 2013
A Dublin Airport baggage handler has resolved his compensation claim for an electric shock at work out of court. Patrick Kemmy (39) from Blanchardstown in Dublin twice experienced electric shocks while he was trying to connect a power cable to a Boeing 737.
In the aftermath of the accident Mr Kemmy said he was left with a tingling in his right arm which he still experiences from time to time, almost four years after the event. Servisair and the Dublin Airport Authority denied their liability for Mr Kemmy’s injuries but, shortly before the electric shock compensation claim was to be heard at the High Court, officials were informed that the claim had been resolved out of court for an undisclosed sum.
See this page for information about work injuries.
Posted: May 22nd, 2013
A pizza delivery man has been awarded €7,000 in compensation after making a work injury claim for a dog bite after he successfully appealed his case to the High Court.
23-year-old Arpit Khurana was attacked by an Alsatian-type dog owned by Vincent and Bernie Fitzgerald of Portobello, Dublin, in October 2009 while he was delivering pizza leaflets for Apache Pizza.
Although the work injury claim had been dismissed in the Circuit Criminal Court in February 2012, it was upheld in the High Court in Dublin and the judge awarded Mr Khurana €7,000 in compensation for his work injury claim for a dog bite.
Posted: April 22nd, 2012
In a landmark ruling, an Irish court has settled a claim for road traffic accident compensation which was made because of an accident which happened in another country. Peter Kelly, from Ranelagh, Dublin, sustained an injury to his hip after he was injured by a council maintenance van in Cannes, France.
After pursuing compensation against the vehicle’s insurer, French company Groupama, the company accepted liability, but argued that French law should be applied – compensation awards tend to be significantly smaller in France than in Ireland.
Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill accepted the argument and using France’s equivalent of the Book of Quantum, gauged how much compensation Kelly should be awarded. He also used French law as a template for calculating the level of loss of amenity compensation Kelly should receive, before adjusting it in line with Irish values.
Posted: February 25th, 2012
A car accident passenger who suffered severe brain trauma when he was thrown from an uninsured car which later crashed into a tree has been awarded compensation. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be awarded compensation by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland after having it approved by court. The man, who was just 19 years of age when the accident happened, suffered a severe brain injury which has left him requiring permanent nursing care. He is to be made a ward of court.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard at the High Court that the man’s legal representatives had agreed to Accept €4.25m in compensation from the MIBI – reduced by 20% to reflect his own negligence in failing to wear a seatbelt. The settlement will provide enough funding for the man to receive care for the rest of his life, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said.
Posted: January 18th, 2012
A teenager who fell and broke his wrist has had his compensation claim for injury in a playground approved by the Circuit Civil Court. Fifteen-year-old Terrence Power fell at a playground at St Mary’s Place in Dublin, where he was playing football with friends. After x-rays revealed that Power had suffered a fracture, his arm was placed in a cast for five weeks.
The claim, which was taken against the party responsible for maintaining the playground, Dublin City Council, was approved by Civil Court President Matthew Deery. Dublin City Council offered Power’s family €12,000, which it said it was happy to accept.
Posted: November 26th, 2011
A former Ryanair baggage handler has won his claim for compensation for a work back injury. Damian Warcaba, from Malahide, County Dublin, claimed that the airline was responsible for an injury he sustained while moving aircraft stairs unassisted in July 2007. Warcbaba, who was out of work for more than two months because of the injury, received an award of €40,000.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton found at the High Court that the airline had failed to provide sufficient workers to undertake moving the stairs. Ryanair contested the claim, saying that they provided workers with appropriate training to carry out the procedure, but that they regretted what happened to Warbaca.
Posted: August 26th, 2011
The number of fatal farm accidents in Ireland continues to rise, a conference organised by the Health and Safety Authority, Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee and Teagasc has heard. The number of fatal accidents has already reached 16, attendees heard, and is on its way to passing out the 20-year high of 26 deaths which occurred last year.
“People working on farms need to be more conscious of safety requirements, in particular since in so many instances they are working on their own,” said the event’s key speaker, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. A significant change in mindset is required if we are to prevent further serious farm accidents.”
Representatives from the US, the UK, Denmark, Norway and Italy were in attendance. It was the first time an international meeting on agricultural occupational health and safety had been held in Ireland.
Posted: July 9th, 2011
A 23-year-old woman from Drumcondra, Dublin has been awarded €121,493 in compensation for an injury she sustained after hitting her head off the roof of a bus. The accident happened in April 2006 when a bus owned by Dublin Bus sped through the grounds of the Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown, hit a speed bump and caused Ciara Whelan’s head to impact the roof of the bus.
Luckily another passenger saw what happened and alerted the bus driver, who stopped the bus. It was determined at the hospital that Ciara suffered a crush fracture. After being required to wear a neck brace for three months, Ciara still undergoes regular physiotherapy and keeps the pain to a minimum with the use of medication.
Posted: June 20th, 2011
An artist whose hair fell out after a hair colouring treatment in a Galway salon has won her claim for compensation against the Hair Republic of Galway. The claim, which was brought before the High Court in Dublin by 40-year-old Aileen Dunleavy of Salthill, Co Galway, was brought on the basis that the victim was not made aware that the colouring treatment could have an adverse effect on her hair. She claimed that the hair salon failed in their duty of care towards her.
Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill called what happened to Dunleavy a “disaster” and awarded her €45,000 in compensation. He heard how Dunleavy had become socially withdrawn after suffering her injury.
Posted: May 12th, 2011
Christopher Connors of Rathfarnham in Dublin has been awarded €20,000 in compensation for injuries he sustained when falling on broken glass in a laneway. Connors had been playing football in the laneway with a cousin when the accident happened. Connors was left with deep lacerations on his left arm, and a deep cut to his wrist meant that he had to have a tendon surgically repaired.
Judge Matthew Deery heard at the Circuit Civil Court that the claim was being taken against South Dublin County Council, which was responsible for the maintenance of the laneway.
Christopher has made a good recovery from the injury, however he may experience issues with his left arm later on in life.
Posted: March 18th, 2011
Survivors and the families of the victims of an aeroplane crash in Cork are preparing to claim for compensation against the airline, Manx2, as well as the American company which built the aircraft and the Spanish flight operator BCN. The crash, in which both of the aeroplane’s pilot and co-pilot were killed, happened in thick fog after a commuter plane making its way to Cork from Belfast flipped over and failed to land on its third attempt at Cork Airport in February. Six passengers were killed and another six were injured in the crash.
The amount of compensation which may be awarded to the survivors and families may run as high as €100m.
Posted: January 1st, 2011
The Health and Safety Executive in the UK has urged businesses in Berkshire to redouble their commitment to improving safety in the workplace after local newspaper The Wokingham Times reported that work injuries had jumped by 25% in 2009/10.
“Employers have a legal duty to protect their workers and I would encourage them to make it their Mew Year’s Eve resolution to ensure they continue to ensure that they continue to take sensible precautions to prevent incidents in the workplace,” Mike Willock, head of operations at the HSE told the paper.
15 fatalities and 3,343 injuries were reported to the HSE in 2010.
Posted: December 9th, 2010
A psychiatric patient has received an award of €150,000 for self-inflicted injuries he sustained after jumping out of a window at St Brendan’s psychiatric hospital. The man, who pursued the claim against the Health Service Executive, broke his leg after jumping from the second floor window.
The claim succeeded after it was claimed that the patient was placed in an inappropriate ward where no measures were taken to ensure that he could not jump out for a window. Compensation was granted without any liability of guilt being made.
The patient’s identity has been kept a secret for legal reasons and he has been moved to another facility. The judge in the case, Mr Justice John Quirke said that the patient is expected to be made a ward of court.
Posted: November 1st, 2010
A nightclub attendee has been awarded compensation for injuries he sustained after being assaulted by two doormen in Navan, Co Meath. Glen Turner had insisted that his pre-existing epilepsy has significantly worsened since the assault, which happened in September 2001.
Although the full terms of the settlement were not disclosed, Mr Turner told Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill that the terms of a settlement included a payment of €100,000. The claim was pursued against Quinn Hotels Ltd, which operates the Ardboyne’s Hotel. Quinn Hotels Ltd operates from offices at Hotel Kilmore, Dublin Road Co Navan.
Posted: October 14th, 2010
The High Court has granted Caroline Bogue of Belturbet Co Cavan, a settlement worth €5m after she sustained severe injuries from crash caused by an uninsured driver. Bogue, who was unaware that the car she was travelling in was uninsured, suffered brain damage and will require assistance for the rest of her life.
Liability for Bogue’s injuries was denied by the driver of the car Declan Bogue, and its owner Ciaran Bogue, who claimed that Caroline was aware that the car in which she was traveling was uninsured. The claim was taken against the pair and the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland. A settlement was agreed upon without any admission of liability being made.
Posted: August 11th, 2010
A woman from Finglas South, Co Dublin has had a €410,000 claim for damages from whiplash rejected after Mr Justice John Quirke found that it was highly probable” that she presented the court with misleading evidence. Mary Farrell had claimed that an accident with a bus belonging to Dublin Bus near the North Circular Road in June 2010 had left her with whiplash, however evidence provided to the court showed Ms Farrell mowing her grass and lifting her arm above shoulder height, actions which should be impossible given the nature of her injury.
Mr Justice Quirke was also shown evidence that Farrell was purchasing expensive foreign cars and holidays – behaviour inconsistent with a claim taken because of lost earnings and an apparent loss of ability to earn.
Posted: July 30th, 2010
The family of a 21-year-old Co Carlow woman have been awarded €40,000 in compensation after she died because of clinical malpractice in Limerick Regional Hospital in November 2006. The claim, which was brought by the distressed family of the deceased, Ms Louise Butler, was initially contested by the Health Service Executive, which refuted the family’s claim that Louise would not have died if she had received better care at the hospital.
Louise died after failing to receive a CT scan in time to prevent her death. Initially, her family and her family’s doctor’ request for a CYT scan was denied by the hospital. When a scan was eventually taken it showed massive bleeding in her head. The finding came too late however, as Louise collapsed and died before she could receive the results.
Posted: June 12th, 2010
The family of a 42-year-old woman who was in a car accident have been awarded €506,000 in compensation. Bridget O’Reilly, from Ballybeg in Co Waterford was killed after the car in which she was travelling crashed. The driver of the vehicle was drunk.
The claim was pursued by O’Reilly’s husband, Edward O’Reilly, against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland and Frank Predergast, the drunk driver.
O’Reilly’s sister has been has been helping to care for the Bridget and Edward’s three young children since her death.
Posted: May 21st, 2010
A fireman from Dundalk, Co Louth has settled a claim taken against his employer Dundalk County Council and the owner of a building that caught fire. Vincent McGuinness was injured after falling five metres from his ladder while fighting the fire at Culhane Street, Dundalk in February 2004.
McGuinness was forced to spend three days in hospital as a result of his fall, during which he suffered a vertebrate injury caused by the ground impact. His breathing apparatus was still attached to his back at the time he hit the ground.
The fireman took his claim on the basis that the owner of the building did not take adequate safety precautions to ensure that a fire did not happen there.