Posted: May 20th, 2019
Cork City and County councils have paid €15m personal injury compensation in relation to slips, trips, and falls since 2016. Data gathered through a Freedom of Information Act request has also revealed that there are many personal injury compensation claims yet to be settled by the local authorities.
So far this year, up to March 31, €1,144,594 for public injury liability compensation claims by Cork City Council in relation to slips, trips and falls in the public realm, including parks and public areas in council-owned housing estates. When compared alongside the overall total of compensation paid out by the local authority bodies in the last few of years as follows:
- €4,350,550 in 2018
- €4,254,068 in 2017
- €3,999,606 in 2016.
For the same Jan 1-Mar 31 time periods Cork County Council paid:
- €129,626 in 2018
- €667,754 in 2017
- €782,035 in 2016
Currently for Cork City Council there are 455 uncompleted personal injury compensation claims as of March 31, 2019. Cork County Council have 230 uncompleted personal injury compensation cases for the same time period.
Cork City Councillor Fianna Fáil’s Terry Shannon, who was previously lord Mayor of Cork, says that the high level of claims are due to a lack of investment in the public realm in recent years.
He commented: “It is a direct result of the decline of the condition of the public realm: potholes, cracked footpaths, and so on. The issue is getting worse and the amount paid each year is getting bigger, because we haven’t been able to fix long-standing issues, because national government hasn’t invested the money.”
Mr Shannon went on to say that Cork City Council has put aside €5m in 2019 to deal with potential personal injury compensation settlements.
As another measure to tackle the number of claim the local authority body has set aside €200,000 to “upgrade and repair footpaths that have fallen into bad condition and have been the subject of a number of liability claims”.
He referred to this amount as inadequate and remarked that is will be “used to patch up areas that have been the result of multiple claims but, ultimately, it won’t go far enough to make a real difference.”
Posted: April 2nd, 2019
A small girl who suffered a broken nose when a table struck her in face in windy conditions outside on O’Brien’s Sandwich shop has been awarded €30,000 personal injury compensation in the Circuit Civil Court.
When the incident occurred Lily Spratt was only three-years-old. Her legal representative, Barrister Ivan Daly, told the court that the incident occurred when a table in an outdoors seating area flew through the air and hit Lily in the face during windy weather on Lower Grand Canal Street, Dublin.
In Court Justice Raymond Groarke was advised how Lily had been brought to Temple Street Children’s Hospital for treatment immediately after the accident happened. She had been put put under general anaesthetic while her nose injuries were tended to.
Luckily, Mr Daly informed the court, Lily had suffered no permanent damage to her nose. He told Justice Groarke: “Certainly there is no question of any disfigurement of her nose.”
Mr Daly recommended that the court accept the settlement offer that was being presented by Adleo Ltd.
Judge Groarke gave his approval to the sandwich shop compensation settlement and added that thought it was an excellent offer of personal injury compensation.
Posted: March 9th, 2019
€150,000 in violent attack compensation has been awarded to a mother of two at the High Court after she was assaulted by her former partner and the father of her two children.
Mr Jonathan McSherry (36), who used to live at Cedarbrook Walk, Cherry Orchard, Dublin, was given a three and a half year sentence for the violent assault on Jessica Bowes. He was released early after 22 months. Mr McSherry told the High Court that he smashed almost every bone in Ms Bowes face and kicked her many times during the attack that took place on December 2015.
Mr McSherry, who was previously employed by a former soldier, said sorry to Ms Bowes and her civil action was now being heard by the High Court for a final assessment of personal injury compensation. Mr McSherry attacked Ms Bowes when she arrived home at her Clondalkin house in a taxi following a Christmas night out on December 20, 2015, to find Mr McSherry waiting there for her. Video footage of the attack showed McSherry pulling Ms Bowes from the taxi, punching, kicking and dragging her. She was knocked unconscious twice during the attack which lasted over 90 seconds before she was able to escape into a closeby house.
After the award was announced by the Judge, Ms Bowes made a statement saying she hopes the ruling and compensation award will result in victims of domestic violence choosing to initiate legal cases.
She remarked: “I hope this will act as a deterrent, that people will realise there are possible large financial consequences as well as the threat of prison for this sort of violence. I’ve already had people write to me about it. One woman sent me a letter and a holy medal on Tuesday thanking me for my courage and asking me to pray for her so that she could find courage to tell the truth too. “She went to the bother of writing the letter, getting a stamp and posting it”.
“I was very upset for her and I will pray for her. She signed the letter ‘an old lady’, and it shows this can happen to anyone from any background. I just hope now that with International Women’s Day coming tomorrow, women everywhere will find the courage to speak out” Ms Bowes commented.
Ms Bowes finished up saying: “I hope women young and old will that find strength. It’s important for women to realise help is there for them – from places like Women’s Aid – [and] that legal advice and professional help is available.”
Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon advised the High Court said that she is of the opinion that Ms Bowes’ account was was really took place. She added that this was a very serious case that resulted in the woman suffering difficulties which were ongoing and permanent.
The judge said, even though Mr McSherry’s admissions and apology for the violent assault were made that did not come immediately. The Judge awarded €150,000 appropriate given the circumstances to Ms Bowes.
Posted: February 23rd, 2019
A school injury compensation award of €55,000 for a nine-year-old girl has been approved after the court was informed how she caught her finger in a school door and will no longer be able to grow her nail long.
Solicitor Fiona Crawford, appearing on behalf of the child, advised the court that the girl had been closing the door of a classroom when it had shut back on to her finger. She was rushed to Letterkenny University Hospital for treatment before being taken on to Galway Hospital where a surgical procedure was carried out on her finger by surgeon Michael O’Sullivan.
Ms Crawford advised presiding Judge John Aylmer that, as a direct result of the school door accident injury, the child was quite sensitive to colder temperatures and did no like anyone coming into contact with the affected finger as she had become very self conscious about the pain it could inflict on her. The top of her finger was lost in the accident as it could be be reattached during treatment, Letterkenny Circuit Court was informed.
Ms Crawford told the presiding Judge that the girl in question continued to suffer from a serious amount of discomfort and said she would not be allowed to have her nails grow long due to the injury. Also, she has a visible scar on the top of her finger and her handwriting had also been impacted due to the accident.
At first the young girl was offered a personal injury compensation amount of €35,000 in relation to the accident that happened in April 2017. Ms Crawford said this was considered much too low give the life long injuries that the child will suffer from. Judge Aylmer agreed with this and directed that an improved personal injury compensation amount should be offered to the child.
Both sets of legal representation returned later in the day and the Judge was advised that a higher school injury compensation settlement offer of €55,000 has been agreed upon by all parties. The Judge gave his approval for the improved personal injury compensation offer.
Posted: December 6th, 2018
A bar manager from Limerick, Colin McNamara, has been awarded in excess of €80,000 personal injury compensation at the High Court in relation to a claim he submitted for an accident that occurred at Copper Face Jacks Nightclub.
Mr McNamara broke his ankle in a wet floor slip at the Dublin venue resulting in a double fracture to the joint on October 9, 2015. He was in the Dublin nightclub as part of a visit to the capital for a Republic of Ireland soccer match at the Aviva Stadium in 2015.
Now 36 years old, Mr McNamara, with an address at Sycamore Avenue, Rathbane, Co Limerick had taken the disco accident compensation action against Breanagh Catering Ltd and the proprietors of Copper Face Jacks at Harcourt Street, Dublin, in relation to the injuries he suffered in the accident. Mr McNamara told the Court that he slipped on a floor which was wet and represented a slipping hazard to patrons. He said: “the wet floor caused me to slip and fall. I turned to walk but I ended up on the floor.”
He alleged that there were no attempts to implement any proper steps to clean and dry the floor surface before the accident took place. Along with this he told the court that the floor had been left in a wet and slippy condition which was a serious danger to patrons.
The defendants in the nightclub injury compensation action denied these claims. Mr Justice Hanna advised the High Court that he had been provided with an order of the court giving judgment against the defendant. As a result of this issues of liability were not before the court. As attempts to resolve the case were unsuccessful the defendant opted not intervene in court to fight the medical evidence, as was their right, but instead chose to use a legal cost accountant to settle the case.
Mr McNamara told the High Court Judge that security employees came and picked him up from the ground and brought him out to a back alley where another employee looked at his leg and ankle before telling him that it was not broken. The security staff told him that they were not in a position to call for an ambulance. Mr McNamara told the Court that he “hobbled away” and returned to his hotel by taxi. As he was still suffering from a major amount of pain upon his return to Limerick, Mr McNamara went to hospital where he was advised that he had fractured his ankle in two different places. Following surgery and had to use crutches for a period of time also.
At the High Court Mr Justice Michael Hanna said that Mr McNamara has suffered a serious and significant injury when also considering the fact that works as a bar manager and would need to be on his feet most of the time. He added that Mr McNamara was unable to work for five months due to the surgery. He, Justice Hanna, said that the correct figure of personal injury compensation was €80,000 and another €7,116 ‘special damages’ to pay for medical and other expenses.
Posted: November 1st, 2018
A factory employee who fell to the ground and sustained a severe ankle injury when he tried to move a trapped bin has been awarded €224,000 factory injury compensation at the High Court.
Tomasz Zdejszy was working at a waste collection business when he sustained permanent damage to his ankle. He dropped nine feet to the ground on April 2012 at the business park in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 when the accident occurred.
While passing judgement Justice Michael Hanna said that the 37-year-old man had mounted a waste paper container to try and release a bin by kicking it. The Judge said that Mr Zdejszy had started to climb down from the position due to becoming wary of the height. At this point a colleague passed him a metal bar to help with dislodging the bin.
In his factory injury compensation action against his employer Stewart Foil Ltd, Tomasz alleged that there had been a failure to ensure the safe and proper removal of an obstacle to waste collection without the need for Mr Zdejszy to work at a dangerous height.
In his compensation action taken against Panda Waste Services, he alleged that he was required to remove or move a rubbish bin on a waste container while operating at a height. He also claimed that he was provided an inappropriate implement, a metal bar, to do this.
Justice Hanna found there was twenty per cent contributory negligence on the part of Mr Zdejszy as he did not use sufficient care in relation to his own safety. He ruled that Stewart Foil Ltd were 66% to blame and Panda Waste Services 33% in relation to the accident.
Judge Hanna informed the High Court that Mr Zdejszy had sustained a typical injury for this type of fall, with a severe break of the right side of his foot, reaching into his ankle joint. This fracture led to him developing arthritis on the joint, which needed surgical fusion. Mr Zdejszy experienced permanent loss of movement in his ankle, a loss of heel height of around one an inch on the injured side and has been left suffering ongoing pain.
Posted: October 11th, 2018
€15,000 in travelator injury compensation has been awarded to a man (83) who was injured in a fall when his shopping trolley jammed.
In the Circuit Civil Court Judge Sarah Berkeley was told that John Ansell of Listrolin, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny was on a travelator at the Showgrounds Shopping Centre in Clonmel, Co Tipperary when he fell backwards, injuring his neck and shoulder and cutting his left hand.
Mr Ansell, told the Judge that he had taken a trolley from the Iceland Store. When he was finished paying for his groceries he decided to use the moving walkway to make his way to the second-level car park. When he was about to step off of the travelator with the trolley it jammed. He (Mr Ansell) tried unsuccessfully free it while the walkway kept moving. Other shoppers helped him to release the trolley but it skewed sideways suddenly and threw him back.
Mr Ansell took the shopping centre injury compensation action against two receivers who control the assets of MK 1 Property Investments, the owners of Iceland and Ennis Lifts.
Judge Berkeley was presented with evidence from four experts who attempted to apportion liability for the condition of the moving walkway/travelator and the Iceland trolley used by Mr Ansell.
Judge Berkeley pointed to the evidence that Mr Ansell did not experience any issues with the shopping trolley until he was stepping off the travelator. She added that Mr Ansell was completely blameless for the accident. The judge also referred to the testimony of Mr Ansell’s wife, Karen, that the shopping centre manager had informed her that a similar accident had occurred just one week previous to her husband’s fall. Due to this the judge deemed Mr Ansell’s accident as foreseeable and criticised the failure of the shopping centre management to take action following the previous accident.
As Ennis Lifts had fulfilled the obligations of their maintenance contract the judge awarded the €15,000 travelator injury compensation award jointly against the two receivers and the owners of Iceland.
Posted: September 10th, 2018
A news article in The Irish Examiner newspaper has revealed that there is a lengthening backlog in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, leaving victims of serious violent assaults waiting years to receive compensation.
Since 2012 only 597 payments were have been issued in relation to the 1,357 claims have been initiated. In 2017 only 31 compensation payments were processed to the 181 new applications. In 2018 only 10 victims were issued to the compensation by the end of May 2018 when 73 new cases were recorded during that time period.
The details were present in a reply to a parliamentary question submitted by Fianna Fáil TD John Curran has now asked for an immediate audit of the scheme to discover what is leading to the delays.
Commenting on this Mr Curran TD said: “Despite the fact that the number of cases which settle in a pay-out is declining year on year, there are lengthy delays in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal assisting victims of crime in Ireland. As it stands, should this year’s applications be managed in the very same poor manner it’s likely that just 24 cases will be settled in 2018.
He went on to say: “Victims should expect that they will receive their compensation in a prompt manner and in accordance with constitutional justice. In correspondence I received, the Tribunal itself cited its limited resources and “economic constraints” as contributing factors in the slow process of claims and victims obtaining their due compensation. The Tribunal receives roughly €4 million in budget each year, but it is uncertain how this budget is set considering the number of, and types of cases varies year on year. A thorough review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal must be carried out before next year’s figure of unsettled claims rises even more. This review could not come quick enough for very many victims of crime or their families.”
You can read the full text of his statement by clicking here.
Posted: August 2nd, 2018
€55,000 medical mistreatment compensation has been awarded to the family of an 82-year old man who died at Mayo General Hospital a few days after being rushed to A&E following a road accident.
The man in question, Darby King, who was on anti-coagulation medicine, was only prescribed blood clotting medication ten hours after he was taken to A&E it was alleged.
The accident, which occurred on April 24 2014, left Mr King with minor injuries. However, his condition worsened over the next few days and he died in hospital three days later. A verdict of medical misadventure was returned in a inquest hearing in 2015.
The inquest was advised that there had been “unacceptable delay” in administering blood-clotting medication greatly diminished his chances of survival.
In the High Court, Mr Justice Robert Eagar approved a settlement of €55,000 in the case.
Outside court, Mr King’s daughter, Caroline Murnane, on behalf of the King family said they were very happy to finally have closure on this case.
They said: “There are no words to describe what the past four years has done to us. “We were traumatised by Dad’s death and we have spent the last four years trying to get justice for him and to give him a a voice. We have been tormented every day by the events that unfolded the day Dad was admitted to the hospital. However, the verdict received from Dad’s inquest together with the court ruling will now allow us to move forward.”
Ms Murnane, of Clogher, Claremorris, Co Mayo, and her brother John King, of Drummin, Castlebar, had sued the HSE over the death of their father. It the compensation case they claimed that, as a result of the accident, Mr King suffered cuts to the face, nose and head and was confused.
Addtionally it was claimed that:
- The advice was that the prognosis was inadequate and by the early hours of April 25, Mr King was considered for palliative care.
- There was an alleged failure to diagnose a traumatic head injury and to prescribe blood clotting medication in a timely fashion.
- There was an alleged failure to adhere to the advice of Beaumont Hospital to administer the blood clotting medication as quickly as possible.
The claims were denied by the defendents.
Posted: June 13th, 2018
A settlement has been reached in a High Court action in which a 23-year-old girl claimed she injured her finger when she was thrown out of a well-known Dublin pub by security staff after her friend asked to use the toilets.
Sophie Beardmore – with an address at Redford Park, Greystones, Co Wicklow – had taken the accident injury compensation action against Senture Security Ltd, Citywest, Dublin which is no longer operating, and Triglen Holdings Ltd trading as Dicey’s Garden Bar, Harcourt Street, Dublin, claiming she was illegally assaulted on May 19, 2015.
Her legal counsel alleged that the security staff had shown “an unbelievable overreaction” when there was a “jostle’ with a security man at Dicey’s Garden Bar over using the toilets and Ms Beardmore was taken by the arm and thrown out on to the street.
Ms Beardmore, a business student, sustained a nasty fracture and the index finger on her left hand was in a splint for weeks, while she had difficulty with everyday tasks including writing and washing her hair.
There was an allegation that the failure to provide properly qualified or trained security personnel at the bar led to the incident. Triglen Holdings refuted these claims and those that there was an alleged failure to take any or any reasonable care to see she was safe while lawfully a visitor and patron on the premises.
The incident, which was recorded on CCTV, occurred after Ms Beardmore was in Dicey’s Bar with a friend and had a pint of cider each and shared another pint. Her friend then had to use he toilet but they were not permitted use the toilet in the smoking area and went to a different one.
However, when they went to the other toilet, they were then advised to return to the one in the smoking area, according to Ms Beardmore’s counsel Michael Byrne. They asked once more if they could use the toilet and at this point there was a jostle with a security man and then other security people apprehended the two women.
Ms Beardmore’s hand was snatched by a security person and her friend was also dragged viciously, counsel said, before she was flung out on to the street, Her friend was thrown out after her.
In Court Mr Justice Anthony Barr was advised that the bar accident compensation claim had now been settled.
Posted: May 23rd, 2018
A new father who was sacked by his employer just 11 days after the birth of his new-born baby, while on paternity leave, has been awarded €2,461 in unfair dismissal compensation by the Workplace Relations Commission.
During a work meeting on 12 January 2017 the man, who was employed as horticulturalist was told he was being made redundant – directly after his boss congratulated him on the birth of his baby. He was then asked to clear his desk and leave immediately.
The man took an action for unfair dismissal and the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has upheld his claim and ordered his former employer to pay €2,461. WRC Adjudication Officer, Pat Brady has described the employer’s conduct in the case as “seriously unacceptable”.
The compensation figure awarded would have been higher if the man had remained unemployed for a longer period of time. However as he was diligent in seeking a new job it meant that his precious employer was not liable for as much compensation.
The man pointed out to the WRC hearing that any termination during on paternity leave is automatically found to be unfair on foot of section 20 of the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act, 2016. The employer claimed that he was not aware that the employee being on paternity leave was an issue and the business decision to make the man redundant was due to a re-organisation of the company.
WRC Adjudication Officer, Pat Brady said that the employer in the case had adopted a cavalier attitude to the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act.
Mr Brady said: “Then, in circumstances which could scarcely have been more insensitive, he was given one day’s notice of a meeting at which his employment is terminated and he is told to leave the premises and not to return.”
He added: “However, it is the total absence of any procedures which is of more concern; the lack of proper or any notice, the lack of a selection procedure or consideration of alternatives.”
Posted: April 22nd, 2018
A €32,000 workplace bullying compensation award to a Limerick based Tesco Security Guard has been overturned by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) at the Labour Court.
The individual was employed by Noonan Services Group Limited at the Co Limerick Tesco store. The initial compensation award was made in relation to a complaint regarding a dispute the man had with the store management as he rehabilitated from knee surgery sustained in a previous workplace accident.
During his work shifts at the Tesco store, he would sit on a chair to review live security footage from security cameras.
The store management chose to remove the chair in order to tackle ‘shrinkage’, the practice of articles being stolen from the shop floor. It was hoped that removing the chair would force security staff to walk the aisles instead of sitting at the camera-station, acting as an additional deterrent.
When he asked for the chair to be returned to its original position his request was refused. He also supplied medical testimony that said standing for the entirety of his ten-hour shift he would greatly affect his recovery from his knee. As of November 2015, he ended his employment at the Tesco outlet in question and did not return to work there at any point after that.
At first the WRC had awarded him €32,000, €16,000 for loss of earnings due to going on prolonged leave, and another €16,000 due to his alleged bullying.
Tesco had argued, during the intial case, that the man was employed by Noonan’s and not Tesco. However, the initial ruling by the WRC adjudication officer found that it was right to name Tesco as the respondent as the store maintained considerable command and control over the security guard, regarding annual leave applications and the delivery of security reports for instance.
In the appeal hearing, Tescos claimed that Noonan’s is not an employment agency, as had been argued earlier, but is ‘a provider of managed services’. They maintained, successfully, that neither the Temporary Agency Work Act 2012, nor the Employment Agency Act 1971, applied to such suppliers of managed services.
After considering this the court overturned the original decision to award the man €32,000 in workplace bullying compensation.
Posted: March 21st, 2018
Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, in awarded €20,000 to a six-year-old boy whose laptop computer exploded and caught fired at his mother’s dining room table as ‘scary’.
The young boy Shane, now 10-years-old, took the personal injury compensation action against Hewlett Packard Ireland Ltd through his mother Anne Marie O’Sullivan for up to €60,000 damages for physical and psychological injuries he sustained due to the explosion that happened at their home in Castle Hill, Slane, Co Meath on October 4, 2013.
The Circuit Civil Court was advised by Ms Craddock told that Shane was using the lap top on the dining room table when it exploded, inflicting injury, mainly psychological, on him.
Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, Circuit Court President, commented: “That’s scary. You’re telling me that none of us are safe leaving out lap tops plugged in overnight”.
Ms Craddock told the court “His mother threw it out onto the patio where it continued to burn”. She added that Shane had experienced a darting pain going up his arm at the time and afterwards suffered anxiety about all electrical appliances.
Shane was taken to the clinic of Dr Seamus Kiernan at Watergate Street, Navan, four days after the incident. He was sent for an ECG which subsequently showed no major abnormalities.
Shane had been further reviewed on November 18, 2013 when it was noted he had experienced post trauma stress due to the accident. He became very anxious and insisted on all electrical plugs being switched off at night. He also worried about the safety of lights on Christmas trees.
Appearing in court with her son, Ms O’Sullivan, said in an affidavit that he had a further review in September 2015. Aside from nervousness of electrical appliances, lights and electronics and some minor post trauma stress he had gotten over from the experience and was now taking part in sports again.
The court was told by Ms Craddock that Hewlett Packard Ireland, which has a registered address at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin, had made a €20,000 personal injury compensation settlement offer to Shane and she was recommending that the court approve this award.
Judge Groarke agreed said he felt it was a good personal injury compensation offer in the circumstances and approved it with costs associated.
Posted: February 10th, 2018
A birth scar compensation settlement of €65,000 has been approved for a boy, now aged eight years old, who allegedly sustained a facial injury when he was born at the Coombe Hospital.
The boy, Dara Brennan, it believed to have sustained the injury to his face during an attempted forceps delivery.
Dara experienced scarring to his cheek and two indentations on the right side of his face that remain to this day. The Court was told that both of these are clearly visible when he smiles.
Taking the compensation action on behalf of her son, Lorraine Brennan, of Brayton Park, Kilcock, Co Kildare, sued the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital due to the negligence experienced during his (Dara’s) birth on November 12, 2009.
It was claimed that alleged improper use of forceps at the time of his delivery inflicted the scars the right side of Dara’s face. Legal representatives for the boy said that there was a failure to exercise the necessary care, competence, judgment and skill required during the delivery.
Additionally, it was alleged that a more senior doctor in obstetrics should have been called to attend the birth. Counsel for the Coombe Hospital denied these claims.
Dara’s legal team advised the court that liability in the case was fully contested in the case. They added that medical experts on all sides could not agree on all aspects in relation to the incident.
In approving the birth injury compensation settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross said that it was as near to full compensation as possible.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.