Former Supermarket Worker Awarded €105,000 Workplace Compensation for Cold Room Accident

A workplace accident award of €105,000 has been upheld by the Court of Appeal (CoA)    for a former part-time supermarket staff member who sustained an injury when she fell while operating a pallet truck moving wares.

37-year-old Pamela Phoenix, who now lives in Canada, and formerly of McDonnell Drive, Athy, Co Kildare, took the workplace compensation against Dunnes Stores due to the accident that she had on September 18, 2006. Ms Phoenix was trying to shift the pallet truck in reverse through a cold room when she suddenly slipped and fell heavily, injuring her bottom and back. 

A workplace accident compensation award of €105,929 was approved for Ms Phoenix in the High Court in 2016. The court agreed that she suffered chronic back pain and depressive symptomatology due to the supermarket workplace incident. By October 2007 she had gained a lot of weight. The judge said that he felt Ms Phoenix was a credible witness who did not exaggerate the suffering she experienced.

Dunnes Stores appealed the workplace compensation as, they argued, that the supermarket worker compensation award was excessive and disproportionately high.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, representing the three-judge Court of Appeal, upheld the supermarket workplace compensation award saying while it was probably in the upper range of what is normal, given the role of an appeallate court in other case law, the Court of Appeal cannot take any additional action in relation to this.

After the supermarket staff member accident Ms Phoenix was brought by ambulance to St Lukes’ hospital in Kilkenny. Her X-rays showed no serious damage and she was sent home with some pain-killing tablets. In the immediate aftermath of the the accident she had to use crutches to get around for a few days

She had difficulty returning to work with the same workload that she had tackled before the accident and changed jobs to a position with Elverys. In 2007, still experiencing a considerable amount of back pain, she departed that role. She also has difficulty in maintaining her studies at Maynooth University and became psychologically weak, eventually suffering from depression when she suffered a miscarriage n 2008. Following this Ms Phoenix moved to Canada to start a new life in 2013 where she married and had a baby in 2016.

€30k Bowling Alley Injury Compensation Settlement for Boy who Injured his finger as a Toddler

A boy, now aged eight-years-old, who hurt his finger as a toddler when he was holding a bowling ball has settled his bowling alley injury compensation action for €30,000 at the High Court.

The boy, Kaylum Devitt now has a permanent 2cm scar on his right index finger. The bowling ball finger injury compensation settlement was agreed with a full denial of liability, the court heard.

Taking the compensation action though his Mother Natalie, Kaylum Devitt, of Buirg an Ri, Balgaddy, Lucan, Co Dublin, sued XL Bowl Limited trading as Superdome, Kennelsfort Road, Palmerstown, Dublin, due to the accident that occurred on March 18 2012.

In the High Court it was claimed the young boy’s right index finger was lacerated by a bowling ball and he sustained a fracture to the finger and had to have a surgical procedure to treat it.

Additionally, there was also an alleged failure to take any or any adequate precautions for the safety of the child. It was claimed that the bowling ball was allowed to be remain a danger or hazard on the premises. Counsel for Mr Devitt also stated that there was an alleged failure to provide appropriate children’s equipment in circumstances as the bowling alley was safe for children.

XL Bowl denied  the claims were and said it would be argued in court the toddler was not being properly supervised at the time of the incident.

Philip Sheahan SC, representing Kaylum, told the court the little boy was in the bowling alley with his family and that there may be two opposing accounts of what happened and a claim that people were distracted elsewhere at the time that the accident happened.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr, who examined the scar, said the settlement was for an appropriate sum given the extent of the injuries suffered by the young boy.

Trapeze artist (53) sues Fossett Brothers Circus over Work Injury

A circus Trapeze artist has had her workplace compensation action struck out after she injured her back when a piece of equipment hit her during a big top grand finale.

Ms Bratby said she had finished her trapeze act and was standing with the other circus performers behind the main circus stage, waiting on the start the grand finale when the accident occurred.

Ms Bratby stated that she bent down low to put on her work shoes when a piece of steel tubing, normally used to secure the tight wire, struck her on the back after coming loose.

Aged 53, Ms Bratby with an address at Coolfore Road, Navan Co Meath sued Fossett Brothers Circus Ltd due to the accident that happened on October 11, 2012.
Liability had been accepted workplace accident legal action was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Following talks between the involved parties Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon was advised by John Mc Donagh SC, for Ms Bratby, the workplace compensation case could be struck out.

As she had alleged there had been a failure to make sure a heavy prop was adequately secured and a claimed failure to provide a safe place in which to work.

Ms Bratby’s legal representatives argued that she (Ms Bratby) was severely restricted in her work as a result of stiffness and pain and could not achieve an earning capacity similar to her pre-accident level. She could not continue with her trapeze act as confidently she had before the accident.

After initially having to spend the three days immediately after the accident in bed and she said she still experiences back pain in her current job at a petting farm.
Ms Bratby told the court that, prior to sustaining the injuries, she had aspiration to become a circus ring master.

On a circus tour in the Netherlands not long after the workplace accident she took part in nine performances. However, she was only able to complete basic tricks on the trapeze and could not in position to use the swing. During 2013 she had a limited schedule due to her injuries.

However, when the argument that she (Ms Bratby) earned two and a half times more after the accident that before it was made by legal representative for Fossetts, Ms Bratby said that she could not stand over her claims.

The judge allowed five minutes recess for the parties to consider their position and, following this, Ms Bratby’s legal team advised her that the case could be struck out.

Street Assault Compensation Award of €710k for Attacked Barman

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal has awarded a Dublin barman €710,000 for traumatic brain injuries sustained in a street assault.

The injuries were suffered by Stephen Plunkett, now aged 32, from Blackrock, Dublin around 12 years when he was involved in what was termed ‘horseplay’ with a group of people. In the action that followed Mr Plunkett was chased and suffered blows to his head due to a fall and subsequent kicks to the head.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross Court approved the tribunal award to Mr Plunkett in relation to the suffering he sustained in the street attack which occurred at Torquay Road, Foxrock, Dublin on August 21, 2006.

The Court was advised that, as a sole member of the tribunal had determined that Mr Plunkett was 50% to blame and a street assault compensation award of €634,000 was re-evaluated as to the figure €317,000.

An appeal was brought to the High Court on behalf of Mr Plunkett. At this time all the details of the case were considered at a full oral hearing in front of a three-member tribunal.

The three-member tribunal remarked that, after examining the Garda report of the case the details indicated that Mr Plunkett verbally attacked a separate group of people earlier on in the night this seemed to have been settled by the shaking of hands between the groups.

It was claimed that Mr Plunkett, in appeared to strike a member of the other group on the back of the head with a light bamboo type stick, prompting them to chase him.

During the chase Stephen fell and hit his head. Member of the group are believed to have kicked him while he was on the ground.

It was determined, by the tribunal that Mr Plunkett should be admitted to the compensation scheme. As he was the victim of an assault and that he suffered his injuries following a criminal act.

It was also ruled that Mr Plunkett was, at least partially to blame for the incident and a deduction of 40pc was applied to the final award.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the €710,000 street accident compensation award.

Almost €250m paid in Medical Negligence Claims during 2017

The State Claims Agency (SCA)  has revealed that a record figure of €248.88m was paid in medical negligence claims during 2017.

This figure is an increase of 20.6% on the amount paid out during 2016, €206.4m in total.

In the report released by the State Claims Agency, figures indicate that that the SCA has paid out €1.123bn since 2010 in relation to medical negligence compensation claims. The figures produced show that between clinical, and €32.87m in general claims awarded against the general health sector, the SCA has paid out €1.235bn in total in the last seven years.

These details were revealed to Fianna Fail Finance Spokesman Michael McGrath by the Minister for Finance Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe following a written request for the specific details of the figures paid out by the State in compensation claims.

There were also significant increases in compensation claims against other sectors since 2010 including:

  • €23.6m in personal injury claims awarded against the Defence Forces.
  • €19m out by the Irish Prison Service
  • €11m paid out the Child and Family Agency TUSLA since it was established in 2013
  • €111m paid out by state authorities since 2010.

The main finding of the report was that, by far, that largest portion of compensation pay outs by the SCA in 2017 was taken up by the public medical sector.

Another significant point to note from compensation claims made against the state in 2017 were as follows:

  • €1.38m was last year paid out by the SCA on behalf of Comprehensive and Community Schools with €296,673 paid out by the Dept of Health.
  • €261,569 was paid out by the Deptartment of Justice while €574,632 was paid out on behalf of Day Schools.
  • €196,090 was paid out by Childrens’ Detention Schools.

Playground Accident at Bettystown Caravan Park Results in €975,000 Settlement

A man, now aged 20, who was paralysed from the waist down after falling off a small child’s playground swing in a Bettystown. The judge, referring to the incident as a ‘silly act’ has approved a €975,000 personal injury settlement in relation to the accident.

Liam Daly (20) sustained suffered thea serious spine injury on July 24, 2013. when he fell and landed heavily on his back. Liam fell from the playground swing, designed for toddlers and young children, in the caravan park in Bettystown where the family’s mobile home was located.

John Daly, father of Liam Daly, Nephin Road, Dublin 7, took the compensation claim for the playground accident against Lynch’s Caravan Park, Bettystown.

Bruce Antoniotti SC, legal counsel for Mr Daly, told the court that the Daly family had been holidaying at the caravan park for 10 years with no incident prior to the accident occurring. It was claimed that the cradle seat of the swing rotated to the most extreme arc position and Liam was thrown in the air. Mr Antoiniotti stated that there was not enough done to prevent teenagers form using the swings. The Lynch’s denied these claims as and did not argued that there was contributory negligence as the plaintiff got on a swing which was designed for younger  and smaller children.

He sat on the cradle of the swing in question but, as he swung, he fell back and sustained a very serious spinal injury. Counsel for Mr Daly said that the protective cover on the ground was not ‘state of the art’ but accepted that this was irrelevant as it would not have restricted the injuries suffered by him.

He (Liam) is now wheelchair bound. Despite his injuries Mr Daly has learned to drive a car and is looking for job.

In approving the playground accident compensation settlement Mr Justice Cross Mr Daly was just aged 15 at the time of the accident and the injuries he suffered were the result of a ‘silly act’.

Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries Lead to Death of Air Corps Members’ Children According to Whistleblower Allegations

A protected disclosure alleging that children of Air Corps workers lost their lives due to toxic chemical personal injury at Baldonnel Airfield has been made by a Defence Forces whistleblower.

Previously in 2017 a document was published to the public in which a worker employed by the Defence Forces claimed to have proof of the “the untimely deaths of at least 20 adults…of which I believe died of illness related to unprotected chemical exposure”.

Included in this dossier were evidence that the death of a newborn girl happened due to ventricular septal defect (heart defect), a five year old boy died while having surgery to address a ‘malrotated intestine’ and a girl aged 15 died after contracting Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of cancer and her father is suffering from leukaemia at present.

There have been claims made about the effects of chemical exposure on the wives of members of the defence forces. A mechanic, who previously worked with the Air Corps, noticed that a number of these women had experienced more than one miscarriages and in one particular case, a woman had eight consecutive miscarriages. An independent third party, former civil servant Christopher O’Toole, was appointed by the Minister for Defence in 2016, to investigate the allegations

Leader of Fianna Fáil Mr Micheál Martin said he believes a Commission of Investigation is now necessary. He stated “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.”

Although the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have advised that procedures into risk assessment need to be reviewed, a whistleblower has said that these steps are “too little, too late”,especially in the case of those who have lost family members or who have developed life-changing illnesses and injuries.

There have been allegations issued that these deaths are due to organizational failure on the part of the Defence Forces which meant that Air Corps personnel were exposed to toxic chemicals. The Defence Forces are now facing Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries compensation actions by some former employees. The Defence Forces have released a statement stating, “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

 

 

Mouth Injury Compensation of €30,000 for Garda Injured While at Work

A garda, Sean Kelly aged 31 who is due to be married next weekend, has been awarded €30,000 mouth injury compensation after he was assaulted while at work on January 7 2012.

Garda Kelly,  said that he is still sensitive about a scar on his upper lip and advised Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still paranoid about the star-shaped scar. Despite this he was still able to joke to the the judge that he may have to don some make-up when he gets married next Saturday.

The incident happened just under five years ago when he was on duty. Counsel for Garda Kelly, Barrister Fiona Gallagher, advised the High Court that he had been called to a house in Finglas regarding a man who, had just been released from a psychiatric institution where he had been treated. He was threatening to self harm. Garda Kelly was accompanied by two colleagues.

Garda Kelly stated that the individual, who had swallowed large amounts of non-prescriptive medication, had shut himself in his bathroom. From there he was threatening to jump from the bathroom window. When they tried to apprehend the man Garda Kelly was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder, which lacerated his lip, in the resulting melee.

Garda Kelly had to be taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to be treated immediately due to the major bleeding that followed. When he was treated, a piece of porcelain was found to be still stuck in his upper lip. X-rays showed he had not been inflicted with any major fractures.

After this he was given an anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, many of them on the inside of his mouth. Later, when the scar later became infected, he had to follow a course of antibiotics until the infection was cured. The scar on the outside of his lip was noticeable at close distance and he was still very paranoid about it.

Barrister Derek Ryan, Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure, advised the High Court that, due to the results of conflicting medical reports, he did not feel Garda Kelly had suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the degree that there should be an exceptional compensation award.

State Healthcare Employees Make Five Sexual Harassment Claims Against Patients

Five employees working in the State healthcare system filed sexual harassment claims over the last number of years, believing they were assaulted by patients, according to details in a recent media report.

The State Claims Agency has not published specific details about where the claimed abuse took place in these or any other separate cases.

The claims are in connection to incidents that took place between 2012 and 2016 and encompass almost half of all sexual harassment claims being managed by the State Claims Agency for the State.

Up until recently, the State Claims Agency had declined to release any further information on such claims.

There have been calls from political party Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency to release a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies. This comes after the original refusal by the State Claims Agency to release such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it manages for the State.

The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee made contact with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan during November to ask him to back a call for the data to be published. After this the State Claims Agency published a small amount of information on the number of such sexual harassment claims. However, it did not state where the claims originated from specifically.

In an official statement published it said that the State Claims Agency has managed 11 individual claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it stated was “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also stated that in six of the cases they’ve managed the claimed assailant and victim are both employees. In the other five cases they said the person allegedly responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare sector and the victim was a employee.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) stated “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical).”

 

Personal Injury Compensation of €1,000 Offered for Charleville Show Assault

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin judge issued a stark warning to a teenager accused of breaking another youth’s jaw in an assault that has resulted in an order to pay €1,000 personal injury compensation.

After no offer of compensation was made at the court heaing last week, Judge Ó Donnabháin advised the accused youth that he would want to “wakey wakey” in terms of compensation.

The youth returned to court yesterday and there was €1,000 offered by way of personal injury compensation according to Legal Counsel for the defendant, Dermot Sheehan. Subsequently the judge adjourned sentencing until November 20 with the accused remanded on bail.

The assault took place at Charleville Show on June 26, 2016 when one young man headbutted the victim to the left side of his jaw and walked away. He, (the defendant) then approached the victim and struck him with a closed fist on the same side of his face. As a result of this the victim suffered a serious injury to his jaw. In the treatment that followed he had to have two plates and splints inserted into his jaw and he also lost some teeth.

Mr Sheehan advised the Court that said the accused, who is not named as he is a juvenile, suffers from health issues. Having read the report produced Judge Ó Donnabháin commented that: “He has not got health issues, he has behavioural issues.”

At the original hearing last week, the judge believed that it was unreasonable for the accused to appear before Cork Circuit Criminal Court with no compensation offer prepared.

Cost of Compensation Claims taken Against the State Increase to €2.2bn

Following another busy year for personal injury claims the overall amount of money paid out in compensation claims against the State increased by almost a fifth to €2.2 billion by the end of 2016.

In a report released by the State Claims Agency at the end of September there is more evidence that the cost of the compensation claims taken against the State has continued to increase. The State Claims Agency is the body is responsible for managing legal cases brought against the State.

By the end of last year the approximate cost of outstanding compensation actions against the State had grown by €400m to €2.2 billion, an increase of 22 per cent, during the 12 months of 2016.

Notable Increases Shown in Stage Claims Agency Release

  • 8,900 legal compensation actions were classified as pending against the State at the end of 2016. This figure was just 6,000 in 2011.
  • A 24% increase, from the 2015 figures, in legal actions was experienced.
  • There were approximately 2,300 legal actions against the State during 2016..

Other reasons for the increase include a recent Supreme Court ruling. This ruling stated that compensation sums paid to anyone who successfully sues for damages should be higher as the returns on the cash they are due to receive have fallen. This resulted in increased amounts awarded in compensation.

The State Claims Agency, established in 2001 handles personal injury, clinical negligence and property damage claims taken against State bodies. It is part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

The NTMA is responsible for the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) and New Era, which oversees commercial State companies.

Compensation Settlement of €25,000 Aprroved Following Fall in Tayto Park

An injury compensation claim, resulting from a boy (8) falling from a playground tower at Tayto Park in 2012, has been settled for €25,000 in the High Court.

Now aged 13, Conor Bolger of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, sued Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, Co Meath trading as Tayto Park, through his father Brian Bolger due the the injuries he suffered in the incident on March 25, 2012. Conor had to undergo surgery to have pins inserted in his lower arm which he fractured near his elbow

Mr Bolger’s Legal team argued that the playground tower was overcrowded and Conor fell due to this. Additionally, they said, the area on the ground surrounding the tower, one of the main attractions in the park at the time of the incident, was not adequately covered by protective wood chips when the fall occurred. It was also alleged that there was not a sufficient system of constant inspections and safety checks implemented at Tayto Park at the time of the incident. Had this been in place it would have been seen that the protection was not adequate at prior to the fall.

He (Conor) fractured his left elbow as a result in the fall and had his elbow was in a cast for a month. Pins were inserted below his elbow during an operation.

David McGrath SC stated that Ashbourne Visitor Centre (Tayto Park) denied the claims and argued that Mr Bolger was climbing the playground tower when he simply “just fell”. Mr McGrath SC claimed that there was no inadequacy with the structure of the tower itself.  Despite this Counsel advised the High Court that the Bolger family were satisfied with proposed settlement of €25,000 for playground accident compensation.

High Court Justice Kevin Cross approved the proposed compensation settlement, commenting that the scar on Mr Bolger’s elbow was not “too upsetting” and that Conor, a basketball player, could have had his enjoyment of the sport damaged due to the injuries experienced.

Claim for a Hospital Fall Injury Heard in Court

A woman, who fractured her spine after falling out of bed, has successfully made a claim for a hospital fall injury at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court.

The woman – who lives in Finglas, Dublin – made her claim for a hospital fall injury following her accident at the Mater Hospital in April 2015. The woman had attended the hospital as a day patient for a routine gastroscopy procedure. However, as she was recovering from the procedure, she attempted to get out of bed and fell – suffering a fractured spine.

Her injury resulted in an extended stay at the Mater Hospital before being transferred to the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital in Clontarf for specialised treatment. She remained in Clontarf Hospital for three months before being removed by her daughter who was concerned about her wellbeing.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a claim for a hospital fall injury against the Mater Hospital; alleging she had been left alone to recover after the procedure, which – as she had previously been hospitalised following a fall at her home – was in contravention of the hospital´s own falls prevention policy.

Her claim went to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Judge James O´Donohoe. At the hearing, the judge was told the accident had a serious effect on the plaintiff´s quality of life. Rather than cope with most things by herself, as she had done prior to her accident, the woman now had to wear a lumbar brace and walks with the assistance of a Zimmer frame.

An expert witness on behalf of the plaintiff testified the hospital had failed in its duty of care to the plaintiff by failing to adhere to its falls prevention policy and a representative of the hospital explained how the accident happened. However, the hospital´s representative could not tell Judge O´Donohoe why the nurse who first attended the plaintiff after her fall had not been called to give evidence.

Commenting that the nurse´s absence “speaks volumes” the judge found in the plaintiff´s favour and awarded her €58,500 compensation in settlement of her claim for a hospital fall injury. The judge granted a request to place a stay on the award pending a possible appeal, but ordered that €30,000 of the compensation settlement was paid immediately.

Woman Awarded Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

A woman has been awarded more than €234,000 compensation for dog bite injuries she sustained in a terrifying attack by two powerful boxer dogs.

The unnamed woman was enjoying an evening walk along a rural lane when the attack happened. Two boxer dogs, who had been standing in the driveway of their owner´s home, started to approach her. The woman told them to go home, but they jumped up at her, knocked her to the ground, and started attacking her.

The woman´s first thoughts were to protect her face by covering it with her arms, but the dogs managed to get through her defences – biting her face, head, forearms and body, and causing multiple puncture wounds and lacerations that have now developed into visible and permanent scars.

The attack was stopped by a passing lady motorist, who sounded the horn of her car and frightened the dogs away. The boxer dogs have since been destroyed and their owners admitted liability when the woman made a claim for compensation for dog bite injuries. In order to settle the claim, the case went to the High Court for an assessment of damages.

At the assessment hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the details of the attack. The judge also heard evidence from medical experts who attested to her physical and emotional injuries. When the woman gave her evidence, she told the judge who she had been devastated by the change in her appearance and how her young children had been frightened to get close to her.

Judge Barr was shown photographs of the woman taken shortly before and after the attack, and he accepted she had undergone a profound change in her appearance, personality and mental state as a result. The judge also acknowledge she had suffered a moderate level of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Awarding the woman €234,557 compensation for dog bite injuries, the judge said he was confident she had had not exaggerated the injuries she had sustained nor embellished the details of the terrifying attack.

Man Sentenced for Historic Child Abuse

A man from County Clare has been given a suspended prison sentence of fifteen months for the historic child abuse of a fourteen-year-old boy in 1976.

The incident occurred in June 1976 at a campsite outside of Cheekpoint – a small village on the River Suir, approximately twelve kilometres outside of Waterford. The victim was one of a small group of teenage boys that had arrived in Waterford earlier in the day and been taken to the campsite by their scout leader.

Later that evening, the scout leader – who cannot be named as it would identify the victim – beckoned to the fourteen-year-old boy to come closer to his tent and, as the boy approached, he was pulled inside of the tent. The scout leader then started tickling him and touching him inappropriately. The boy did not report the historic child abuse until 2013.

When questioned by the gardaí, the former scout leader – who is now 73 years of age and lives in County Clare – admitted that he might have touched the boy inappropriately and was charged with historic child abuse. He subsequently resigned from UCC´s Board of Management and was placed on the sexual offenders list. He also paid his victim more than €7,500 compensation.

At the sentencing hearing at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Eugene O´Kelly heard the offender describe the event as “an isolated incident from many years ago” for which he was extremely sorry. The judge was also told the former scout leader had no former convictions and – due to being placed on the sexual offenders list – no longer has access to his grandchildren.

The court was also read a victim impact statement in which it was claimed the victim – now 54 years of age – had suffered nightmares as a result of the historic child abuse and, later in life, had drunk heavily – causing his business to suffer as a result. The victim´s legal representative told the court he has been taking anti-depressants for the past twenty-eight years.

Judge O´Kelly initially sentenced the former scout leader to twenty months in prison – reducing the sentence to fifteen months and suspending it for three years due to a “significant element of remorse” and the fact that the historic child abuse took place more than forty years ago.

Advice about Compensation for Noise Induced Hearing Loss

A settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss should take into account the consequences of the injury on your quality of life.

If you have suffered damage to your hearing due to an employer´s failure to provide a safe environment for you to work in, you will be eligible to claim compensation for noise induced hearing loss. The usual process for this is to apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim and support your application with a report from your doctor explaining the extent of your injury.

It is also important you communicate the consequences of your injury as well. The Injuries Board can only assess your application based on the information provided. If you fail to mention your quality of life has deteriorated and you have less self-confidence than previously because of your injury, the Injuries Board will be unaware of these factors and not account for them in the assessment of your claim.

The consequences of your injury will have to be supported with documentary evidence wherever possible for the consequences of your injury to be considered in the assessment of compensation for noise induced hearing loss. In many cases this can be difficult, and is why you should seek legal advice from an injury solicitor with experience of submitting applications for assessment to the Injuries Board.

In order to get a full understanding of how your noise induced hearing loss has affected your quality of life, your solicitor will ask you to keep a diary and record the times when your loss of hearing has made a noticeable difference to your quality of life. This may be when you find it hard to watch a film on TV, follow a conversation in a pub, or enjoy an outing with your family.

Your solicitor will help you complete the application to the Injuries Board to ensure these factors are included in their assessment, and to ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss. If you are unable to speak over the phone with a solicitor because of the extent of your injury, you can have somebody call on your behalf or arrange a home visit.

Jogger Awarded Compensation for a Trip and Fall Injury on Council Land

A jogger has been awarded €60,000 compensation for a trip and fall injury on council land after the council attempted to argue that the claim was fraudulent.

On September 18th, 2011, the male jogger tripped on a hole in the surface of a footpath in the Clondalkin caravan site in Dublin. When he fell, he fractured a knuckle on his right hand which he subsequently had to undergo surgery for and has since been left with a scar.

As the caravan site is owned and managed by South Dublin County Council, the jogger claimed compensation for a trip and fall injury on council land. The council disputed liability and argued the man – who was a keen boxer – had injured his knuckle in a fight.

Due to the dispute over liability, the case went to the High Court where it was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr. During the hearing, it was disclosed that the man had been involved in a car accident the previous day in which he had suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck and back.

The council used this information to express doubts that the man would have gone jogging the day after an accident, and repeated its argument that the injury had been sustained in a boxing match. However, judge Barr accepted the evidence of a medical witness, who testified that the man was just trying to run off his soft tissue injury.

The judge concluded this was a “credible explanation” for why the man had been jogging on the morning after a car accident, and awarded him €55,000 compensation for a trip and fall injury on council land – increasing the award by €5,000 to account for the aggressive manner in which the council had pursued their argument the claim was fraudulent.

Judge Barr said in his closing remarks that the evidence suggested the plaintiff was injured in the manner in which he had claimed. He added there was no evidence to suggest the jogger was making a fraudulent claim, and he was entitled to the additional compensation for the upset caused to him by the nature of the unsuccessful defence put forward by South Dublin County Council.

Claims for Car Accident Injuries Settled in Court

Two claims for car accident injuries compensation – made by plaintiffs injured in the same accident – have been settled for a combined total of €37,500.

The two injured plaintiffs were travelling in the same car from Dublin to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition in November 2013. While driving along the M1 at a speed of 80-90kmph, the sun roof of the car they were travelling in blew off. Alarmed at the sudden noise and the rush of air entering the car, the driver – one of the two injured plaintiffs – braked hard.

The rapid deceleration of the vehicle caused the two plaintiffs and three other family members travelling in the car, to suffer whiplash-type injuries. Two children strapped into child seats were unharmed. The second plaintiff – the driver´s 72-year-old mother – suffered the worse injuries of all, including a compression fracture to one of the vertebrae in her lower back.

The injured members of the family made claims for car accident injuries against the showroom from which the car had been purchased just four months earlier. It was alleged in the claims for car accident injuries that the sun roof had been faulty and the fault should have been identified by the dealer – Denis Mahony Limited of Kilbarrack Road in Dublin.

Mahony´s denied liability for the faulty sun roof and the plaintiffs´ injuries, but – at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin – Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that corrosion found around the remaining frame of the sun roof would have been present on the Toyota at the time it was sold. According to the testimony of an independent motor assessor, the corrosion led to the sun roof blowing off.

Judge Groarke said he accepted that the sun roof flying off at 90kmph would have been a terrifying experience and understood why the driver plaintiff had applied the brakes so sharply. He awarded the driver of the car €12,500 compensation and her mother €25,000 compensation in settlement of their claims for car accident injuries.

Toxic Chemical Exposure Claims at Casement Airbase

The Journal published an article about toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase and the effects chemicals had on servicemen and their families.

According to the article, a former Air Corps mechanic has made toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase to highlight a lack of health and safety procedures. The “whistle-blower” has alleged that servicemen, their partners and their children have suffered illnesses and development issues – and in some cases death – due to exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals.

The claims were made under a protected disclosure agreement in an address to Ministers, TDs, senators and a Defence Forces representative. They were supported by documentation claiming twenty former servicemen may have died due to the exposure to toxic chemicals. Five children born with cancer-related conditions or birth defects are also claimed to have died due to their parents´ exposure.

The former Air Corps mechanic told the assembly: “I have come across several personnel whose wives have had multiple miscarriages both in serving and in retired personnel. In one case, a retired member’s wife had eight miscarriages in succession. I am also aware of three personnel who shared in an office in Casement´s engineering wing whose wives all had a miscarriage in the same six-month timeframe.”

The latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase are in addition to six personal injury claims already being made against the Defence Forces by former air corps servicemen. In their claims the former servicemen claim they were exposed to high levels of the restricted substance dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks.

The Defence Forces have also been threatened with prosecution by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) who last year conducted an inspection of the working conditions at Casement Airbase. Among a series of faults at the airbase, inspectors found a failure to conduct risk assessments or provide personal protective equipment to personnel working with hazardous substances.

When asked to comment on the latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase, a spokesperson for the Department of Defence told the Journal an independent investigator was reviewing the claims and there would be no comment until the final report was received and studied. A spokesperson for the Defence Forces told the Journal: “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Judge Reluctant to Approve Compensation for an Eyebrow Injury

A judge has said he is reluctant to approve a settlement of compensation for an eyebrow injury until the impact of the injury in later life is known.

The proposed settlement of compensation for an eyebrow injury was in a relation to a claim made on behalf of a four-year-old girl, who was injured in an accident while travelling with her mother on a Dublin bus in 2015.

The accident occurred when the bus driver braked suddenly to avoid an unmarked garda car that had pulled out into a bus lane. Although strapped into her buggy, the girl – who was twenty-two months old at the time – hit her head on an upright support of the bus.

Following the accident, the girl was taken to Temple Street Children´s Hospital, where a cut on the girl´s forehead was cleaned and sealed with seristrips. Although a barely visible scar remains, it is possible that the girl´s eyebrow hair will not develop normally as she gets older.

A claim for compensation for an eyebrow injury was made by the girl´s mother on her daughter´s behalf. Dublin Bus and the Garda Commissioner accepted liability for the injury, and a settlement of compensation amounting to €10,000 was offered to the family.

As the claim for compensation for an eyebrow injury had been made on behalf of a minor, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge before it could be finalised. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court last week, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident and the consequences of the injury.

Judge Groarke inspected the young girl´s eyebrow and said he could still see a visible scar. He commented that, as it was difficult to tell if the girl had made a complete recovery, he was reluctant to approve the settlement at this stage. He adjourned the approval hearing for six weeks in order that a medical report could be prepared on how the injury may interfere with the growth of the girl´s eyebrow hair in the future.

Sanofi Acknowledges Valproate Birth Defect Claims

The drug manufacturer Sanofi has issued a statement acknowledging the valproate birth defect claims being made against the company in a French class action.

The drug responsible for prompting the valproate birth defects claims is Depakine – an anti-epilepsy drug that has been available in Ireland since 1983 under the trade name Epilim. Epilim contains an active ingredient – sodium valproate – that stabilises electrical activity in the brain and has therefore also been prescribed for bipolar disorder, migraine and other chronic pain conditions.

When taken by pregnant mothers, the risk exists that the sodium valproate will be absorbed as valproic acid in the bloodstream and affect the health of their unborn child. In Ireland, children born after being exposed to valproic acid can suffer from spina bifida, autism and a range of congenital and development issues under the umbrella term “foetal valproate syndrome”.

The risks were first identified in France in the 1980s – where Depakine had been prescribed since 1967 – but no formal announcement was made to the medical profession by Sanofi until 2006. Even then, few medical professionals were aware of the side effects until France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – investigated valproate birth defect claims in the Rhone-Alpes region last year.

IGAS´ research revealed that around 450 babies in the region had been born with congenital defects between 2006 and 2014 after being exposed to valproic acid. The report called for a warning to be printed on the outside of each box of Epilim advising pregnant women not to take the drug, and also promoted a much deeper study of the risks by France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM).

The results of that study were recently released following an investigation into the health of 8,701 children, born to women known to have taken Depakine while pregnant between 2007 and 2014. The results revealed that up to 4,100 children had been born with “severe malformations” and many hundreds more had died in the womb or been delivered stillborn.

Following the release of the study, Sanofi issued a statement in which the company said: “We are aware of the painful situation confronting the families of children showing difficulties that may have a link with the anti-epileptic treatment of their mother during pregnancy.” However, the statement has not satisfied parents of the children affected by the side effects of Epilim, and they have started a class action of valproate birth defect claims to recover compensation for their children.

In Ireland, Epilim is still sold without a warning in large type on the front of the packet, and it is not known how many children have been born with birth defects due to being exposed to valproic acid. If a member of your family has been affected by this tragic situation, and you would like to know more about valproate birth defect claims, you should speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Judge Approves Settlement of Spanish Holiday Injury Claim

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved the settlement of a Spanish holiday injury claim after being told there may be a doubt over liability.

The Spanish holiday injury claim resulted from an accident in the swimming pool of the Sol Principe Hotel in Torremolinos in which an eight-year-old girl was injured. The girl had been swimming in the pool when another holidaymaker dived in. Unfortunately the holidaymaker landed on top of the girl and pushed her to the bottom of the pool, where she cut her chin on the tiles.

The girl´s father took her to a local medical centre, where the injury was treated. On the family´s return to Ireland, the girl´s father sought legal advice and – on his daughter´s behalf – made a Spanish holiday injury claim against the owners of the Sol Principe Hotel and the Irish travel agent through whom the family holiday had been booked.

In the Spanish holiday injury claim, it was alleged there had been a failure by the hotel to take adequate safety precautions while guests were using the pool. It was claimed that the accident could have been prevented with adequate supervision and, that as a result of the accident, the girl had suffered pain and discomfort and experienced a disturbance of her social and recreational life.

The allegations were denied by the defendants and a full defence entered against the Spanish holiday injury claim. An offer of compensation based on what the family would receive if the claim was successfully heard in Spain was declined, and a second offer of settlement was forthcoming – the offer of €12,500 being accepted by the family on advisement of their solicitor.

As the Spanish holiday injury claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to be approved by a judge. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, the circumstances of the accident and details of the offer were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. After hearing that the girl had a 1cm scar on her chin as a result of the accident, but liability may be in doubt if the case went to a full hearing, Judge Groarke said he was happy to approve the settlement in the circumstances.

Woman Awarded €25,000 in Settlement of Taxi Passenger Accident Claim

A violinist who claims she is unable to practise because of a shoulder injury has been awarded €25,000 in settlement of her taxi passenger accident claim.

The thirty-three year old woman made her taxi passenger accident claim following a rear-end accident on 8th March 2012 on Wexford Street in Dublin. She claimed that, despite the impact between the two vehicles not being particularly significant, she had suffered a soft tissue injury to her right shoulder that prevented her from practising the violin without pain.

The woman was prescribed painkillers by her GP after seeking medical attention the following day, but claims the medication has not resolved her injury. She applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her taxi passenger accident claim and, although the negligent driver admitted liability for her injury, the woman rejected the proposed settlement.

An authorisation was issued by the Injuries Board in order that the woman could pursue her taxi passenger claim in court. The hearing for the assessment of damages took place earlier this week before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, who was told that the woman was an accomplished musician who had successfully auditioned for Sweden´s International Chamber Music Festival.

Judge Groarke noted that the evidence in the case suggested that the woman´s soft tissue injuries would have healed soon after the accident as they were “not very serious”, however he also acknowledged that this was an exceptional case as the woman needed a perfect shoulder on which to rest her violin and practise.

Judge Groarke dismissed claims made by the insurance company representing the defendant that her injury was unrelated to the accident and, although admitting that the medical evidence in the case was “conflicting”, he awarded the woman €25,000 in settlement of her taxi accident compensation claim.

Claim for an Accident in a Sewerage Plant Resolved at Court

A claim for an accident in a sewerage plant, that left an employee with an ongoing back issue, has been resolved at the High Court.

The plaintiff – a former employee of the decommissioned Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary – was working at the plant on 3rd February 2010, when he slipped on sewerage waste that had overflowed from the inlet channels onto the path.

As a result of his slip and fall accident, the plaintiff sustained a back injury and, for several weeks, experienced headaches. Due to the ongoing back issue, he was unable to return to his maintenance job that mostly consisted of cleaning the flume surrounds.

The plaintiff applied to the Injuries Board for assessment of his claim for an accident in a sewerage plant, but consent to conduct the assessment was denied by his employers – Templemore Town Council. The Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the plaintiff to pursue his claim through the court system.

The claim was heard this week at the High Court, where Mr Justice Raymond Fullam was told that the council had allegedly failed to provide the plaintiff with a safe system of work and the appropriate tools to carry out his duties.

In its defence, Templemore Town Council argued that, as cleaning the pathways was one of plaintiff´s duties, he should have dealt with the situation before it became a hazard. The council also argued that, if the plaintiff needed further tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them.

Judge Fullam agreed that the hard standings of the flume were in a bad state on the day of the accident, and said that the total value of the plaintiff´s claim was €79,000. However, the judge attributed the plaintiff with 40% contributory negligence to the cause of his accident and subsequently decreased the settlement of the claim for an accident in a sewerage plant to €47,400.

Claim for a Creche Trip and Fall Injury Settled by Negotiation

A woman´s claim for a creche trip and fall injury has been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount during a hearing to determine liability.

In January 2015, the twenty-six year old childcare worker was employed by the Precious Minds creche in Lucan, Dublin, when she was asked by a senior member of staff to help her change nappies in the babies room. The woman was looking after a group of one and two year old children at the time, but she complied with the request, taking the children who were awake with her.

The woman´s colleague left the babies room shortly after to attend to other matters – leaving the young childcare worker alone with nine children. While she was helping one of the children, the woman tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor injured her back as she fell to the floor. She was subsequently diagnosed with a soft tissue injury, from which she still suffers.

The woman made a claim for a creche trip and fall injury to the Injuries Board. However, Precious Minds withheld their consent for the assessment to be conducted on the grounds that the childcare worker was responsible for ensuring the floor was free of hazards that could harm the children, and had therefore contributed to the cause of her accident by her own lack of care.

The Injuries Board issued the woman with an authorisation so that she could pursue her claim for a trip and fall injury through the courts. The hearing took place last week before Judge Brian O´Callaghan, who was told by counsel for the creche that the plaintiff was the author of her own misfortune. However, a forensic engineer testified on behalf of the plaintiff that the creche had created an unduly stressful situation by leaving the woman with nine children to care for.

Following a brief adjournment, Judge O´Callaghan was informed that the claim for a creche trip and fall injury had been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount and without an admission of liability. The judge commented that it was good that the two parties had reached an agreement, and he awarded the woman her legal costs before striking her claim.

Judge Awards Employee Compensation for a Fall at Heuston Station

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded a former restaurant employee compensation for a fall at Heuston Station caused by a slip on pigeon droppings.

On May 15th, 2013, the twenty-five year old former employee was serving customers and clearing tables at the Heuston Refreshment Rooms, when she slipped on pigeon droppings and fell. Due to the way in which her right leg wen from under her, and the way she fell sideways onto her knees and lower back, the woman suffered significant soft tissue injuries to her knees, ankles and lower back.

After receiving medical attention, the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a fall at Heuston Station. The two parties she considered liable for her injuries – Heuston Refreshment Rooms and Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE) – declined to give their consent for the assessment to proceed, and an authorisation was issued to pursue her claim in court.

The claim was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing Judge Groarke was told that the plaintiff´s duties were often interrupted by the need to shoo pigeons away from customers and their food. It was alleged that groups of pigeons visited the restaurant six to seven times each day and that the woman´s employers were aware of the problem.

In its evidence, the restaurant said it was aware the pigeons and their droppings created a hazard, and that it had complained to CIE on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, the measures implemented to deter the pigeons from entering the station – including spikes, humane traps and a hawk on a pole with which the pigeons had become acquainted – had failed to be effective.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Groarke found in the plaintiff´s favour. He said that her accident had been completely foreseeable and completely preventable, and he awarded her €22,500 compensation for a fall at Heuston Station in settlement of her claim, plus a further €2,148 to account for her special damages. The judge added that, although he was finding against both defendants, he would make an order in favour of the restaurant against CIE.

Judge Awards Compensation for an Employee Head Injury in Dunnes Stores

A woman has been awarded €15,000 compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores after the judge commented she was not that badly hurt.

The woman – now a former employee – was asked to go into the stockroom of the Dunnes Store in Tallaght Dublin in March 2012 and told to bring a trolley loaded with bread back into the store. As she starting pushing the two-metre high trolley out of the stockroom, the top tray fell from the trolley and hit the woman on her head.

After being administered first aid by a colleague, the woman attended the emergency department at Tallaght Hospital. No serious injury was detected but, as a precaution, she was admitted overnight for observation. The woman claims that she still suffers headaches and neck pain as a result of her “significant injury”.

When the woman claimed compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores, the company admitted liability for her injury, but contested how much compensation she was claiming. Unable to reach a negotiated settlement, a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court was scheduled for the assessment of damages only.

The scheduled hearing took place last week, when Judge Terence O´Sullivan was told that the former employee now has a job as a hairdresser. The circumstances of the accident were related to the judge, and counsel representing Dunnes Stores argued that the former employee´s neck pain was attributable to her hairdressing job and not the 2012 accident.

Judge O´Sullivan noted the woman had not attended her doctor for three years or made any effort to seek physiotherapy, commenting it was the opinion of the court that she was not that badly hurt. If, the judge said, she had indeed suffered a “significant injury”, she had not done that good a job of looking after herself.

The judge awarded the woman €15,000 compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores and gave Dunnes Stores leave to consider appealing the award provided they pay their former employee €10,000 of the award immediately.

Claim for an Injury in a Train Station Accident Resolved at Court

A claim for an injury in a train station accident has been resolved at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court in which the passenger was found 50% at fault.

The claim for an injury in a train station accident was made following the events of 2nd August 2012, when the plaintiff – a fisherman from Dun Laoghaire in County Dublin – mistakenly alighted from an Irish Rail commuter train at Tara Street instead of his intended destination of Connolly Street.

On realising his mistake, the plaintiff tried to re-board the train, but slipped and fell through the gap between the platform and the train. Although he was able to extricate himself and continue his journey, an x-ray taken the following day revealed that he had fractured his right shoulder in three places.

The plaintiff applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his claim for an injury in a train station accident, but Irish Rail denied its consent for the assessment to be done. The Injuries Board subsequently issued the plaintiff with an authorisation to pursue his claim through court action.

The claim for an injury in a train station accident was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court last week. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that, despite there being “probably more cameras at Tara Street Station than there are at Pinewood Studios,” the accident had not been captured by CCTV.

The judge heard that Irish Rail was contesting the claim for an injury in a train station accident because they felt the plaintiff was the architect of his misfortune by failing to look where he was going, although this argument was countered by the plaintiff´s counsel, who contested that Irish Rail had an obligation to provide safe transit and that obligation had not been met.

After hearing there had been eleven previous incidents of passengers falling between a platform and a train in the past five years, Judge Groarke commented that Irish Rail had an “absolute requirement” to warn passengers to mind the gap. The judge found in the plaintiff´s favour – although attributing him 50% contributory negligence – and awarded him €25,000 compensation in settlement of his claim for an injury in a train station accident.

Previously Dismissed Airport Work Injury Claim Resolved at High Court

A previously dismissed airport work injury claim, made by a former Ryanair check-in clerk, has been resolved at the High Court with an award of €16,650.

The airport work injury claim was made by a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin who, on 28th July 2011, injured her back while lifting a piece of passenger luggage onto a conveyor belt at Dublin Airport.

The woman had been tagging the luggage at the time of her injury to indicate to baggage handlers that it was the last piece of luggage to be checked in. She alleged in her airport work injury claim that the check-in desk was not a suitable site from which to lift luggage off of and onto the conveyor belt and that there was no safe system of work in place for the tagging process.

Her airport work injury claim was contested by her employer – MK Human Resources – and Ryanair, and she was issued with an authorization by the Injuries Board to pursue her claim in court. However, at the Circuit Civil Court last November, her claim was dismissed after doubts were raised about whether she had been standing or sitting – contrary to the training provided for her – at the time of her injury.

The plaintiff appealed the decision of the Circuit Civil Court, and the appeal was heard last week by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. At the hearing, Judge Cross ruled in the plaintiff´s favour and awarded her €20,800 compensation. The judge found that, although the plaintiff had twice been given manual lifting training, it had not been “site specific” and therefore would not be applicable to working behind a check-in desk.

However, during her evidence, the plaintiff had admitted that she had twisted her body to lift the luggage, rather than turn it. The judge said this had contributed to her injury and she should accept 20% of the blame. He subsequently reduced the settlement of her airport work injury claim to €16,650 to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence.

Judge Increases Award of Compensation for a Swimming Pool Injury

A High Court judge has increased an award of compensation for a swimming pool injury and dismissed an appeal by the venue at which the injury was sustained.

On 13th November 2011, Timea Babos broke her two upper front teeth when diving into the swimming pool at the West Wood Club in Dublin and hitting her face on the bottom of the pool. After having crowns fitted to her broken teeth, Timea claimed compensation for a swimming pool injury on the grounds that there were no warning signs indicating that the 50 metre pool had a single depth of just 1.35 metres.

The West Wood Club denied liability for Timea´s injury and she was issued with an Authorisation to pursue her claim in court. In May 2015, Judge Jacqueline Linnane awarded Timea €30,000 compensation for a swimming pool injury at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court. However, the West Wood Club appealed the decision, contesting the award on the grounds that Timea had contributed to her injury by failing to check the depth of the water before diving in.

At the appeal hearing this week, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan was told that Timea had never visited the venue before and, being a 50 metre pool, she had expected it to have a depth of two metres. The judge also heard there were no warning signs indicating the shallowness of the pool or any red indicators advising guests not to jump or dive into the pool. Timea´s counsel told Judge Noonan that there were no reasons at all to believe the pool was not safe.

Describing the signage as “woefully inadequate”, Judge Noonan said he did not accept West Wood´s claim that there was a lifeguard on duty at the time. The judge dismissed the appeal and increased the award of compensation for a swimming pool injury to €38,097 – commenting that it was a very modest award in the circumstances and that the West Wood Club was fortunate that the claim had not initially been brought in a court with a higher jurisdiction.

Emotional Trauma Compensation for a Shopping Centre Incident Awarded

A woman who suffered a psychological injury when she was trapped in a lift has been awarded emotional trauma compensation for a shopping centre incident.

On 31st August 2012, Marie Dicker – a fifty-four year old department store supervisor from Walkinstown in Dublin – was shopping with her son at the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, when the couple took the lift to travel down to the ground floor.

Shortly after the lift started to descend it came to a sudden halt. Trapped inside the lift, Marie tried to summon assistance by pressing the alarm button. When she was unable to reach anybody on the intercom, she banged on the lift doors and called for help.

After a few minutes of calling for help, the couple were rescued by a shopping centre security guard. However, despite the incident lasting less than five minutes, being trapped in the lift caused Marie to suffer a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia.

In the months following the shopping centre incident, Marie was unable to go into rooms without leaving the door open behind her. This made it difficult for her to use public toilets or shop fitting rooms, and in other situations Marie found that she became anxious unless she was close to the exit of any room she entered.

Marie sought professional medical help and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and depression. She then spoke with a solicitor and subsequently claimed emotional trauma compensation for a shopping centre incident against the shopping centre´s management company and the maintenance company responsible for the upkeep of the lift.

Square Management Ltd and Pickering Lifts Ltd acknowledged that there had been a breach in their duty of care, but disputed how much emotional trauma compensation for a shopping centre incident Marie was claiming. Unable to agree a negotiated settlement, the case went to the High Court for an assessment of damages.

At the hearing Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told that an independent psychiatrist commissioned by the defendants had found no evidence of an anxiety disorder when Marie was examined. However, the judge also heard that, since the incident, Marie has been under the care of a psychologist and has responded well to cognitive behaviour therapy that is expected to last for another eighteen months.

Judge Barr commented he was satisfied that Marie had suffered a psychological injury when she was trapped in the lift caused by a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia. He awarded her €25,060 emotional trauma compensation for a shopping centre incident.

Assessment of Compensation for a Child´s Fall Injury Approved

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved an Injuries Board assessment of compensation for a child´s fall injury in favour of a five-year-old girl.

In August 2012, Róisín Byrne was just fifteen months of age when she fell out of a large Georgian sash window at her parent´s temporary home in Blackrock, County Dublin. Róisín fell eleven feet onto an emergency fire escape below the window – injuring her head, fracturing a rib and puncturing a lung when she landed.

The little girl´s parents – Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy – had previously complained to the caretaker of the property that the window presented a risk of injury. They had asked the caretaker to install a security mechanism at the bottom of the window so that it could be locked shut as the window opened just twenty-one inches from the floor.

The request was never attended to and, on her daughter´s behalf, Chloe applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a child´s fall injury. The owner of the property – Enda Woods – gave his consent for the claim to be assessed, and the Injuries Board notified both parties that Róisín should be entitled to €46,000 compensation for a child´s fall injury.

As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the Injuries Board´s assessment had to be approved by a judge to ensure the settlement was in Róisín´s best interests. Due to the assessed compensation for a child´s fall injury being in excess of €15,000 – in which case approval could have been sought in the District Court – the approval hearing was held at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the approval hearing, the circumstances of Róisín´s accident were explained to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The judge heard that Róisín – who is now five years old – had made a full recovery from the incident except for a small scar on her forehead from where she had hit her head on the casing of the emergency fire escape.

The judge approved the €46,000 settlement of compensation for a child´s fall injury, which will now be paid into court funds until Róisín is eighteen years of age.

Revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum Soon to be Released

A revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum is due to be released in the next few weeks, with more detail included to assist the accurate assessment of claims.

The Injuries Board Book of Quantum – the guide to compensation for physical personal injuries in Ireland – was originally published in June 2004. Intended to assist with the assessment of personal injury claims in which negligence had been admitted, the Injuries Board Book of Quantum lists a range of injuries and assigns them a financial value according to their severity and permanence.

The guide is not solely used by the Injuries Board. Solicitors negotiate settlements based on the values listed in the Injuries Board Book of Quantum and courts use the guide as a means of determining compensation awards. However, in recent years the guide has been criticised by judges for falling behind the times. Judges have often compensated for the age of the Injuries Board Book of Quantum by increasing awards of personal injury compensation – for which they themselves have been criticised.

Economic factors – such as low interest rates – have not helped matters, especially in the settlement of catastrophic injury claims. Whereas previously, judges would factor in an interest rate of 3%-4% when awarding lump sum payments, most recently they has awarded higher amounts of compensation due to the lack of interest claimants will receive if the funds are deposited in an interest-yielding account.

Now, after months of discussion between the Injuries Board, the Courts Service and senior judges, a revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum is due to be released in the next few weeks. Those who have seen the work in progress say that the values for relatively minor injuries are being increased in line with the increased cost of living, while some reductions are being made in the values for more serious injuries. The values have been apparently calculated based on injury compensation awards in 52,000 cases between 2013 and 2014.

How the revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum will be received is not yet known. Insurance companies – struggling after years of reduced returns from their investments – will likely be dissatisfied with any increase in the value of personal injury claims. Judges might also be unhappy with awarding lump sum compensation awards that fail to ensure the financial security of a plaintiff who has suffered a catastrophic injury.

One thing that all parties should consider is that the Injuries Board Book of Quantum only addresses the personal injuries a plaintiff has suffered. Any verifiable psychological injury or any verifiable deterioration in the plaintiff´s quality of life should also be considered in the settlement of a personal injury claim in Ireland. Because of the likelihood of defendants and their insurance companies relying solely on the Injuries Board Book of Quantum to calculate their financial liabilities, it is advisable to speak with a personal injury solicitor if you have been injured in an accident in Ireland for which you were not to blame.

Judge Awards Bicycle Courier Injury Compensation at High Court Hearing

A judge at the High Court has awarded bicycle courier injury compensation after dismissing claims that the plaintiff had contributed to causing the accident.

In March 2015, Rotimi Omotayo was cycling along Custom House Quay in Dublin when he was knocked from his bike by a taxi driven by Kenneth Griffin that had pulled out from a line of queuing traffic without indicating.

Fortunately, Rotimi did not suffer any serious injuries, but when he applied to the Injuries Board for bicycle courier injury compensation, consent for the Injuries Board to conduct the assessment was denied due to alleged contributory negligence.

Rotimi was issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim for bicycle courier injury compensation in court. Because of the potential value of the claim, the case was assigned to the High Court, where it was heard recently by Mr Justice Bernard Barton.

At the hearing, Judge Barton heard witnesses from both parties testify how the accident had occurred – the important issue being whether Rotimi had been in breach of Regulation 26 of the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 by cycling in the hatched area.

After hearing that Rotimi had been cycling between carriageways as he was about to turn right to deliver a package on the river side of the Quay, the judge ruled that he had every entitlement to cycle in the outside lane before turning right.

Judge Barton dismissed the claim of contributory negligence and assigned full liability to the taxi driver – saying that Rotimi had the right of way and was sufficiently close to Kenneth Griffin to give the taxi driver a duty of care. Consequently the taxi driver had to accept full liability for the accident.

In relation to the settlement of bicycle courier injury compensation, Judge Barton applied the principals of Tort law to award Rotimi €30,000 bicycle courier injury compensation saying that the Book of Quantum was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.

With regard to Rotimi´s claim for special damages, the judge commented there was insufficient evidence to support Rotimi´s alleged loss of earnings, but he allowed Rotimi´s “properly vouched and agreed” special damages – including his legal costs.

Offer of Compensation for a Scar from a Creche Accident Approved

An offer of €45,000 compensation for a scar from a creche accident has been approved by the Circuit Civil Court in favour of a twelve-year-old boy.

Calum Lawless from Dunshaughlin in County Meath was just three years old when, in July 2007, he tripped over an uneven floor surface at the Happy Days Creche in Clonee, Dublin, and fell – hitting his face on the floor and sustaining a cut close to his right eye.

Calum was taken to the VH1 Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University, where a three-centimetre laceration was cleaned and closed with steri-strips. Calum´s right eye remained closed for a week after his accident and he had significant bruising for almost a month.

Now twelve years of age, Calum has a permanent visible scar by his right eye that – due to its location – cannot be concealed with plastic surgery.

As the two-year Statute of Limitations for personal injury claims does not apply to children, Calum´s mother – Lorraine Lawless – claimed compensation for a scar from a creche accident on her son´s behalf against the owner of the creche – Hansfield Company Ltd, of Castleknock, Dublin.

In her legal action, Lorraine alleged that Hansfield Company Ltd had been negligent for failing to provide a safe environment and was thereby liable for Calum´s accident and injury. The owners of the Happy Days Creche admitted liability and made an offer of €45,000 compensation for a scar from a creche accident.

As the claim for compensation for a scar from a creche accident had been made on behalf of a children, the offer had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Calum´s best interest. Consequently the circumstances of Calum´s accident and injury were related to Judge James O´Donohoe at the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge O´Donohoe approved the settlement after inspecting the scar and ensuring that the family agreed to the settlement. The settlement of compensation for a scar from a creche accident will now be paid into court funds until Calum becomes a legal adult at age eighteen.

Settlement of Claim for an Injury due to Being Hit by a Car Wing Mirror

The €5 million settlement of a claim for an injury due to being hit by a car wing mirror has been approved in the High Court in favour of a teenage boy.

Ryan Bastin ordinarily lives with his family in Brussels; but, in August 2008, he was enjoying a family holiday at his grandparent´s home in Mitchelstown, County Cork. On 13th August, Ryan´s father, brother and sister left the house to walk down to a neighbouring field in order to watch cows grazing. Ryan initially decided he did not want to go, but then changed his mind.

As Ryan ran out into the road to catch up with his family, he was hit on the head by the wing mirror of a passing car. Ryan was knocked to the road surface and, although able to stand up straightaway, he started vomiting. An ambulance was called and Ryan was taken to Cork University Hospital. However, during the journey to the hospital, he lost consciousness.

When Ryan arrived at the hospital he was resuscitated and diagnosed with a fractured skull. He underwent a series of operations and remained in intensive care for several months before being allowed to fly home with his family to Brussels, where he underwent rehabilitation treatment. Despite receiving comprehensive medical attention, Ryan has been left with intellectual disabilities.

Or her son´s behalf, Ryan´s mother – Sinead – made a claim for an injury due to being hit by a car wing mirror against the driver of the vehicle – Hannah Murray from Ballyporeen in County Tipperary. Murray contested the claim on the grounds that she had been driving with due care and attention and could not have avoided hitting Ryan as he ran into the road.

The case went to the High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that Murray only had 1.75 seconds to react from the time that Ryan had run into the road. Ryan´s barrister argued that, even with just 1.75 seconds to act, Murray had enough time to take evasive action and swerve to avoid hitting the child.

Judge Cross found in Ryan´s favour after attributing him 40% contributory negligence. As a settlement of the claim for an injury due to being hit by a car wing mirror had already been agreed in principle, the judge approved the proportional settlement of €5 million and closed the hearing – wishing Ryan and his family all the best for the future.

Settlement of Claim for Cycling Pothole Injuries Approved

The Injuries Board-assessed settlement of a claim for a cycling pothole injuries has been approved in the High Court in favour of a sixteen-year-old boy.

In July 2013, Dillon O´Reilly was giving his cousin a “backer” while cycling along the road between Killard and Blarney in County Cork, when the front wheel of his bicycle hit a pothole. Dillon – who had been riding on the pedals of his bicycle – was thrown onto the road surface and suffered a fractured wrist and injuries to his knee and shoulder.

Through his father, Dillon made a claim for cycling pothole injuries against Cork County Council. The Council consented to the Injuries Board request to assess Dillon´s injuries, before agreeing to the proposed settlement figure of €61,500. As the claim for cycling pothole injuries had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Dillon´s best interests.

Consequently an approval hearing took place before Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court, who heard that – in addition to his fractured wrist, knee and shoulder injuries – Dillon also suffered several lacerations that have now left permanent scars. The judge was also told that Dillon recognises that giving his cousin a ride on the back of his bike was a dangerous thing to do.

Judge Cross commented that Dylan had not done anything that any other child of his age would have done, but said it was inevitable that – if the case had been resolved in a full hearing – the settlement of the claim for cycling pothole injuries would have been reduced by 30 to 50 percent to account for his contributory negligence.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said that in the circumstances it was prudent to accept the Injuries Board´s assessment and the judge approved the €61,500 settlement of the claim for cycling pothole injuries -advising Dillon that his scars would likely be susceptible to sunlight and he should keep out of the sun to prevent them deteriorating.

Liability in Dunnes Back Injury Claim Determined in Court

A High Court judge has awarded a woman €64,300 compensation after determining liability in a Dunnes back injury claim for slipping on milk and falling.

Thirty-two year old Rachel Prior, from Cratloe in County Clare, made her Dunnes back injury claim after slipping on spilt milk in the Limerick branch of Dunnes Stores. Rachel – who is a professional singer – claimed to have suffered injuries to her cervical spine and lower back due to the stores negligence in failing to identify the hazard and remove it before her accident.

Dunnes Stores contested the allegations of negligence and denied its consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of Rachel´s claim. Rachel was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue her Dunnes back injury claim in court. The hearing to determine liability was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barr was told that Rachel performs under the stage name of “Rachy P” and that her act involves energetic dance moves. He also heard that Rachel is in constant pain after a gig because of her injury, and that she has had to adjust her lifestyle as a result of her accident in Dunnes Stores.

It was argued by the defendant that Rachel´s performances after her accident implied her injuries were not as bad as she had alleged in her Dunnes back injury claim. Dunnes Stores also claimed that Rachel had contributed to her accident by failing to look where she was going in the Henry Street store.

Judge Barr found in Rachel´s favour after dismissing the allegations of contributory negligence. The judge commented that Rachel was a truthful witness, who had established liability and not overstated her injuries. He also dismissed the claims of contributory negligence on the grounds that it would have been difficult to see milk on a shiny floor under bright lighting.

The judge awarded Rachel €64,300 compensation in settlement of her Dunnes back injury claim, conceding to Dunnes Stores for a stay on the settlement pending an appeal, provided that the company immediately pay Rachel €30,000 of the compensation award plus €20,000 towards her legal costs.

Woman Awarded Compensation for being Hit by a Wing Mirror While Jogging

A woman has been awarded €134,000 injury compensation for being hit by a wing mirror of a van while she was out jogging in Mullingar with a friend.

Donna Woods and her friend were jogging along the Ballynacarragy to Mullingar road in January 2013, when Donna was hit by the wing mirror of a passing van. Donna suffered a fractured wrist in the accident, and also injuries to her right hand, elbow, shoulder and jaw.

Donna applied for an Injuries Board assessment of her claim for compensation for being hit by a wing mirror, but the driver of the van – Joseph Tyrell – refused to give his consent, and Donna was given an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

Due to the potential value of the claim, the hearing was held at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that Donna – a forty-seven year old teacher from Mullingar in County Westmeath – had previously been a “very active lady”.

The judge also heard that on 22nd January 2013, Donna and her friend were jogging in the opposite direction to the traffic. A tractor and trailer had just passed them on the far side of the road, and they had seen Tyrell pull over onto the grass verge to give the tractor a wide berth.

The two women continued running, as they believed that Tyrell would drive back onto the road once the tractor had passed. However, Tyrell continued to drive along the grass verge – catching Donna with the wing mirror of his van and causing her injuries.

Defending the claim for compensation for being hit by a wing mirror, Tyrell argued that Donna has been at least partly responsible for her injuries by her and her friend running along the road two abreast and for failing to wear high visibility clothing.

Tyrell´s defence was dismissed by Judge Cross. The judge said that, had Tyrell rejoined the road once the tractor had passed, there would have been sufficient room for him to pass Donna safely. The judge also found that Donna had been wearing bright-coloured clothing on the morning of the accident.

The judge awarded Donna €134,000 compensation for being hit by a wing mirror, stating that Donna had suffered quite significant injuries that would prevent her from competing in physically demanding sports activities for a long time.

Court Awards Compensation for Defamation on Facebook

A Monaghan court has awarded the National Director of the National Association of Regional Game Councils €75,000 compensation for defamation on Facebook.

On or around 22nd December 2015, John Gilsenan from Castleblayney in County Monaghan posted defamatory comments about Desmond Crofton –  the National Director of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) – on his Facebook page, suggesting that the actions of the National Director had caused the NARGC to “go broke”.

The defamatory comments were seen by other NARGC members, who raised questions about the leadership of the National Director, the organisation´s finances and its legal costs. The questions resulted in an unnecessary confrontation, with the outcome that Crofton was suspended from his position of National Director on full pay.

After seeking legal advice, Crofton – from Stonestown in County Offaly – made a claim for compensation for defamation on Facebook against Gilsenan. According to Crofton´s solicitor, Gilsenan had engaged in communication with his client soon after the claim was made, but had since “abandoned the matter”.

With the claim for compensation for defamation on Facebook remaining uncontested, the case went to the Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court, where it was heard by Judge John O´Hagan for the assessment of damages only. After hearing of the personal injury Crofton had suffered because of the defamatory comments, Judge O´Hagan awarded him €75,000 compensation for defamation on Facebook.

In his summing up, Judge O´Hara said he was awarding Crofton the maximum award of compensation for defamation on Facebook to “teach people posting messages on the social media site to be very careful”.

Woman Awarded Compensation for Injuries in Fatal Road Traffic Accident

A former world-class sailor, whose career was ended in a car crash, has been awarded £464,655 compensation for injuries in a fatal road traffic accident.

Rosie Sands from Exmouth in Devon was a Gold Standard sailor and honours degree student when, in July 2012, she was visiting friends in Northern Ireland. Rosie (29) and the friends she was staying with had just collected another friend – Michelle Hulford (21) – when the car the party was travelling in was involved in a head-on collision with a jeep on the A57 just outside the town of Doagh in County Antrim.

Tragically Michelle was fatally injured in the accident. Rosie, the driver of the car and her two other friends were taken to hospital with multiple injuries. Rosie received treatment for injuries to her abdomen, back, and shoulder; but, after she had returned to Exmouth, Rosie continued to experience flashbacks and nightmares. She was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Rosie claimed compensation for injuries in a fatal road traffic accident against the driver of the jeep – Stephen Hamilton – after seeking legal advice. Hamilton admitted that the accident had been caused by his negligence, but the two parties could not agree on a settlement of compensation. Consequently the claim was heard by the High Court in Belfast for the assessment of damages only.

At the hearing, Mr Justice Adrian Colton was told Rosie´s injuries had prevented her from sailing competitively and completing her honours degree in religion and education at Bath Spa University. The judge also heard Rosie´s life had changed “irrevocably” due to her injuries and that her plans to join the RAF or Navy after completing her degree had to be abandoned due to her injuries.

After commenting that the evidence Rosie had given in support of her claim had been “honest, understated, stoical and admirable”, Judge Colton awarded her £464,655 compensation for injuries in a fatal road traffic accident to account for her pain and suffering, the cost of medical treatment and Rosie´s loss of income.

Settlement of Hotel Pool Injury Claim Approved in Court

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved the settlement of a hotel pool injury claim made on behalf of a six-year-old schoolgirl by her father.

Emma Olteanu was just four years old when her father, Marius, took her swimming at the Clarion Hotel in Clondalkin in October 2014. Emma had been given special swimming socks to prevent her from slipping, but despite this precaution, Emma tripped on the worn edge of a pool mat and fell – hitting her chin against the side of the pool and sustaining a deep cut.

Emma´s father took her to the Emergency Department at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght, where the cut on Emma´s chin was cleaned and stitched. Due to the depth of the cut, Emma has a two-centimetre scar on her chin which – her parents from Lucan in County Dublin claim – she is very conscious of.

On his daughter´s behalf, Marius made a hotel pool injury claim against Kingsoak Taverns Ltd. trading as Clarion Hotels. In his legal action, Marius claimed that the hotel was negligent by equipping the pool with a worn pool mat. The hotel admitted liability and a €21,000 settlement of the hotel pool injury claim was negotiated.

As the hotel pool injury claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to be officially approved to ensure it was in Emma´s best interests. Consequently, the facts of the case were presented to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court, who was also told about the consequences of Emma´s accident and her permanent scar.

The judge approved the settlement of the hotel pool injury claim and ordered that it was to be paid into court funds. The settlement will be placed into an interest-bearing account until Emma reaches the age of eighteen unless an application is made to the court by her parents to release funds for Emma´s education or for medical reasons.

Injured Rider Settles Compensation Claim for a Fall from a Pony

A dentist, who was injured in an accident on a pony trek, has settled her compensation claim for a fall from a pony during a hearing to establish liability.

Thirty-five year old mother-of-two Maria Gray – a dentist from Belfast – was among a group of friends celebrating a hen weekend in Galway when she joined her friends on a pony trek at Feeney’s Riding School in Thonabrocky. The trek started with a gentle trot through the countryside but, when the party started descending a steep incline, the legs of Maria´s pony buckled and Maria fell from the saddle.

Due to falling on hard tarmac, Maria sustained a deep cut on her chin and a wrist injury. The cut was cleaned and stitches were applied at hospital, but Maria now has a permanent scar that is visible to her patients. Maria had to undergo eight weeks of physiotherapy on her wrist injury – during which time she wore a splint on her arm and was unable to work.

Maria made a compensation claim for a fall from a pony against the owners of the riding school – Gerard and Siobhan Feeney. In her claim, Maria alleged that the pony was unsuitable for her 5 foot 8½ inches frame, that it was exhausted and hungry from participating in an earlier trek, and that the riding school had not given her adequate instruction before letting her ride the pony.

The Feeney´s denied the allegations and argued that – as well as having been given adequate instruction – Maria had been offered a larger pony to ride, but had declined the opportunity. Without the riding school´s consent to carry out an assessment, the Injuries Board issued Maria with an authorisation to pursue her compensation claim for a fall from a pony through the courts.

The hearing to establish liability opened at the High Court last week. Maria told Mr Justice Raymond Fullam that it had been a very hot day and, due to her pony having already been out on a trek earlier, it was hungry and tired. However, before the second day of the hearing, the Judge Fullam was told that the parties had negotiated a settlement of the compensation claim for a fall from a pony and the case could be struck.

Waitress Awarded Compensation for an Injury Caused by Broken Glass

A former waitress has been awarded €500,000 compensation for an injury caused by broken glass after a hearing at the High Court in Dublin.

The claim for compensation for an injury caused by broken glass was made by Sophie Caillaud – a former waitress at the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, County Leitrim. Sophie (42) – a French national with an address in Leitrim Village – suffered a deep cut in her right thumb when a glass jug she was filling during a breakfast shift in December 2007 shattered in her hand.

Sophie had to undergo surgery to repair the soft damage tissue in her thumb and, due to the thumb never regaining its strength, Sophie has been unable to return to waitressing since her accident. The injury has also restricted Sophie in her day-to-day activities. She is unable to wash her hair unaided and has had to buy a car with automatic transmission.

After seeking legal advice, Sophie claimed compensation for an injury caused by broken glass against her former employer – Lough Rynn Castle Ltd. – and the two companies that manufactured and supplied the jugs to the hotel – Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd. Although accepting partial responsibility for the accident, the defendants questioned the amount of compensation that was being claimed and argued that she contributed to her injury through her own negligence.

With no resolution to the case achievable through the Injuries Board process or by negotiation, the claim for compensation for an injury caused by broken glass went to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that the hotel management knew of the risk of injury from the jugs as members of the restaurant staff had previously reported injuries from the jugs shattering.

The judge was also presented with expert evidence that showed the joint between the jug´s thick handle and its thinner body was liable to be fragile if subjected to rapid heating and cooling – such as when used in a dishwasher. As a result, the joint would break, the jug would fall and the glass shatter. The defendants were unable to provide any evidence disputing the expert´s testimony.

After hearing evidence from Sophie, Judge Cross dismissed suggestions that Sophie was exaggerating her injuries and claims of contributory negligence. Saying that he found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, Judge Cross awarded her €500,000 compensation for an injury caused by broken glass – €170,000 for Sophie´s past and future pain and suffering, €135,000 for her loss of earnings and €195,000 special damages for costs Sophie has incurred.

Employee Awarded Compensation for Falling Down Stairs at Dunnes Stores

A checkout operator from Wexford has been awarded €81,500 compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores after a hearing at the High Court.

Jean O´Reilly was working as a checkout operator at her local Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square, Wexford, when – on 9th December 2011 – she fell down a flight of stairs due to losing her footing while reading notices on the staff noticeboard.

An ambulance took Jean to hospital, where she received treatment for soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. Jean had to wear a neck brace for six weeks to support her head while she was unable to work, and she also underwent a course of physiotherapy to the damaged soft tissues so that they could recover their strength.

Jean applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores, but her employed failed to consent to the assessment being conducted. Jean was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim for compensation through the courts, and she sought legal advice.

The claim for compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores was heard at the end of last week. At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam heard that the staff noticeboard was placed too close to the top of the stairs and that there was no handrail along one side of the staircase that would have enabled Jean to arrest her fall before she was injured.

Judge Fullam found in Jean´s favour and said that Dunnes Stores had failed in its statutory duty of care to prevent the risk of injuries to its staff. He awarded Jean €81,500 compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores, comprising of €65,000 general damages for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity Jean had experienced, and €16,500 special damages for her loss of income and costs she had incurred.

Former Picker Awarded €153,150 Compensation for a Warehouse Injury

A former picker has been awarded €153,150 compensation for a warehouse injury caused by the failure to provide adequate training for heavy lifting duties.

In October 2012, Salmovir Spes (47) was employed as a picker at the Windcanton distribution centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. His role involved lifting goods due to be distributed to twenty-four Supervalu supermarkets in the area, and loading them onto trolleys for forward transportation.

On October 29th, Salmovir was lifting five trays of yoghurts from a pallet when he experienced a sharp pain in his back. He went home to rest, but was unable to return to work because of his back injury. Salmovir remained on sick pay until being made redundant in 2014.

Alleging that his injury was due to a failure to provide adequate training for heavy lifting duties, Salmovir claimed compensation for a warehouse injury against his employers. He also alleged he was set an unreasonably high “pick rate” of 1,200 picks per seven-and-a-half hour shift.

The claim was denied by Windcanton, and Salmovir was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue compensation for a warehouse injury through the courts. His case was recently heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barr heard that employees were required to take short cuts in order to meet their pick rate each day, and dismissed claims by Windcanton that Salmovir had contributed to his injury by his own negligence. The judge also dismissed allegations that Salmovir was singled out for heavy lifting duties because of his nationality.

The judge awarded Salmovir €153,150 compensation for a warehouse injury, saying he was satisfied that the plaintiff had suffered a significant injury to his lower back due to his employer´s negligence. Judge Barr added he accepted that Salmovir continued to experience pain from his injury that rendered him “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life”.

€15,000 Kitchen Burns Injury Compensation Awarded at Court

A chef has been awarded €15,000 kitchen burns injury compensation after a judge heard that a hose used for cleaning the kitchen was not fit for purpose.

Shijun Liu was usually employed as a chef at the Howards Way Restaurant in Rathgar. However, in March 2013, he was working at the venue´s sister establishment in Churchtown, when he attempted to help a kitchen cleaner who was trying to free the kinks in a domestic hose used to clean the kitchen.

As Shijun and the cleaner tried to untangle the hose, scalding water was suddenly sprayed at the chef. Shijun – who was unfamiliar with the cleaning practises at the Churchtown establishment – was taken to the VHI Clinic in nearby Dundrum, where he was treated for severe scald burns on his ankle.

Due to the nature of his injury, Shijun was unable to return to work for two weeks. He subsequently claimed kitchen burns injury compensation against his employer – Declan Howard trading as Howards Way Restaurant – but Howard denied his consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of the claim.

The Injuries Board issued Shijun with an authorisation to pursue kitchen burns injury compensation through the courts. After seeking advice from a solicitor, Shijun continued with his legal action, and a hearing to determine liability for his injury took place earlier this week at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the hose used to clean the Churchtown restaurant was not fit for purpose as it could not withstand the heat of the water and softened the more it was used. Judge Groarke found in Shijun´s favour and awarded him €15,000 kitchen burns injury compensation – commenting that he had found Shijun´s testimony very compelling.

Judge Increases Settlement of Crèche Scar Injury Compensation Claim

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has increased the settlement of a five-year-old´s crèche scar injury compensation claim from €40,000 to €55,000.

Ruth Reilly was just two years of age when, in October 2013, she was left unattended by staff at the Giraffe Childcare Crèche in Navan, County Meath. While she was alone, Ruth tripped and fell – banging her head against a wall of the facility and sustaining a deep cut to her forehead.

An ambulance was called, and Ruth received treatment for her injury at the crèche before being taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda to have the wound closed with stitches. As a result of her accident, Ruth has a permanent and visible scar on her forehead.

Through her father, Seamus Reilly, Ruth made a crèche scar injury compensation claim – alleging that her accident and injury was a result of the staff´s negligence. Liability was admitted by the crèche’s owners and a €40,000 offer of compensation was made.

Although acceptable to Ruth´s parents, as the crèche scar injury compensation claim had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be resolved. Consequently the case went to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the approval hearing, Judge Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident and that Ruth is very conscious of the scar on her forehead. Judge Groarke agreed that it was “nasty and noticeable at a conversational distance”. The judge then said that the €40,000 offer of settlement did not reflect the full value of Ruth´s crèche scar injury compensation claim.

The judge increased the settlement to €55,000 – commenting that increase was not a criticism of the way in which the defendant had handled the case.

Woman Awarded Compensation for a Slip and Fall in a Dublin Bar

A woman from County Offaly has been awarded €90,000 compensation for a slip and fall in a Dublin bar after a hearing into her claim at the High Court.

Sharon Kelly was a guest at a thirtieth birthday party being hosted at the Arc Café Bar on Fonthill Road, Dublin, on 28th May 2011 when – at around 1:00am in the morning – she left the rest of the party to visit the toilets.

As she walked across the wooden floor of the bar´s lobby, Sharon slipped on some liquid on the floor and fell – dislocating her thumb as she landed. As a result of her slip and fall accident, Sharon was in pain for several months and has lost some feeling in the top of her thumb.

Sharon claimed compensation for a slip and fall in a Dublin bar, but the bar´s owners – Lackabeg Limited – denied liability for her injuries on the grounds that the bar had a comprehensive cleaning system in place.

As consent to assess the claim for compensation for a slip and fall in a Dublin bar was denied, the Injuries Board issued Sharon with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court. The hearing was heard late last week by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

At the hearing, the bar´s legal representatives argued that Sharon had been drinking for five hours before slipping and falling, and that she was wearing four-inch heels at the time of her accident.

However, after reviewing CCTV footage of Sharon´s accident and hearing from two witnesses that the toilets had been in poor condition that evening, Judge Barr found in Sharon´s favour.

Saying that he was convinced that there had been liquid on the floor of the bar´s lobby and that “people cannot be expected to look at the floor when walking across a bar”, the judge awarded Sharon €90,000 compensation for a slip and fall in a Dublin bar.

Company Prosecuted for Crushed Leg Injury at Work

A manufacturer of concrete sports equipment has been prosecuted for breaches of health and safety regulations that resulted in a crushed leg injury at work.

The company – Bendcrete Leisure Ltd of Stalybridge in Manchester – is well-known for the manufacture of concrete sports equipment such as climbing walls and skate parks. The company also manufactures concrete table tennis tables for outdoor use.

On 20th February 2015, five of the concrete table tennis tables were being prepared for transportation – the first four having been balanced on top of two half-empty resin barrels. As the fifth one was lowered, the weight was too much for the resin barrels and the stack collapsed.

The unnamed employee had been operating the lifting crane from alongside the stack of table tennis tables and, when the stack collapsed, the tables fell on top of him – crushing his legs. Colleagues were able to release the employee and he was taken to Wythenshaw Hospital by ambulance.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSE) conducted an investigation into the crushed leg injury at work and found that the task of manoeuvring the concrete table tennis tables had not been planned, supervised or carried out safely.

The HSE subsequently prosecuted Bendcrete Leisure Ltd for breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and, at Trafford Magistrates´ Court, directors of Bendcrete Leisure Ltd plead guilty to the charges.

After hearing that the employee had spent ten weeks in hospital recovering from his crushed leg injury at work and has been unable to work since, magistrates fined the company £12,000 for the health and safety breaches and ordered the company to pay an additional £3,495 in costs.