The settlement of a claim for injuries in a shop accident has failed to get approval in court after a judge said a more appropriate settlement could be determined in a full hearing.
In July 2012, fourteen-year-old Shauna Kelly was in the Lower O´Connell Street branch of Eason´s in Dublin, browsing through the selection of electronic books on display, when an electronic advertising board fell from the wall above her and hit the young girl on her head and arm.
Shauna was taken to Dublin´s Crumlin Children´s Hospital suffering with concussion. X-rays revealed that no bones had been broken, and Shauna was treated for soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. A splint was also attached to her right wrist to give it some extra support while further soft tissue injuries were healing.
After receiving legal advice, Shauna made a claim for injuries in a shop accident through her mother – Kathy Maher from Ballyfermot in Dublin. While the application for assessment was being reviewed by the Injuries Board, an offer of compensation was made by the parties against whom the claim was made – Eason´s and the company that had installed the electronic advertising board – David James Retail Solutions Ltd of Edenderry in County Offaly.
As Shauna was only fourteen years of age at the time of the accident – and therefore a legal minor – the offer of compensation for injuries in a shop accident had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be resolved. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard the circumstances of Shauna´s accident and the injuries that she had suffered.
Judge Groarke was told that for six months after the accident Shauna suffered a series of severe headaches and that, two and a half years later, she still experiences some stiffness in her back. Shauna´s barrister told Judge Groarke that an offer of €13,500 compensation had been made, but that he was not happy to recommend approval of the offer as he did not believe it adequately compensated Shauna for her injuries.
Judge Groarke agreed with the barrister, and he declined to approve the offer of settlement – saying a more appropriate settlement of Shauna´s claim for injuries in a shop accident could be determined in a full hearing of the case. The judge adjourned the approval hearing for a date to be scheduled later this year in the Circuit Civil Court.