Month: April 2015

Claim for an Injury due to an Accident in a Hotel Heard at the High Court

A former council worker´s claim for an injury due to an accident in a hotel is continuing after its first day of being heard at the High Court.

Benjamin Stanley (67) sustained a shoulder injury while attending a dance on Easter Sunday in 2009. According to testimony provided at the High Court yesterday, Benjamin had been attending a dance at the Castle Arms Hotel in Durrow, County Laois, and – after escorting his dancing partner back to her car – returned to the hotel to enjoy the remainder of the evening.

When he entered the hotel, Benjamin decided that he would use the bathroom facilities prior to returning to the dance floor; but, as he made his way across the hotel´s lobby, he slipped and fell. Unaware of any immediate injury, Benjamin carried on dancing; but, after driving himself back to his home in Birr, County Offaly, he started to experience intense pain in his shoulder.

Benjamin summoned a doctor and a torn tendon was diagnosed in his shoulder after an examination. Benjamin had to undergo surgery to repair the torn tendon, after which he sought legal advice and made a claim for an injury due to an accident in a hotel. In his claim, Benjamin alleged that his accident was due to the hotel´s failure to properly monitor and control the condition of the floor.

The hotel owner, Seosamh Murphy and Dal Riada Taverns Ltd – the licensee of the Castle Arms Hotel – denied that the hotel was responsible for Benjamin´s accident. They argued that the floors of the hotel were checked every two hours and that Benjamin had caused his own accident by rushing to the bathroom after having too much to drink.

As there was a dispute over liability, the Injuries Board could not assess Benjamin´s claim for an injury due to an accident in a hotel, and an Authorisation was issued so that Benjamin could pursue his claim through the court system. Consequently, at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the circumstances of Benjamin´s fall.

Under cross-examination, Benjamin told the judge that he had not been rushing to the bathroom and had not had a drink the whole day. He said that he definitely felt something under his shoe as he slipped and it was whatever matter on the floor that was the cause of his injury. Unable to resolve the claim for an injury due to an accident in a hotel, Judge Barr adjourned the hearing and the case continues.

Majority Still Using Solicitors for Personal Injury Claims says Departing Injuries Board Head

The outgoing Chief Executive of the Injuries Board has acknowledged that the majority of claimants are still using solicitors for personal injury claims.

Patricia Byron acknowledged the continuing use of solicitors for personal injury claims in an interview published in the Irish Times this morning. Saying that “people still think that they need to go to a solicitor to send in a claim”, Ms Byron said that she was unsure whether that was due to a lack of knowledge or understanding of the Injuries Board system.

She went on to explain that the Injuries Board system is paper-based, with no oral or adversarial presentations required. When assessing a claim, Ms Byron stated, the Injuries Board does not take into account whether the claim has been sent in by a person with no legal training or whether the claimant has used solicitors for personal injury claims.

“It is an administrative process” said Ms Byron, who is stepping down from being the Chief Executive of the Injuries Board after ten years in charge. During that ten years, the Injuries Board claims to have delivered more than €1 billion in savings, reduced the cost of many personal injury claims in Ireland and reduced the time it takes for a claimant to receive compensation from three years to a little more than seven months.

However, the most recent figures released by the Injuries Board tend to support Ms Byron´s statement that the majority of claimants are still using solicitors for personal injury claims.

Only 39% of Personal Injury Claims Resolved by Injuries Board

Of 31,576 applications for assessment received in 2014, just 12,420 personal injury claims were resolved via the Injuries Board system. Not all of the remaining 61% of personal injury claims were resolved by solicitors, but those with liability issues or disputes over how much compensation the Injuries Board had assessed a claim for would have needed litigation to be settled.

Other claims (unfortunately) would have been resolved by third-party capture – where an insurance company makes an unsolicited approach to a claimant with a low offer of compensation in return for a quick settlement – while some claims will have dropped out of the system if the claimant did not have a genuine claims for compensation and gave up on their claim once liability was rejected.

Solicitor Defends Professional Guidance with Personal Injury Claims

In the Irish Times article, a representative from Dublin law firm Tyrrell Solicitors was invited to add his own perspective to Ms Byron´s admission that the majority of claimants were still using solicitors for personal injury claims. Roderick Tyrrell likened making personal injury claims to cutting your own hair, fixing your own leaking pipe or repairing a car engine.

Mr Tyrrell acknowledged that the Injuries Board provided a service for straightforward low-level claims, but when cases become more complex and there are “potential stumbling blocks” – like the value of a personal injury claim or identifying the legal entity against who to make a claim – claimants, insisted Mr Tyrrell, need guidance.

Compensation for an Injury on the Luas Approved in Favour of Schoolgirl

The settlement of a schoolgirl´s claim for compensation for an injury on the Luas has been approved by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court.

On 14th February 2008, Elaine Heron from Raheny in Dublin was boarding a Luas at Connelly Street with her two children Aoife and Kate. Six-year-old Aoife boarded the Luas first, but as Elaine started pushing the buggy containing Kate onto the train, the automatic doors closed – trapping the buggy.

The doors opened due to the blockage and gave Elaine enough time to pull the buggy out; but as Aoife started to disembark from the Luas to join her mother and sister on the platform, the automatic doors closed once again – this time trapping Aoife´s head between them.

An ambulance was called to the Connelly Street stop and Aoife was treated for a head injury by paramedics. She was later examined by the family´s GP, who diagnosed bruising and a soft tissue injury. As a consequence of her accident, Aoife – now thirteen years of age – still has a scar on the side of her head and has developed a fear of travelling on the Luas.

Through her mother, Aoife claimed compensation for an injury on the Luas against Veolia Transport Dublin Light Rail Ltd – the operators of the service – alleging negligence and breach of duty. The transport company initially denied its liability for Aoife´s head injury and prepared a full defence of the claim.

However, after a period of negotiation between solicitors representing the two parties, a settlement of €25,000 compensation for an injury on the Luas was agreed – a settlement which had to be approved by a judge as Aoife is under the age of eighteen.

Consequently the details of the schoolgirl´s accident and injury were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. Judge Groarke was also told that Aoife may need psychotherapy in the future to overcome her fear of travelling on the Luas, after which he approved the settlement of compensation for an injury on the Luas and wished Aoife all the best for the future.