A fourteen-year-old boy has been awarded more than €50,000 compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder following a fire at his family´s home.
In June 2010, Aaron Monds from Kinnegad in County Westmeath was one four siblings rescued from a fire at the family home that had been caused by a faulty Hotpoint dishwasher. Aaron – who was only nine years of age at the time – had been diagnosed as suffering from a mild intellectual disability, and he was deeply traumatised by the fire.
For several years after the incident, Aaron displayed symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. He would check and re-check electrical appliances each night to ensure they were switched off and unplugged, developed an irrational fear of fire and would have night terrors about being engulfed in flames.
Aaron´s father – Henry Monds – sought legal advice and on behalf of his son claimed compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder following a fire. Indesit UK Ltd – the manufacturers of the faulty Hotpoint dishwasher – acknowledged liability for the appliance being responsible for the fire and, by proximate cause, admitted liability for Aaron´s traumatic response.
As the Injuries Board does not assess psychological injuries, a hearing took place at the High Court before Mr Justice Bernard Barton to assess how much compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder following a fire Aaron was entitled to.
At the hearing, Judge Barton was told that Aaron still had anxiety attacks about another fire in the family home but that his condition had improved after years of therapy. The judge accepted medical evidence that Aaron´s condition would now be described as residual symptoms of a post-traumatic stress disorder rather than obsessive compulsive behaviour.
The judge awarded Aaron €51,244 compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder following a fire and ordered that the settlement be paid into court funds until Aaron reaches the age of eighteen.