Month: December 2015

Boy Awarded Compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following a Fire

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.

High Court Hears Back Injury Claim due to Workplace Conditions

The High Court has heard a back injury claim due to workplace conditions, and awarded the plaintiff €415,000 compensation for no longer being able to work.

In January 2011, Mohammed Ali Saleh was employed as a slaughter hall man at the Moyvalley Meats factory in County Kildare. While working at the pluck station on 11th January, Mohammed twisted to put meat from a dead animal onto a hook and felt a sharp pain in his back. Mohammed underwent an MRI scan that revealed that he had suffered a prolapse disc and needed urgent decompression treatment.

Despite undergoing two operations on his back, Mohammed´s condition did not improve. He was diagnosed with failed bad syndrome and suffers from persistent pain in his back and legs, has an associated foot weakness, and can only walk with the assistance of crutches. Unable to work, Mohammed made a back injury claim due to workplace conditions against his employer.

In his legal action against Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited, Mohammed alleged that he had not been adequately trained to perform his duties without conducting a twisting manoeuvre and that the company had not introduced a safe system of work. The company contested Mohammed´s back injury claim due to workplace conditions, and a hearing was schedule for the case to be heard at the High Court.

At the hearing, Moyvalley Meats told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that Mohammed had been given on the job training and that his injury was attributable to an existing back condition. However, an expert witness testified that no safe system of work had been implemented to avoid the twisting manoeuvre responsible for Mohammed´s back injury, and that the only training Mohammed had received was watching an operative perform the task for a short period of time.

Judge Cross found in Mohammed´s favour, and awarded him €415,000 compensation in settlement of his back injury claim due to workplace conditions. The judge explained that the size of the compensation settlement reflected Mohammed´s lost income and his past and future pain and suffering.

Judge Dismisses Injury Claim for a Crash in a Car Park

Circuit Civil Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, has dismissed an injury claim for a crash in a car park after finding the plaintiff deceitful.

Rita Milinovic from Citywest in Dublin made an injury claim for a crash in a car park after being reversed into by a van on 5th April 2014. Twenty-nine year old Rita claimed that the “minor collision” had left her with a back injury that prevented her from working as a waitress, and that she had to eventually give up her job as the pain in her back prevented her from carrying plates.

Rita claimed €60,000 compensation against the van driver, Paul Ferris, and his employer – O´Dwyer Property Management Limited. Both defendants contested the claim on the grounds of the value Rita had assigned to it, and the case went to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

When it was Rita´s turn to give evidence, she winced in the witness stand as she told the court about the injury she had suffered and the impact it had on her quality of life. However, the injury claim for a crash in a car park collapsed when barristers representing the defendants presented Judge Groarke with photographs taken from Rita´s Facebook page.

The photographs were of Rita working out in a Dublin gym and at the top of Bray Head six weeks after her accident. Further photographs showed Rita in a bikini competing at an international body sculptor competition. The barristers offered the opinion to the court that Rita´s claim for a crash in a car park was a lie from beginning to end.

Judge Groarke accepted that the photographs of Rita competing in a body sculptor competition would not have required much physical effort, but those of her in the gym depicted a scenario “which somebody with a bad back would certainly not be engaging in.” The judge added: “Trying to be as politically correct as one can be in this situation, it doesn’t look like a person with such a fine physical physique as Ms Milinovic could have been suffering a great deal of pain.”

Judge Groarke said that the law demands that people come to court in total honesty and, while Rita might have sustained some degree of injury in the car park crash, there was a question mark over how deceitful she had been with the court. The judge dismissed Rita´s injury claim for a crash in a car park and ordered that she pay the defendants legal fees and court costs.