Month: April 2016

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.