Month: October 2016

Previously Dismissed Airport Work Injury Claim Resolved at High Court

A previously dismissed airport work injury claim, made by a former Ryanair check-in clerk, has been resolved at the High Court with an award of €16,650.

The airport work injury claim was made by a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin who, on 28th July 2011, injured her back while lifting a piece of passenger luggage onto a conveyor belt at Dublin Airport.

The woman had been tagging the luggage at the time of her injury to indicate to baggage handlers that it was the last piece of luggage to be checked in. She alleged in her airport work injury claim that the check-in desk was not a suitable site from which to lift luggage off of and onto the conveyor belt and that there was no safe system of work in place for the tagging process.

Her airport work injury claim was contested by her employer – MK Human Resources – and Ryanair, and she was issued with an authorization by the Injuries Board to pursue her claim in court. However, at the Circuit Civil Court last November, her claim was dismissed after doubts were raised about whether she had been standing or sitting – contrary to the training provided for her – at the time of her injury.

The plaintiff appealed the decision of the Circuit Civil Court, and the appeal was heard last week by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. At the hearing, Judge Cross ruled in the plaintiff´s favour and awarded her €20,800 compensation. The judge found that, although the plaintiff had twice been given manual lifting training, it had not been “site specific” and therefore would not be applicable to working behind a check-in desk.

However, during her evidence, the plaintiff had admitted that she had twisted her body to lift the luggage, rather than turn it. The judge said this had contributed to her injury and she should accept 20% of the blame. He subsequently reduced the settlement of her airport work injury claim to €16,650 to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence.

Judge Increases Award of Compensation for a Swimming Pool Injury

A High Court judge has increased an award of compensation for a swimming pool injury and dismissed an appeal by the venue at which the injury was sustained.

On 13th November 2011, Timea Babos broke her two upper front teeth when diving into the swimming pool at the West Wood Club in Dublin and hitting her face on the bottom of the pool. After having crowns fitted to her broken teeth, Timea claimed compensation for a swimming pool injury on the grounds that there were no warning signs indicating that the 50 metre pool had a single depth of just 1.35 metres.

The West Wood Club denied liability for Timea´s injury and she was issued with an Authorisation to pursue her claim in court. In May 2015, Judge Jacqueline Linnane awarded Timea €30,000 compensation for a swimming pool injury at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court. However, the West Wood Club appealed the decision, contesting the award on the grounds that Timea had contributed to her injury by failing to check the depth of the water before diving in.

At the appeal hearing this week, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan was told that Timea had never visited the venue before and, being a 50 metre pool, she had expected it to have a depth of two metres. The judge also heard there were no warning signs indicating the shallowness of the pool or any red indicators advising guests not to jump or dive into the pool. Timea´s counsel told Judge Noonan that there were no reasons at all to believe the pool was not safe.

Describing the signage as “woefully inadequate”, Judge Noonan said he did not accept West Wood´s claim that there was a lifeguard on duty at the time. The judge dismissed the appeal and increased the award of compensation for a swimming pool injury to €38,097 – commenting that it was a very modest award in the circumstances and that the West Wood Club was fortunate that the claim had not initially been brought in a court with a higher jurisdiction.

Emotional Trauma Compensation for a Shopping Centre Incident Awarded

A woman who suffered a psychological injury when she was trapped in a lift has been awarded emotional trauma compensation for a shopping centre incident.

On 31st August 2012, Marie Dicker – a fifty-four year old department store supervisor from Walkinstown in Dublin – was shopping with her son at the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, when the couple took the lift to travel down to the ground floor.

Shortly after the lift started to descend it came to a sudden halt. Trapped inside the lift, Marie tried to summon assistance by pressing the alarm button. When she was unable to reach anybody on the intercom, she banged on the lift doors and called for help.

After a few minutes of calling for help, the couple were rescued by a shopping centre security guard. However, despite the incident lasting less than five minutes, being trapped in the lift caused Marie to suffer a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia.

In the months following the shopping centre incident, Marie was unable to go into rooms without leaving the door open behind her. This made it difficult for her to use public toilets or shop fitting rooms, and in other situations Marie found that she became anxious unless she was close to the exit of any room she entered.

Marie sought professional medical help and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and depression. She then spoke with a solicitor and subsequently claimed emotional trauma compensation for a shopping centre incident against the shopping centre´s management company and the maintenance company responsible for the upkeep of the lift.

Square Management Ltd and Pickering Lifts Ltd acknowledged that there had been a breach in their duty of care, but disputed how much emotional trauma compensation for a shopping centre incident Marie was claiming. Unable to agree a negotiated settlement, the case went to the High Court for an assessment of damages.

At the hearing Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told that an independent psychiatrist commissioned by the defendants had found no evidence of an anxiety disorder when Marie was examined. However, the judge also heard that, since the incident, Marie has been under the care of a psychologist and has responded well to cognitive behaviour therapy that is expected to last for another eighteen months.

Judge Barr commented he was satisfied that Marie had suffered a psychological injury when she was trapped in the lift caused by a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia. He awarded her €25,060 emotional trauma compensation for a shopping centre incident.

Assessment of Compensation for a Child´s Fall Injury Approved

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved an Injuries Board assessment of compensation for a child´s fall injury in favour of a five-year-old girl.

In August 2012, Róisín Byrne was just fifteen months of age when she fell out of a large Georgian sash window at her parent´s temporary home in Blackrock, County Dublin. Róisín fell eleven feet onto an emergency fire escape below the window – injuring her head, fracturing a rib and puncturing a lung when she landed.

The little girl´s parents – Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy – had previously complained to the caretaker of the property that the window presented a risk of injury. They had asked the caretaker to install a security mechanism at the bottom of the window so that it could be locked shut as the window opened just twenty-one inches from the floor.

The request was never attended to and, on her daughter´s behalf, Chloe applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a child´s fall injury. The owner of the property – Enda Woods – gave his consent for the claim to be assessed, and the Injuries Board notified both parties that Róisín should be entitled to €46,000 compensation for a child´s fall injury.

As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the Injuries Board´s assessment had to be approved by a judge to ensure the settlement was in Róisín´s best interests. Due to the assessed compensation for a child´s fall injury being in excess of €15,000 – in which case approval could have been sought in the District Court – the approval hearing was held at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the approval hearing, the circumstances of Róisín´s accident were explained to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The judge heard that Róisín – who is now five years old – had made a full recovery from the incident except for a small scar on her forehead from where she had hit her head on the casing of the emergency fire escape.

The judge approved the €46,000 settlement of compensation for a child´s fall injury, which will now be paid into court funds until Róisín is eighteen years of age.