Author: News

Student Settles Injury at Work Compensation following Hot Oil Accident

A student who took an injury at work compensation against the Chinese takeaway he worked in has settled his High Court action. The young man was burned by hot oil when he unknowingly sat on a bucket of freshly discarded bucket of it.

Umesh Maharjan, a fine arts student sustained devastating injuries when the oil splashed on his back and arm, the court was told. He was in significant pain and has been left with “grossly disfiguring” scars and wounds.

Originally from Kathmandu in Nepal, Mr Maharjan was employed in the Rathnew Chinese Takeaway in Wicklow to help fund his studies. 29-year-old Mr Maharjan, with an address at Dock Road, Limerick, took his injury at work compensation action against Rathnew Restaurant and Takeaway Ltd due the accident that occurred on August 21, 2015.

His legal representative for Mr Maharjan, Declan Doyle SC, said he was taking a break at the rear of the takeaway where plastic buckets were stored. Another employee had placed hot cooking oil from a deep-fat fryer in a bucket there and when Mr Maharjan sat upon it, the lid shifted and he fell backwards when the oil spilled over his back and left arm.

Mr Maharjan sustained life-changing injuries and had significant burns. Co-workers assisted him and applied water to the areas of his body that were burned, He was then taken to hospital.

Presiding Judge, Justice Michael Hanna was informed the issue of liability had been withdrawn in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Mr Doyle SC told that Judge that, following talks between all relevant parties yesterday, the case had been settled and could be dismissed.

Copper Face Jacks Injury Compensation of Over €80k awarded for Ankle Break

Colin McNamara, a bar manager from Limerick, has been awarded over €80,000 disco accident compensation by the High Court following a successful claim due to breaking his ankle in a wet floor slip at well known DUblin nightclub Copper Face Jacks nightclub and breaking his ankle in two places.

Mr McNamara was in the Dublin nightclub after he had visited the capital to view a Republic of Ireland soccer match at the Aviva Stadium in 2015 when he fell on the wet floor and broke his ankle in two different places.

Mr McNamara, now 36 years old,  with an address at Sycamore Avenue, Rathbane, Co Limerick had submitted the disco accident compensation action against Breanagh Catering Ltd and the owners of the nightclub Copper Face Jacks at Harcourt Street, Dublin, due to the injuries he sustained in the accident that took place on October 9, 2015. In his personal injury compensation action Mr McNamara said that he slipped on a floor which he claimed was wet and represented a slipping hazard to patrons.

Mr McNamara informed Mr Justice Michael Hanna that “the wet floor caused me to slip and fall. I turned to walk but I ended up on the floor.”

He claimed that there was a failure to implement any proper steps to clean and dry the floor surface before the accident happened.Additionally, he alleged that the floor had been allowed to remain wet and slippy and presenting a serious danger to patrons.

The defendants in the personal injury compensation action refuted these claims. Mr Justice Hanna told the High Court that he had been given an order of the court giving judgment against the defendant. Due to this issues of liability were not an issue. As efforts to resolve the case were unsuccessful the defendant chose not intervene in court to challenge the medical evidence, as was their right, but instead chose to use a legal cost accountant.

In the testimony at the High Court, Mr McNamara told the Judge that security staff came and lifted him from the ground and brought him out to a back alley where a member of staff looked at his leg and ankle before advising him that it was not broken. They, the security staff, said that they could not call an ambulance. Mr McNamara said he “hobbled away” and used a taxi to return to his hotel. Due to the fact that he was still in a considerable amount of pain upon his return to Limerick, Mr McNamara went to hospital where he was told that he had broke his ankle in two places. He also had to have surgery and was on crutches for a period of time following this.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna, told the High Court that Mr McNamara has sustained a serious and significant injury when accounting for the fact that he would be required to be “fleet of foot” in job as a bar manager. He went on to say that Mr McNamara was absent from work for five months dueto slipping on the wet floor of the disco.

Justice Hanna said that the appropriate figure of nite club compensation was €80,000 plus special damages of €7,116 to cover medical and other expenses of Mr McNamara.

Garda Shoulder Injury Compensation of €8,000 Awarded

A High Court judge has awarded €8,000 compensation to a garda for a soft tissue shoulder injury which he sustained while on duty.

This was far less than the €20,000 personal injury compensation originally sought in the action. Garda Ronan Leonard took the compensation action against the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform over an injury he sustained while on duty he fell on July 11, 2014, while chasing a suspect.

Garda Leonard went to an out of hours doctor service and, following this, was tended to at an A&E hospital department. During this treatment X-rays were carried out which showed no fractures. He was  sent home with a course of pain-killers and anti-inflammatories. Garda Leonard was absent from work for five days on sick leave before returning.

As he was still suffering with constant pain, on July 21 Garda Leonard went to his family GP for ongoing pain. Here he was diagnosed with a sprain to the joint at the top of his left shoulder and given a steroid injection and anti-inflammatories. This course of treatment was repeated in October 2014.

The court was told that Garda Leonard has now made a full recovery from the soft tissue injury and there was no evidence of him making any previous claim under the Garda Compensation Acts.

Counsel for Garda Leonard argued that he should get €20,000 based on the Book of Quantum. However, the court ruled that the appropriate award was €8000, plus €60 agreed special damages.

The Judge remarked in his ruling that the award should be €8,000 due to the recent binding decisions of the Court of Appeal in relation to personal injury cases. This decision stated that a downwards recalibration of damages in certain personal injury actions of between 45-50 percent must take place.

The judge also said that he felt that €8,000 personal injury compensation was fair to Garda Leonard and proportionate to the injury suffered.

Nursing Home Fatal Accident Compensation of €54,000 Awarded Deceased Woman’s Family

€54,000 fatal injury in a nursing home accident compensation has been awarded to the family of a 90-year-old woman who died as a result of scald injuries she sustained from a burst hot water bottle .

The family, the court was told, were awarded compensation due to the trauma, suffering, funeral and travel expenses in the aftermath of death of their mother and granny at a nursing home in Dublin.

Legal counsel for the family Barrister Frank Crean informed Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, that the late Olive Sheeran sustained serious scalding on her buttocks, left thigh and calf, heels and ankles when a hot water bottle burst in the bed that she was sleeping in.

The operators of the Deansgrange-based nursing home, SRCW Limited, had agreed to pay the family €54,406 nursing home injury compensation according to Mr Crean. The Court was told that Ms Carol Hayes, with an address at Corabally, Ardfield, Clonakilty, Co Cork, a daughter of the late Ms Sheeran, had initiated the injury compensation action against SRCW Limited on behalf of herself and her brothers Mark (57) and Conor Sheeran (55) and Ms Sheeran’s grandchildren Adam (18), Jennifer (17), Alexandra (26), and Thomas Sheeran (20) and Peter (28), Matthias (26) and Oisin (23) Hayes.

The court was informed by Ms Hayes through an affidavit that she was asking the court grant approval to the Injuries Board assessment “in respect of the fatal injuries” her mother, then aged 89, had suffered in an accident at Ferndene on January 6, 2017. Ms Hayes told the court that her mother had been residing in the home when the accident that led to her death occurred.

The accident took place when a nurse at the home had attended Ms Sheeran’s room and taken two water bottles away to refill them with fresh water. One of the refilled water bottles was then put next to Ms Sheeran’s feet and burst a little while later, inflicting significant burns on her.

Presiding Judge Groarke was informed that following an investigation all water bottles had been removed from use at the nursing home and the investigator had recommended that they be replaced with coded stock which should be inspected once a month and replaced with new bottles once per year.

Ms Sheeran had been rushed by ambulance to the emergency department of St Vincent’s Hospital where she had been tended to before being brought to the burns unit of St James’s Hospital. Her burns were then been treated with antiseptic dressings, antibiotics and analgesia. However, Ms Sheeran had contracted pneumonia and a urinary tract infection and prescribed a course of intravenous antibiotics. Ms Sheeran died before her wounds had completely healed.

Judge Groarke approved the nursing home accident compensation settlement.

€4,000 Police Injury Compensation for Garda Attacked by Girlfriend’s Brother

Garda Fintan Smith has been awarded €4,000 policeman injury compensation after being assaulted by his girlfriend’s brother while he was assisting in restraining him during the course of his work outside a Letterkenny nightclub.

Garda Smith advised High Court Judge Justice Michael Twomey that he was struck to the head by his now brother-in-law at first, resulting in a black eye and nose bleed. Not long after this he was again attacked by the same individual who, despite being restrained with handcuffs in the back of a garda car, managed to kick him to the head when he was sitting in the front passenger seat.

Judge Twomey was told that Garda Smith now has very little to do with this individual. He was invited to his wedding just this summer but was not in attendance on the day. Garda Smith does his best to avoid any family events if he is aware that his brother-in-law will be there. Despite this he maintains an excellent relationship with the other members of his wife’s family.

Ms Fiona Crawford, legal counsel for Garda Smith, told the court the Garda Smith had sustained a badly injured nose during the attack. However, she added that subsequent x-rays revealed, thankfully that he  (Garda Smith) had not suffered a bone injury.

Garda Smith said in the High Court that he had suffered a serious amount of stress following the assault and it led to a considerable amount of tension between him and his partner, the sister of the assailant. He was absent from work for a period of one month after the attack as his came to terms with the embarrassment he was suffering from. He added that the attack had resulted in him feeling a lot of anger at how things had worked out.

Later, Garda Smith put in a request, which was eventually granted, to be transferred from Letterkenny to Ballybofey Garda Station.

Garda Smith, speaking in the High Court, advised Justice Twomey that his attacker was, at the time of the attack, a known troublemaker who did not hold any respect for the gardai.

Judge Twomey awarded €4,000 policeman workplace compensation to Garda Smith for the injuries he experienced while he was working.

Injury Compensation Settlement After Hotel Wedding Dance Fall

A hotel wedding slipping compensation settlement has been agreed at the High Court between a Tipperary hotel and a woman from Clonmel who slipped on the dance floor at a wedding she was attending. The woman in question slipped on petals that fell when the bride threw her bouquet two hours earlier.

The exact details of the wedding fall compensation settlement are not being made public as part of the terms of the settlement. At the High Court Judge Kevin Cross was informed that the case had been settled and could now be dismissed.

Ms Ann White, a native of Clonmel, stated in Court that she had been attending the afters of a work colleague’s wedding at the Aherlow House Hotel in September 2012. Late in the evening she fell after slipping on some petals on the dance floor, breaking her wrist and arm.

The 53-year-old child care worker advised told the High Court that a “serious scrum” of about 20 “very enthusiastic” women occurred when the bride threw her bouquet at 12.30am. Following a number of those involved pulling at the bridal bouquet of pink and white roses, petals came off and were scattered all over the dance floor. Ms White said she went to dance at roughly 2.30am and her right foot slipped on on the scattered rose petals. She (Ms White) informed the Judge that she was wearing stilettos but is is used to them.

As a result of the injuries she sustained, Ms White had to undergo surgery and added that she still suffers from pain in her arm everyday. The Aherlow House Hotel denied Ms White’s claims, stating that it was an unlucky accident which could not have been predicted by the hotel management or staff.

Mr Justice Cross praised the parties involved on coming together and agreeing to a hotel fall compensation settlement.

Former Specsavers Workers Awarded €12,000 after Wrongful Discriminatory Sacking

A branch of Specsavers located in Letterkenny, Co Donegal has been ordered to pay €12,000 by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) as wrongful dismissal compensation to a Muslim woman who was terminated from her position the day after the Manchester terror attack in 2017.

The WRC ruled that Letterkenny Specsavers Ltd discriminated against Amina Ferrah, using her religion as a basis for doing so. The presiding Adjudication Officer, Ms Emer O’Shea, said she was satisfied on the basis of the proof shown to her that Ms Ferrah’s sacking prior to the standard three-month review constituted less favourable treatment on the grounds of religious discrimination.

Ms Ferrah told the WRC she was let go from her job on discriminatory grounds “as a knee-jerk reaction” to the fact that she was clearly identifiable as a Muslim. She added that her employer “may have been overly concerned about public sentiment following the Manchester terror attack and the impact it might have on their business”.

The Letterkenny branch of Specsavers vehemently denied the discrimination claim and claimed, at the hearing, that the decision to terminate Ms Ferrah’s employment on the spot was purely down to her professional performance in the role.

Adjudication Officers of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) are statutorily independent in their decision making duties as they relate to adjudicating on complaints referred to them by the WRC Director General.

Adjudicating Officer Ms O’Shea commented, in finding that the Specsavers branch did discriminate against Ms Ferrah, that it was accepted by the company that reviews of new employees would take place after an initial period of three months employment.

In this instance, however, there was no official records of any professional reviews taking place to support the company’s contention of ongoing reviews taking place. Neither were there any recorded accounts of any performance deficits registered during the period that Ms Ferrah was employed at Specsavers Letterkenny present to the WRC.

 

Lengthening Delays For Violent Attack Compensation Claims Being Heard

The Irish Examiner newspaper has reported that there is an increasing backlog in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, leaving victims of serious violent attacks waiting years to be compensated.

Since 2012 only 597 payments were made from the 1,357 claims have been submitted. More recently, in 2017 only 31 payments were made to the 181 new applications. In 2018 only 10 victims were compensated by the end of May this year when 73 new cases were registered during that time period.

The details were revealed in the answer to a parliamentary question submitted by Fianna Fáil TD John Curran has now called for an immediate review of the scheme to find out what is causing the hold-ups.

In response to this the Mr Curran TD released a statement which said: “Despite the fact that the number of cases which settle in a pay-out is declining year on year, there are lengthy delays in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal assisting victims of crime in Ireland. As it stands, should this year’s applications be managed in the very same poor manner it’s likely that just 24 cases will be settled in 2018.”

He added: “Victims should expect that they will receive their compensation in a prompt manner and in accordance with constitutional justice. In correspondence I received, the Tribunal itself cited its limited resources and “economic constraints” as contributing factors in the slow process of claims and victims obtaining their due compensation.

“The Tribunal receives roughly €4 million in budget each year, but it is uncertain how this budget is set considering the number of, and types of cases varies year on year.

The TD concluded saying: “A thorough review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal must be carried out before next year’s figure of unsettled claims rises even more. This review could not come quick enough for very many victims of crime or their families.”

You can read the full text of his statement by clicking here.

 

 

 

WRC Awards €5k to Autistic Boy Who Was Told not to Eat Toast in his School Taxi

An autistic teenager who was stopped from eating toast in his taxi to school has been awarded €5,000 from Bus Eireann by The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The WRC ruled that the company had discriminated against the 16-year-old on the grounds of his disability. As a result of this Adjudication officer Gerry Rooney ordered Bus Eireann to pay €5,000 to the boy. Additionally he directed the operator to make contact with his family without delay.

It was explained to the WRC, in a submission from the boy’s parents, that their son’s dietary requirements meant that he would eat his breakfast of a slice of toast, a banana and fruit juice in the taxi while travelling to school. They added that any changes in the teen’s routine could cause difficulty and serious issues for his development. Bus Eireann denied that it discriminated against the boy.

Bus Eireann contracted a taxi driver from 2015 to transport him to a special needs school. The routine of the teen eating his breakfast in transit was accommodated without no issue. However, on January 27, 2017, the then taxi driver advised the boy and his family that he was buying a new car worth €60,000 and asked that the boy no longer consumed his toast in it.

When advised of this the boy’s father told the taxi driver that such a change would be very distressing change to his teenager’s routine. At this point the parents’ offered to buy the taxi driver a cordless vacuum cleaner but he (the taxi driver) maintained his opposition despite and told the parent that it was a Bus Eireann policy for pupils not to eat on school transport. He said that this was due to health and safety issues.

In response to this the parents communicated Bus Eireann and were ad ised by an inspector that the taxi driver was being reasonable. The inspector advised the parents that the boy would be affored one week to stop eating the toast in the taxi.

In his findings, Adjudicator for the WRC Mr Rooney said: “There was no evidence provided that when the complainant was being reasonably accommodated previously that any soiling of the taxi occurred, or if soiling had occurred in the past that it presented an unreasonable cost to the taxi driver, or the respondent.”

Thalidomide Compensation Cases Adjourned by High Court until November

The High Court has adjourned, for further case management,  26 personal injury compensation claims in relation to the use of the drug Thalidomide until November 7.

Teh legal actions are being brought against the producers of the drug, German firm Grunenthal GmbH, the Irish distributors, TP Whelehan Son & Co, and also the Ministers for Health and Environment.

The claimed wrongdoing, the High Court was told, dates back to the 1960s. Thalidomide was launched  in Germany in 1957 as a sedative and is alleged to have inflicted deformities on unborn children when it was prescribed to their pregnant mothers. The defendants in the case deny all the claims that the plaintiffs submitted.

The adjournment was issue as it is yet to be determined is whether the cases are statute barred . To date the actions have been case managed on their way to trial over the course of the last few years.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, in hearing the cases on Wednesday, stated that he is unhappy with “the slow pace” of the proceedings. However, Justice Noonan did rule that certain information reagrding particulars of the claims must be provided by the plaintiff to legal counsel for the defendents prior to the November 7 hearing. This is information that the defendants claims they required in order to address the claim being made against them. He added that the plaintiffs had a right to request to discover documents from the State as part of the compensation claims that they are taking.

John Stack, chairman of Thalidomide Ireland, which supports the claims, said the group was pleased to learn that the plaintiffs had a right to discover State documents as part of their case.

He said “Unfortunately, two of our members have not survived to conclude their court actions against the Irish State. Our members are ageing, becoming more decrepit and suffering the adverse effects of their physical deterioration. Our litigation has been the mother of all battles over decades and Thalidomide victims have to keep themselves alive to get justice for both their families and themselves.

“That is fundamentally wrong and shows that the State’s moral compass in respect of catastrophic injury litigation is incorrectly set for the purpose of minimisation of costs rather than doing the correct thing by its injured citizens”.

Former Garda Awarded €9,000 for Injuries Sustained During 2013 Workplace Assault

A former Garda has been awarded just €9,000 workplace accident compensation by a High Court judge for injuries he suffered to his lower back and right leg, when he was assisting the arrest of a violent drunk in Cavan during 2013.

Barrister Esther Earley told the Judge Michael Twomey that Garda Gary Tobin, a renowned former rugby player and current junior rugby coach, that Garda Tobin had been on duty in Bailieborough at 3am on 31 January 2013 when he and a colleague arrested a violent drunk and possible drugs user on the town’s Main Street.

While the arrest was taking place he (Tobin) he had been knocked to the ground, injuring his lower back and right leg. He was absent from work for four months off work due to severe back pain before returning to light station duties for a number of months. Upon his return to work his right leg had continued paining him and he still experienced symptoms and still had difficulty putting his socks.

Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Barrister Kevin Dinneen was advised by that his back had fully recovered after four months but he still experienced intermittent pain in his leg. He said that although his doctor had advised he get physiotherapy he had neglected to do so.

Garda TObin told the Court that, from his experience as a rugby coach, he was aware of how to deal with injuries and had undertaken a self-treatment regime for himself involving exercise after initially having been prescribed anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants.

Judge Twomey, awarding Tobin €9,000 workplace injury compensation and costs for what he described as soft tissue injuries, told the Court that he (Tobin) had undergone an MRI scan at the time which had shown degenerative symptoms in his back.

 

Girl with Diabetes Awarded €2,260 Compensation due to Concert Staff Confiscating Lucozade

A young Belfast woman with Type 1 diabetes has been awarded €2,260 after security staff at a music concert confiscated her fizzy drink.

Kayla Hanna, 20, had been walking into a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Belfast in August 2016 when the incident happened.

The student always carries Lucozade for her blood sugar levels, as she suffers from Type 1 diabetes, but Eventsec Ltd staff removed it, despite her showing them her diabetes tattoo and insulin pack. Miss Hanna said suffered from anxiety and upset during the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.

She told the court “I stood away from the area near the stage where my friends were because I was afraid something would happen to me and I would not have the Lucozade. This had never happened me at other concerts I went to. I really hope that, now this issue has been brought to light, it won’t happen again to me or other people who live with diabetes.”

Miss Hanna took a case under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland supported her.

The court made ruled that discrimination had occurred and Judge Gilpin stated that Eventsec did not give a reasonable adjustment to its policy of not allowing liquids to be brought into the concert.

Mary Kitson, senior legal officer for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said the Act is there to ensure people with disabilities are not denied access to services under any circumstances.

She said “In this case, the company should have made arrangements to ensure that Kayla could have accessed Lucozade during the concert if needed; for example, by directing her to its own medical centre at the venue and providing her with a bottle of Lucozade. That would have been a simple adjustment and would have met her medical needs. The court has ruled that this was a breach of the law and awarded Kayla £2,000.”

€1.8m Wrongful Birth Compensation Awarded Following Incorrect Foetus Test Results

The first ever wrongful birth compensation case in the State has been settled for an interim payment of €1.8m after a mother, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, alleged she was deprived of her right to travel for an abortion.

Her baby was born with the same disabling condition after a prenatal test that was carried on the foetus for that condition came back showing no indication that it was present in the child.

The mother in question told the High Court that she had planned to use her constitutional right to travel to the England for an abortion if the test had shown results showing that her unborn baby had the same debilitating genetic condition. However, her child was deliverd with the this condition and now needs 24-hour care. The mother claims that, based on the test results, she was not allowed informed consent and to make an informed decision in respect of the continuance of her pregnancy.

Legal representative for the mother, Oonagh McCrann SC, advised the High Court that the parents went ahead happily and joyfully with the pregnancy after the normal result was returned on the test. Later, following the birth, they felt considerable shock and grief when they discovered that the rare genetic condition with very significant and profound disability.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross put a barring order in relation to reporting of details that may identify the mother and child publicly. The mother had taken the wrongful birth compensation legal action against the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Dublin. Complete liability in the case was officially admitted on June 13 2018.

The admission stated that “in the particular circumstances of this case and in light of the outcome of the recent referendum repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution”, liability was admitted and the public policy defence was withdrawn.

Mr Justice Cross, remarking that liability had been admitted, said he felt the result of the referendum was not relevant.

 

Woman Settles Compensation Action over Finger Injury in Dicey Reillys

A High Court action in which a 23-year-old woman claimed she broke her finger when she was ejected from a well-known Dublin bar by security personnel after her friend asked to use the toilets has been settled

Sophie Beardmore, Redford Park, Greystones, Co Wicklow, had taken the personal injury compensation action against Senture Security Ltd, Citywest, Dublin which is no longer in business, and Triglen Holdings Ltd trading as Dicey’s Garden Bar, Harcourt Street, Dublin, alleging she was illegally assaulted on May 19, 2015.

Her legal representatives claimed that the security staff had displayed “an unbelievable overreaction” when there was a “jostle’ with a security man at Dicey’s Garden Bar over using the toilets and Ms Beardmore was grabbed by the arm and flung out on to the street.

The business student suffered a nasty fracture and the index finger on her left hand was in a splint for weeks, while she had difficulty completing everyday tasks such as writing and washing her hair after suffering the injury.

There was an alleged failure to provide properly qualified or trained security personnel at the bar.

Triglen Holdings had denied the Mrs Beardmore’s claims that there was an alleged failure to take any or any reasonable care to see she was safe while lawfully a visitor and patron on the premises and that the security staff were not properly trained.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the case had been settled.

The incident, which was captured on CCTV, happened after Ms Beardmore had gone to Dicey’s bar with a friend and had a pint of cider each and shared another pint. Her friend needed to use he toilet but they were not allowed use the toilet in the smoking area and went to another.

Ms Beardmore’s hand was grabbed by a security person and her friend was also dragged viciously, counsel said, before she was thrown out on to the street and her friend was thrown out following this.

Compensation Payment to Donegal Widow Under ‘Lost at Sea’ Scheme

A Donegal widow, Winifred Byrne, who had secured the Ombudsman’s support for State compensation over exclusion from a Government scheme has finally been sent a cheque for €245,570 in Lost at Sea compensation.

Bruckless resident Ms Byrne has been awarded an ex-gratia payment from Minister for Marine Michael Creed, after a 14-year dispute when she was left out og the “Lost at Sea scheme” to support families who died while working at sea.

Ms Byrne’s lost her husband Francis and her 16-year-old son Jimmy, when they were lost along with three other crewmen after their fishing boat Skifjord perished in 1981.

In 2001, then marine minister Frank Fahey initiated a limited scheme to encourage families who had lost vessels between 1980 and 1989 to stay in fishing, by awarding compensatory “tonnage” .

Despite there being 67 applications through the scheme, only six were selected and 75% of the funds paid were to constituents of the then Minister for the Marine Mr Frank Fahey.

As the scheme had not been widely advertised the Byrne family submitted a complaint in 2004 after their late application had been turned own. Ombudsman Ms Emily O’Reilly found in their favour in December 2009, stating the scheme had been improperly operated. Despite the report being presented to the Oireachtas committee on agriculture in 2010.

Danny Byrne said that his mother had received the payment, and paid tribute to Minister for the Marine Mr Michael Creed, and to former Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins who had championed the family’s cause over the years.

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, “I want to extend my congratulations to the Byrne family for the sheer determination and perseverance they exhibited in seeing through their campaign against successive Irish Governments on the Lost at Sea scheme.  I am delighted that they have now finally received the compensation that was legislatively owed to them and hope that this will close what I am sure has been a difficult, and at times frustrating, case.

“The Byrnes, who tragically lost two members of their family, three crew members and their entire livelihood had been fighting against their exclusion from the scheme for over 3 decades.”

15-year-old Woodwork Student Awarded €42,500 Class Finger Injury

A €42,500 School Classroom Injury Compensation award has been made to a teenage boy who cut his finger on a saw during a woodwork class.

The student, Robin Reinplu who is now aged 17, took the legal action against Arklow CBS in Co. Wicklow, following the classroom accident that occurred on January 13, 2016.

Mr Reinplu’s legal representative Michael Byrne SC, said Robin had been using a band saw to cut a piece of wood when he was shoved by another student in the class. Mr Byrne advised the Court that Robin’s finger was cut by the blade of the saw.

Robin, from The Drive, Meadowvale, Arklow, was brought to his family doctor, who referred him for further treatment to to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin. The injuries he sustained included a two to three centimetre cut on his index finger, and a fracture of his finger tip. Following surgery to repair his nail bed he was left with a six centimetre scar.

After the surgery, Robin was absent school for a number of weeks and underwent a course of hand therapy and, following further review, it was found that he was experiencing a loss of sensation and grip, and a difficulty playing basketball. Additionally, the scar became painful in cold weather, the court was told. 

Taking the legal action through his through his father, Reimo Reinplu, it was claimed that the school was negligent in not taking any safety precautions and did not maintain adequate supervision in the classroom. Due to this Robin was not prevented from being ‘jokingly’ knocked into by a classmate. Along with this the guard on the saw should have been set at a level which would have prevented the boy’s injury.

The case was taken against Edmund Rice Schools Trust, the owner and operator of the CBS school, who denied liability in the matter. 

Judge Kevin Cross approved the offer of €42,500 for school classroom injury compensation.

Toddler Awarded €1,500 Over Accident That Killed Sister Before He Was Born

A 23-months-old child, who had not been conceived when his older sister was died in a hit-and-run accident in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on April 6, 2015, was Tuesday awarded €1,500 personal injury compensation for her death.

One year and 47 days after his sister Vanessa died, Marcel Siatka was born on May 24, 2016.

Representing the Siatka family, Barrister Conor Kearney advised Judge Terence O’Sullivan in the Circuit Civil Court that the Injuries Board had assessed damages of €42,777 to be split between between Vanessa’s surviving family and to incorporate the cost of her funeral.

Mr Kearney said the Injuries Board had not, in its final assessment, took into account compensation for Marcel as he had not been born when the accident occurred.

Judge O’Sullivan heard that, in line with the Civil Liability Act, Mr Siatka had taken a claim on behalf of members of his family, including Marcel.  Mr Siatka, resident at Brandon Square, Waterville, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, said Vanessa had a brother born more than a year after her death, who was not taken into account in the final assessment.

Mr Kearney referred to the fact that the court had to approve the assessment and the parents had stated they had no difficulty for compensation, as decided by the court, being shared with Marcel. Judge O’Sullivan said it was not a nice duty to split money between family members but he was of the belief that it was appropriate to mark the fact that Marcel would undoubtedly ask questions about his sister in future and would encounter some grief in relation to her death.

He said the €6,000 allocated to the three grandparents should be reduced to €1,500 each so as to allow for Marcel also receiving €1,500 and he directed that Marcel’s money be paid into court to his future benefit.  He offered the court’s sympathy with the family.

Injured Tesco Security Guard Awarded €32,000 for Workplace ‘Victimisation’

A Tesco Security Guard has had a €32,000 workplace bullying compensation pay out ordered due to be paid to him by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) overturned at the Labour Court.

The man was working with Noonan Services Group Limited at the Tesco store in Co Limerick, a retail unit 40,000 square feet big.

The initial payout was in relation to a complaint over a dispute the man entered into at the store as he recovered from knee surgery sustained in a workplace accident that occurred at a different place of work.

His work involved a period, during his shift at the Tesco store, sit in a chair at a bank of security cameras in order to oversee the activity in the store.

As part of store policy this chair was taken away in order to tackle ‘shrinkage’. This refers to the stealing of articles from the shop floor. The though was that this would force security staff to walk the aisles instead of sitting at the camera-station.

He complained about this and asked for the chair to be brought back, he says his request was refused. He also presented medical testimony that said standing for the duration of his ten-hour shift he would severely affect his recovery from the surgery on his knee.

In November 2015, he ceased working at the Tesco outlet and did not return to work there.

The WRC had initially awarded him €32,000, €16,000 for loss of wages due to going on extended leave, and another €16,000 due to his alleged victimisation.

Tesco had objected during the hearing on the basis that Noonan’s were employing the man and not Tesco. The initial decision by the WRC adjudication officer stated that it was correct to name Tesco as the respondent as the store exerted considerable command and control over the man, regarding annual leave applications and the delivery of security reports for example.

The retailer claimed argued that Noonan is not an employment agency per se, as had been argued earlier, but is ‘a provider of managed services’. It claimed, successfully, that neither the Temporary Agency Work Act 2012, nor the Employment Agency Act 1971, applied to such providers of managed services.

In line with this the court overturned the original decision to award the man €32,000 in personal injury compensation.

Former Supermarket Worker Awarded €105,000 Workplace Compensation for Cold Room Accident

A workplace accident award of €105,000 has been upheld by the Court of Appeal (CoA)    for a former part-time supermarket staff member who sustained an injury when she fell while operating a pallet truck moving wares.

37-year-old Pamela Phoenix, who now lives in Canada, and formerly of McDonnell Drive, Athy, Co Kildare, took the workplace compensation against Dunnes Stores due to the accident that she had on September 18, 2006. Ms Phoenix was trying to shift the pallet truck in reverse through a cold room when she suddenly slipped and fell heavily, injuring her bottom and back. 

A workplace accident compensation award of €105,929 was approved for Ms Phoenix in the High Court in 2016. The court agreed that she suffered chronic back pain and depressive symptomatology due to the supermarket workplace incident. By October 2007 she had gained a lot of weight. The judge said that he felt Ms Phoenix was a credible witness who did not exaggerate the suffering she experienced.

Dunnes Stores appealed the workplace compensation as, they argued, that the supermarket worker compensation award was excessive and disproportionately high.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, representing the three-judge Court of Appeal, upheld the supermarket workplace compensation award saying while it was probably in the upper range of what is normal, given the role of an appeallate court in other case law, the Court of Appeal cannot take any additional action in relation to this.

After the supermarket staff member accident Ms Phoenix was brought by ambulance to St Lukes’ hospital in Kilkenny. Her X-rays showed no serious damage and she was sent home with some pain-killing tablets. In the immediate aftermath of the the accident she had to use crutches to get around for a few days

She had difficulty returning to work with the same workload that she had tackled before the accident and changed jobs to a position with Elverys. In 2007, still experiencing a considerable amount of back pain, she departed that role. She also has difficulty in maintaining her studies at Maynooth University and became psychologically weak, eventually suffering from depression when she suffered a miscarriage n 2008. Following this Ms Phoenix moved to Canada to start a new life in 2013 where she married and had a baby in 2016.

€30k Bowling Alley Injury Compensation Settlement for Boy who Injured his finger as a Toddler

A boy, now aged eight-years-old, who hurt his finger as a toddler when he was holding a bowling ball has settled his bowling alley injury compensation action for €30,000 at the High Court.

The boy, Kaylum Devitt now has a permanent 2cm scar on his right index finger. The bowling ball finger injury compensation settlement was agreed with a full denial of liability, the court heard.

Taking the compensation action though his Mother Natalie, Kaylum Devitt, of Buirg an Ri, Balgaddy, Lucan, Co Dublin, sued XL Bowl Limited trading as Superdome, Kennelsfort Road, Palmerstown, Dublin, due to the accident that occurred on March 18 2012.

In the High Court it was claimed the young boy’s right index finger was lacerated by a bowling ball and he sustained a fracture to the finger and had to have a surgical procedure to treat it.

Additionally, there was also an alleged failure to take any or any adequate precautions for the safety of the child. It was claimed that the bowling ball was allowed to be remain a danger or hazard on the premises. Counsel for Mr Devitt also stated that there was an alleged failure to provide appropriate children’s equipment in circumstances as the bowling alley was safe for children.

XL Bowl denied  the claims were and said it would be argued in court the toddler was not being properly supervised at the time of the incident.

Philip Sheahan SC, representing Kaylum, told the court the little boy was in the bowling alley with his family and that there may be two opposing accounts of what happened and a claim that people were distracted elsewhere at the time that the accident happened.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr, who examined the scar, said the settlement was for an appropriate sum given the extent of the injuries suffered by the young boy.

Trapeze artist (53) sues Fossett Brothers Circus over Work Injury

A circus Trapeze artist has had her workplace compensation action struck out after she injured her back when a piece of equipment hit her during a big top grand finale.

Ms Bratby said she had finished her trapeze act and was standing with the other circus performers behind the main circus stage, waiting on the start the grand finale when the accident occurred.

Ms Bratby stated that she bent down low to put on her work shoes when a piece of steel tubing, normally used to secure the tight wire, struck her on the back after coming loose.

Aged 53, Ms Bratby with an address at Coolfore Road, Navan Co Meath sued Fossett Brothers Circus Ltd due to the accident that happened on October 11, 2012.
Liability had been accepted workplace accident legal action was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Following talks between the involved parties Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon was advised by John Mc Donagh SC, for Ms Bratby, the workplace compensation case could be struck out.

As she had alleged there had been a failure to make sure a heavy prop was adequately secured and a claimed failure to provide a safe place in which to work.

Ms Bratby’s legal representatives argued that she (Ms Bratby) was severely restricted in her work as a result of stiffness and pain and could not achieve an earning capacity similar to her pre-accident level. She could not continue with her trapeze act as confidently she had before the accident.

After initially having to spend the three days immediately after the accident in bed and she said she still experiences back pain in her current job at a petting farm.
Ms Bratby told the court that, prior to sustaining the injuries, she had aspiration to become a circus ring master.

On a circus tour in the Netherlands not long after the workplace accident she took part in nine performances. However, she was only able to complete basic tricks on the trapeze and could not in position to use the swing. During 2013 she had a limited schedule due to her injuries.

However, when the argument that she (Ms Bratby) earned two and a half times more after the accident that before it was made by legal representative for Fossetts, Ms Bratby said that she could not stand over her claims.

The judge allowed five minutes recess for the parties to consider their position and, following this, Ms Bratby’s legal team advised her that the case could be struck out.

Street Assault Compensation Award of €710k for Attacked Barman

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal has awarded a Dublin barman €710,000 for traumatic brain injuries sustained in a street assault.

The injuries were suffered by Stephen Plunkett, now aged 32, from Blackrock, Dublin around 12 years when he was involved in what was termed ‘horseplay’ with a group of people. In the action that followed Mr Plunkett was chased and suffered blows to his head due to a fall and subsequent kicks to the head.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross Court approved the tribunal award to Mr Plunkett in relation to the suffering he sustained in the street attack which occurred at Torquay Road, Foxrock, Dublin on August 21, 2006.

The Court was advised that, as a sole member of the tribunal had determined that Mr Plunkett was 50% to blame and a street assault compensation award of €634,000 was re-evaluated as to the figure €317,000.

An appeal was brought to the High Court on behalf of Mr Plunkett. At this time all the details of the case were considered at a full oral hearing in front of a three-member tribunal.

The three-member tribunal remarked that, after examining the Garda report of the case the details indicated that Mr Plunkett verbally attacked a separate group of people earlier on in the night this seemed to have been settled by the shaking of hands between the groups.

It was claimed that Mr Plunkett, in appeared to strike a member of the other group on the back of the head with a light bamboo type stick, prompting them to chase him.

During the chase Stephen fell and hit his head. Member of the group are believed to have kicked him while he was on the ground.

It was determined, by the tribunal that Mr Plunkett should be admitted to the compensation scheme. As he was the victim of an assault and that he suffered his injuries following a criminal act.

It was also ruled that Mr Plunkett was, at least partially to blame for the incident and a deduction of 40pc was applied to the final award.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the €710,000 street accident compensation award.

Almost €250m paid in Medical Negligence Claims during 2017

The State Claims Agency (SCA)  has revealed that a record figure of €248.88m was paid in medical negligence claims during 2017.

This figure is an increase of 20.6% on the amount paid out during 2016, €206.4m in total.

In the report released by the State Claims Agency, figures indicate that that the SCA has paid out €1.123bn since 2010 in relation to medical negligence compensation claims. The figures produced show that between clinical, and €32.87m in general claims awarded against the general health sector, the SCA has paid out €1.235bn in total in the last seven years.

These details were revealed to Fianna Fail Finance Spokesman Michael McGrath by the Minister for Finance Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe following a written request for the specific details of the figures paid out by the State in compensation claims.

There were also significant increases in compensation claims against other sectors since 2010 including:

  • €23.6m in personal injury claims awarded against the Defence Forces.
  • €19m out by the Irish Prison Service
  • €11m paid out the Child and Family Agency TUSLA since it was established in 2013
  • €111m paid out by state authorities since 2010.

The main finding of the report was that, by far, that largest portion of compensation pay outs by the SCA in 2017 was taken up by the public medical sector.

Another significant point to note from compensation claims made against the state in 2017 were as follows:

  • €1.38m was last year paid out by the SCA on behalf of Comprehensive and Community Schools with €296,673 paid out by the Dept of Health.
  • €261,569 was paid out by the Deptartment of Justice while €574,632 was paid out on behalf of Day Schools.
  • €196,090 was paid out by Childrens’ Detention Schools.

Playground Accident at Bettystown Caravan Park Results in €975,000 Settlement

A man, now aged 20, who was paralysed from the waist down after falling off a small child’s playground swing in a Bettystown. The judge, referring to the incident as a ‘silly act’ has approved a €975,000 personal injury settlement in relation to the accident.

Liam Daly (20) sustained suffered thea serious spine injury on July 24, 2013. when he fell and landed heavily on his back. Liam fell from the playground swing, designed for toddlers and young children, in the caravan park in Bettystown where the family’s mobile home was located.

John Daly, father of Liam Daly, Nephin Road, Dublin 7, took the compensation claim for the playground accident against Lynch’s Caravan Park, Bettystown.

Bruce Antoniotti SC, legal counsel for Mr Daly, told the court that the Daly family had been holidaying at the caravan park for 10 years with no incident prior to the accident occurring. It was claimed that the cradle seat of the swing rotated to the most extreme arc position and Liam was thrown in the air. Mr Antoiniotti stated that there was not enough done to prevent teenagers form using the swings. The Lynch’s denied these claims as and did not argued that there was contributory negligence as the plaintiff got on a swing which was designed for younger  and smaller children.

He sat on the cradle of the swing in question but, as he swung, he fell back and sustained a very serious spinal injury. Counsel for Mr Daly said that the protective cover on the ground was not ‘state of the art’ but accepted that this was irrelevant as it would not have restricted the injuries suffered by him.

He (Liam) is now wheelchair bound. Despite his injuries Mr Daly has learned to drive a car and is looking for job.

In approving the playground accident compensation settlement Mr Justice Cross Mr Daly was just aged 15 at the time of the accident and the injuries he suffered were the result of a ‘silly act’.

Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries Lead to Death of Air Corps Members’ Children According to Whistleblower Allegations

A protected disclosure alleging that children of Air Corps workers lost their lives due to toxic chemical personal injury at Baldonnel Airfield has been made by a Defence Forces whistleblower.

Previously in 2017 a document was published to the public in which a worker employed by the Defence Forces claimed to have proof of the “the untimely deaths of at least 20 adults…of which I believe died of illness related to unprotected chemical exposure”.

Included in this dossier were evidence that the death of a newborn girl happened due to ventricular septal defect (heart defect), a five year old boy died while having surgery to address a ‘malrotated intestine’ and a girl aged 15 died after contracting Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of cancer and her father is suffering from leukaemia at present.

There have been claims made about the effects of chemical exposure on the wives of members of the defence forces. A mechanic, who previously worked with the Air Corps, noticed that a number of these women had experienced more than one miscarriages and in one particular case, a woman had eight consecutive miscarriages. An independent third party, former civil servant Christopher O’Toole, was appointed by the Minister for Defence in 2016, to investigate the allegations

Leader of Fianna Fáil Mr Micheál Martin said he believes a Commission of Investigation is now necessary. He stated “The situation is far from satisfactory because with his opening comments the report’s author is essentially saying he cannot fulfill the terms of reference. From the Government’s point of view they established this review, they must have known the terms of reference could not be fulfilled. It’s farcical.”

Although the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have advised that procedures into risk assessment need to be reviewed, a whistleblower has said that these steps are “too little, too late”,especially in the case of those who have lost family members or who have developed life-changing illnesses and injuries.

There have been allegations issued that these deaths are due to organizational failure on the part of the Defence Forces which meant that Air Corps personnel were exposed to toxic chemicals. The Defence Forces are now facing Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries compensation actions by some former employees. The Defence Forces have released a statement stating, “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

 

 

Mouth Injury Compensation of €30,000 for Garda Injured While at Work

A garda, Sean Kelly aged 31 who is due to be married next weekend, has been awarded €30,000 mouth injury compensation after he was assaulted while at work on January 7 2012.

Garda Kelly,  said that he is still sensitive about a scar on his upper lip and advised Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still paranoid about the star-shaped scar. Despite this he was still able to joke to the the judge that he may have to don some make-up when he gets married next Saturday.

The incident happened just under five years ago when he was on duty. Counsel for Garda Kelly, Barrister Fiona Gallagher, advised the High Court that he had been called to a house in Finglas regarding a man who, had just been released from a psychiatric institution where he had been treated. He was threatening to self harm. Garda Kelly was accompanied by two colleagues.

Garda Kelly stated that the individual, who had swallowed large amounts of non-prescriptive medication, had shut himself in his bathroom. From there he was threatening to jump from the bathroom window. When they tried to apprehend the man Garda Kelly was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder, which lacerated his lip, in the resulting melee.

Garda Kelly had to be taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to be treated immediately due to the major bleeding that followed. When he was treated, a piece of porcelain was found to be still stuck in his upper lip. X-rays showed he had not been inflicted with any major fractures.

After this he was given an anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, many of them on the inside of his mouth. Later, when the scar later became infected, he had to follow a course of antibiotics until the infection was cured. The scar on the outside of his lip was noticeable at close distance and he was still very paranoid about it.

Barrister Derek Ryan, Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure, advised the High Court that, due to the results of conflicting medical reports, he did not feel Garda Kelly had suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the degree that there should be an exceptional compensation award.

State Healthcare Employees Make Five Sexual Harassment Claims Against Patients

Five employees working in the State healthcare system filed sexual harassment claims over the last number of years, believing they were assaulted by patients, according to details in a recent media report.

The State Claims Agency has not published specific details about where the claimed abuse took place in these or any other separate cases.

The claims are in connection to incidents that took place between 2012 and 2016 and encompass almost half of all sexual harassment claims being managed by the State Claims Agency for the State.

Up until recently, the State Claims Agency had declined to release any further information on such claims.

There have been calls from political party Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency to release a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies. This comes after the original refusal by the State Claims Agency to release such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it manages for the State.

The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee made contact with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan during November to ask him to back a call for the data to be published. After this the State Claims Agency published a small amount of information on the number of such sexual harassment claims. However, it did not state where the claims originated from specifically.

In an official statement published it said that the State Claims Agency has managed 11 individual claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it stated was “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also stated that in six of the cases they’ve managed the claimed assailant and victim are both employees. In the other five cases they said the person allegedly responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare sector and the victim was a employee.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) stated “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical).”

 

Personal Injury Compensation of €1,000 Offered for Charleville Show Assault

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin judge issued a stark warning to a teenager accused of breaking another youth’s jaw in an assault that has resulted in an order to pay €1,000 personal injury compensation.

After no offer of compensation was made at the court heaing last week, Judge Ó Donnabháin advised the accused youth that he would want to “wakey wakey” in terms of compensation.

The youth returned to court yesterday and there was €1,000 offered by way of personal injury compensation according to Legal Counsel for the defendant, Dermot Sheehan. Subsequently the judge adjourned sentencing until November 20 with the accused remanded on bail.

The assault took place at Charleville Show on June 26, 2016 when one young man headbutted the victim to the left side of his jaw and walked away. He, (the defendant) then approached the victim and struck him with a closed fist on the same side of his face. As a result of this the victim suffered a serious injury to his jaw. In the treatment that followed he had to have two plates and splints inserted into his jaw and he also lost some teeth.

Mr Sheehan advised the Court that said the accused, who is not named as he is a juvenile, suffers from health issues. Having read the report produced Judge Ó Donnabháin commented that: “He has not got health issues, he has behavioural issues.”

At the original hearing last week, the judge believed that it was unreasonable for the accused to appear before Cork Circuit Criminal Court with no compensation offer prepared.

Cost of Compensation Claims taken Against the State Increase to €2.2bn

Following another busy year for personal injury claims the overall amount of money paid out in compensation claims against the State increased by almost a fifth to €2.2 billion by the end of 2016.

In a report released by the State Claims Agency at the end of September there is more evidence that the cost of the compensation claims taken against the State has continued to increase. The State Claims Agency is the body is responsible for managing legal cases brought against the State.

By the end of last year the approximate cost of outstanding compensation actions against the State had grown by €400m to €2.2 billion, an increase of 22 per cent, during the 12 months of 2016.

Notable Increases Shown in Stage Claims Agency Release

  • 8,900 legal compensation actions were classified as pending against the State at the end of 2016. This figure was just 6,000 in 2011.
  • A 24% increase, from the 2015 figures, in legal actions was experienced.
  • There were approximately 2,300 legal actions against the State during 2016..

Other reasons for the increase include a recent Supreme Court ruling. This ruling stated that compensation sums paid to anyone who successfully sues for damages should be higher as the returns on the cash they are due to receive have fallen. This resulted in increased amounts awarded in compensation.

The State Claims Agency, established in 2001 handles personal injury, clinical negligence and property damage claims taken against State bodies. It is part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

The NTMA is responsible for the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) and New Era, which oversees commercial State companies.

Compensation Settlement of €25,000 Aprroved Following Fall in Tayto Park

An injury compensation claim, resulting from a boy (8) falling from a playground tower at Tayto Park in 2012, has been settled for €25,000 in the High Court.

Now aged 13, Conor Bolger of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, sued Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, Co Meath trading as Tayto Park, through his father Brian Bolger due the the injuries he suffered in the incident on March 25, 2012. Conor had to undergo surgery to have pins inserted in his lower arm which he fractured near his elbow

Mr Bolger’s Legal team argued that the playground tower was overcrowded and Conor fell due to this. Additionally, they said, the area on the ground surrounding the tower, one of the main attractions in the park at the time of the incident, was not adequately covered by protective wood chips when the fall occurred. It was also alleged that there was not a sufficient system of constant inspections and safety checks implemented at Tayto Park at the time of the incident. Had this been in place it would have been seen that the protection was not adequate at prior to the fall.

He (Conor) fractured his left elbow as a result in the fall and had his elbow was in a cast for a month. Pins were inserted below his elbow during an operation.

David McGrath SC stated that Ashbourne Visitor Centre (Tayto Park) denied the claims and argued that Mr Bolger was climbing the playground tower when he simply “just fell”. Mr McGrath SC claimed that there was no inadequacy with the structure of the tower itself.  Despite this Counsel advised the High Court that the Bolger family were satisfied with proposed settlement of €25,000 for playground accident compensation.

High Court Justice Kevin Cross approved the proposed compensation settlement, commenting that the scar on Mr Bolger’s elbow was not “too upsetting” and that Conor, a basketball player, could have had his enjoyment of the sport damaged due to the injuries experienced.

Claim for a Hospital Fall Injury Heard in Court

A woman, who fractured her spine after falling out of bed, has successfully made a claim for a hospital fall injury at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court.

The woman – who lives in Finglas, Dublin – made her claim for a hospital fall injury following her accident at the Mater Hospital in April 2015. The woman had attended the hospital as a day patient for a routine gastroscopy procedure. However, as she was recovering from the procedure, she attempted to get out of bed and fell – suffering a fractured spine.

Her injury resulted in an extended stay at the Mater Hospital before being transferred to the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital in Clontarf for specialised treatment. She remained in Clontarf Hospital for three months before being removed by her daughter who was concerned about her wellbeing.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a claim for a hospital fall injury against the Mater Hospital; alleging she had been left alone to recover after the procedure, which – as she had previously been hospitalised following a fall at her home – was in contravention of the hospital´s own falls prevention policy.

Her claim went to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Judge James O´Donohoe. At the hearing, the judge was told the accident had a serious effect on the plaintiff´s quality of life. Rather than cope with most things by herself, as she had done prior to her accident, the woman now had to wear a lumbar brace and walks with the assistance of a Zimmer frame.

An expert witness on behalf of the plaintiff testified the hospital had failed in its duty of care to the plaintiff by failing to adhere to its falls prevention policy and a representative of the hospital explained how the accident happened. However, the hospital´s representative could not tell Judge O´Donohoe why the nurse who first attended the plaintiff after her fall had not been called to give evidence.

Commenting that the nurse´s absence “speaks volumes” the judge found in the plaintiff´s favour and awarded her €58,500 compensation in settlement of her claim for a hospital fall injury. The judge granted a request to place a stay on the award pending a possible appeal, but ordered that €30,000 of the compensation settlement was paid immediately.

Woman Awarded Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

A woman has been awarded more than €234,000 compensation for dog bite injuries she sustained in a terrifying attack by two powerful boxer dogs.

The unnamed woman was enjoying an evening walk along a rural lane when the attack happened. Two boxer dogs, who had been standing in the driveway of their owner´s home, started to approach her. The woman told them to go home, but they jumped up at her, knocked her to the ground, and started attacking her.

The woman´s first thoughts were to protect her face by covering it with her arms, but the dogs managed to get through her defences – biting her face, head, forearms and body, and causing multiple puncture wounds and lacerations that have now developed into visible and permanent scars.

The attack was stopped by a passing lady motorist, who sounded the horn of her car and frightened the dogs away. The boxer dogs have since been destroyed and their owners admitted liability when the woman made a claim for compensation for dog bite injuries. In order to settle the claim, the case went to the High Court for an assessment of damages.

At the assessment hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the details of the attack. The judge also heard evidence from medical experts who attested to her physical and emotional injuries. When the woman gave her evidence, she told the judge who she had been devastated by the change in her appearance and how her young children had been frightened to get close to her.

Judge Barr was shown photographs of the woman taken shortly before and after the attack, and he accepted she had undergone a profound change in her appearance, personality and mental state as a result. The judge also acknowledge she had suffered a moderate level of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Awarding the woman €234,557 compensation for dog bite injuries, the judge said he was confident she had had not exaggerated the injuries she had sustained nor embellished the details of the terrifying attack.

Man Sentenced for Historic Child Abuse

A man from County Clare has been given a suspended prison sentence of fifteen months for the historic child abuse of a fourteen-year-old boy in 1976.

The incident occurred in June 1976 at a campsite outside of Cheekpoint – a small village on the River Suir, approximately twelve kilometres outside of Waterford. The victim was one of a small group of teenage boys that had arrived in Waterford earlier in the day and been taken to the campsite by their scout leader.

Later that evening, the scout leader – who cannot be named as it would identify the victim – beckoned to the fourteen-year-old boy to come closer to his tent and, as the boy approached, he was pulled inside of the tent. The scout leader then started tickling him and touching him inappropriately. The boy did not report the historic child abuse until 2013.

When questioned by the gardaí, the former scout leader – who is now 73 years of age and lives in County Clare – admitted that he might have touched the boy inappropriately and was charged with historic child abuse. He subsequently resigned from UCC´s Board of Management and was placed on the sexual offenders list. He also paid his victim more than €7,500 compensation.

At the sentencing hearing at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Eugene O´Kelly heard the offender describe the event as “an isolated incident from many years ago” for which he was extremely sorry. The judge was also told the former scout leader had no former convictions and – due to being placed on the sexual offenders list – no longer has access to his grandchildren.

The court was also read a victim impact statement in which it was claimed the victim – now 54 years of age – had suffered nightmares as a result of the historic child abuse and, later in life, had drunk heavily – causing his business to suffer as a result. The victim´s legal representative told the court he has been taking anti-depressants for the past twenty-eight years.

Judge O´Kelly initially sentenced the former scout leader to twenty months in prison – reducing the sentence to fifteen months and suspending it for three years due to a “significant element of remorse” and the fact that the historic child abuse took place more than forty years ago.

Advice about Compensation for Noise Induced Hearing Loss

A settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss should take into account the consequences of the injury on your quality of life.

If you have suffered damage to your hearing due to an employer´s failure to provide a safe environment for you to work in, you will be eligible to claim compensation for noise induced hearing loss. The usual process for this is to apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim and support your application with a report from your doctor explaining the extent of your injury.

It is also important you communicate the consequences of your injury as well. The Injuries Board can only assess your application based on the information provided. If you fail to mention your quality of life has deteriorated and you have less self-confidence than previously because of your injury, the Injuries Board will be unaware of these factors and not account for them in the assessment of your claim.

The consequences of your injury will have to be supported with documentary evidence wherever possible for the consequences of your injury to be considered in the assessment of compensation for noise induced hearing loss. In many cases this can be difficult, and is why you should seek legal advice from an injury solicitor with experience of submitting applications for assessment to the Injuries Board.

In order to get a full understanding of how your noise induced hearing loss has affected your quality of life, your solicitor will ask you to keep a diary and record the times when your loss of hearing has made a noticeable difference to your quality of life. This may be when you find it hard to watch a film on TV, follow a conversation in a pub, or enjoy an outing with your family.

Your solicitor will help you complete the application to the Injuries Board to ensure these factors are included in their assessment, and to ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss. If you are unable to speak over the phone with a solicitor because of the extent of your injury, you can have somebody call on your behalf or arrange a home visit.

Jogger Awarded Compensation for a Trip and Fall Injury on Council Land

A jogger has been awarded €60,000 compensation for a trip and fall injury on council land after the council attempted to argue that the claim was fraudulent.

On September 18th, 2011, the male jogger tripped on a hole in the surface of a footpath in the Clondalkin caravan site in Dublin. When he fell, he fractured a knuckle on his right hand which he subsequently had to undergo surgery for and has since been left with a scar.

As the caravan site is owned and managed by South Dublin County Council, the jogger claimed compensation for a trip and fall injury on council land. The council disputed liability and argued the man – who was a keen boxer – had injured his knuckle in a fight.

Due to the dispute over liability, the case went to the High Court where it was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr. During the hearing, it was disclosed that the man had been involved in a car accident the previous day in which he had suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck and back.

The council used this information to express doubts that the man would have gone jogging the day after an accident, and repeated its argument that the injury had been sustained in a boxing match. However, judge Barr accepted the evidence of a medical witness, who testified that the man was just trying to run off his soft tissue injury.

The judge concluded this was a “credible explanation” for why the man had been jogging on the morning after a car accident, and awarded him €55,000 compensation for a trip and fall injury on council land – increasing the award by €5,000 to account for the aggressive manner in which the council had pursued their argument the claim was fraudulent.

Judge Barr said in his closing remarks that the evidence suggested the plaintiff was injured in the manner in which he had claimed. He added there was no evidence to suggest the jogger was making a fraudulent claim, and he was entitled to the additional compensation for the upset caused to him by the nature of the unsuccessful defence put forward by South Dublin County Council.

Claims for Car Accident Injuries Settled in Court

Two claims for car accident injuries compensation – made by plaintiffs injured in the same accident – have been settled for a combined total of €37,500.

The two injured plaintiffs were travelling in the same car from Dublin to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition in November 2013. While driving along the M1 at a speed of 80-90kmph, the sun roof of the car they were travelling in blew off. Alarmed at the sudden noise and the rush of air entering the car, the driver – one of the two injured plaintiffs – braked hard.

The rapid deceleration of the vehicle caused the two plaintiffs and three other family members travelling in the car, to suffer whiplash-type injuries. Two children strapped into child seats were unharmed. The second plaintiff – the driver´s 72-year-old mother – suffered the worse injuries of all, including a compression fracture to one of the vertebrae in her lower back.

The injured members of the family made claims for car accident injuries against the showroom from which the car had been purchased just four months earlier. It was alleged in the claims for car accident injuries that the sun roof had been faulty and the fault should have been identified by the dealer – Denis Mahony Limited of Kilbarrack Road in Dublin.

Mahony´s denied liability for the faulty sun roof and the plaintiffs´ injuries, but – at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin – Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that corrosion found around the remaining frame of the sun roof would have been present on the Toyota at the time it was sold. According to the testimony of an independent motor assessor, the corrosion led to the sun roof blowing off.

Judge Groarke said he accepted that the sun roof flying off at 90kmph would have been a terrifying experience and understood why the driver plaintiff had applied the brakes so sharply. He awarded the driver of the car €12,500 compensation and her mother €25,000 compensation in settlement of their claims for car accident injuries.

Toxic Chemical Exposure Claims at Casement Airbase

The Journal published an article about toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase and the effects chemicals had on servicemen and their families.

According to the article, a former Air Corps mechanic has made toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase to highlight a lack of health and safety procedures. The “whistle-blower” has alleged that servicemen, their partners and their children have suffered illnesses and development issues – and in some cases death – due to exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals.

The claims were made under a protected disclosure agreement in an address to Ministers, TDs, senators and a Defence Forces representative. They were supported by documentation claiming twenty former servicemen may have died due to the exposure to toxic chemicals. Five children born with cancer-related conditions or birth defects are also claimed to have died due to their parents´ exposure.

The former Air Corps mechanic told the assembly: “I have come across several personnel whose wives have had multiple miscarriages both in serving and in retired personnel. In one case, a retired member’s wife had eight miscarriages in succession. I am also aware of three personnel who shared in an office in Casement´s engineering wing whose wives all had a miscarriage in the same six-month timeframe.”

The latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase are in addition to six personal injury claims already being made against the Defence Forces by former air corps servicemen. In their claims the former servicemen claim they were exposed to high levels of the restricted substance dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks.

The Defence Forces have also been threatened with prosecution by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) who last year conducted an inspection of the working conditions at Casement Airbase. Among a series of faults at the airbase, inspectors found a failure to conduct risk assessments or provide personal protective equipment to personnel working with hazardous substances.

When asked to comment on the latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase, a spokesperson for the Department of Defence told the Journal an independent investigator was reviewing the claims and there would be no comment until the final report was received and studied. A spokesperson for the Defence Forces told the Journal: “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Judge Reluctant to Approve Compensation for an Eyebrow Injury

A judge has said he is reluctant to approve a settlement of compensation for an eyebrow injury until the impact of the injury in later life is known.

The proposed settlement of compensation for an eyebrow injury was in a relation to a claim made on behalf of a four-year-old girl, who was injured in an accident while travelling with her mother on a Dublin bus in 2015.

The accident occurred when the bus driver braked suddenly to avoid an unmarked garda car that had pulled out into a bus lane. Although strapped into her buggy, the girl – who was twenty-two months old at the time – hit her head on an upright support of the bus.

Following the accident, the girl was taken to Temple Street Children´s Hospital, where a cut on the girl´s forehead was cleaned and sealed with seristrips. Although a barely visible scar remains, it is possible that the girl´s eyebrow hair will not develop normally as she gets older.

A claim for compensation for an eyebrow injury was made by the girl´s mother on her daughter´s behalf. Dublin Bus and the Garda Commissioner accepted liability for the injury, and a settlement of compensation amounting to €10,000 was offered to the family.

As the claim for compensation for an eyebrow injury had been made on behalf of a minor, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge before it could be finalised. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court last week, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident and the consequences of the injury.

Judge Groarke inspected the young girl´s eyebrow and said he could still see a visible scar. He commented that, as it was difficult to tell if the girl had made a complete recovery, he was reluctant to approve the settlement at this stage. He adjourned the approval hearing for six weeks in order that a medical report could be prepared on how the injury may interfere with the growth of the girl´s eyebrow hair in the future.

Sanofi Acknowledges Valproate Birth Defect Claims

The drug manufacturer Sanofi has issued a statement acknowledging the valproate birth defect claims being made against the company in a French class action.

The drug responsible for prompting the valproate birth defects claims is Depakine – an anti-epilepsy drug that has been available in Ireland since 1983 under the trade name Epilim. Epilim contains an active ingredient – sodium valproate – that stabilises electrical activity in the brain and has therefore also been prescribed for bipolar disorder, migraine and other chronic pain conditions.

When taken by pregnant mothers, the risk exists that the sodium valproate will be absorbed as valproic acid in the bloodstream and affect the health of their unborn child. In Ireland, children born after being exposed to valproic acid can suffer from spina bifida, autism and a range of congenital and development issues under the umbrella term “foetal valproate syndrome”.

The risks were first identified in France in the 1980s – where Depakine had been prescribed since 1967 – but no formal announcement was made to the medical profession by Sanofi until 2006. Even then, few medical professionals were aware of the side effects until France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – investigated valproate birth defect claims in the Rhone-Alpes region last year.

IGAS´ research revealed that around 450 babies in the region had been born with congenital defects between 2006 and 2014 after being exposed to valproic acid. The report called for a warning to be printed on the outside of each box of Epilim advising pregnant women not to take the drug, and also promoted a much deeper study of the risks by France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM).

The results of that study were recently released following an investigation into the health of 8,701 children, born to women known to have taken Depakine while pregnant between 2007 and 2014. The results revealed that up to 4,100 children had been born with “severe malformations” and many hundreds more had died in the womb or been delivered stillborn.

Following the release of the study, Sanofi issued a statement in which the company said: “We are aware of the painful situation confronting the families of children showing difficulties that may have a link with the anti-epileptic treatment of their mother during pregnancy.” However, the statement has not satisfied parents of the children affected by the side effects of Epilim, and they have started a class action of valproate birth defect claims to recover compensation for their children.

In Ireland, Epilim is still sold without a warning in large type on the front of the packet, and it is not known how many children have been born with birth defects due to being exposed to valproic acid. If a member of your family has been affected by this tragic situation, and you would like to know more about valproate birth defect claims, you should speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Judge Approves Settlement of Spanish Holiday Injury Claim

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved the settlement of a Spanish holiday injury claim after being told there may be a doubt over liability.

The Spanish holiday injury claim resulted from an accident in the swimming pool of the Sol Principe Hotel in Torremolinos in which an eight-year-old girl was injured. The girl had been swimming in the pool when another holidaymaker dived in. Unfortunately the holidaymaker landed on top of the girl and pushed her to the bottom of the pool, where she cut her chin on the tiles.

The girl´s father took her to a local medical centre, where the injury was treated. On the family´s return to Ireland, the girl´s father sought legal advice and – on his daughter´s behalf – made a Spanish holiday injury claim against the owners of the Sol Principe Hotel and the Irish travel agent through whom the family holiday had been booked.

In the Spanish holiday injury claim, it was alleged there had been a failure by the hotel to take adequate safety precautions while guests were using the pool. It was claimed that the accident could have been prevented with adequate supervision and, that as a result of the accident, the girl had suffered pain and discomfort and experienced a disturbance of her social and recreational life.

The allegations were denied by the defendants and a full defence entered against the Spanish holiday injury claim. An offer of compensation based on what the family would receive if the claim was successfully heard in Spain was declined, and a second offer of settlement was forthcoming – the offer of €12,500 being accepted by the family on advisement of their solicitor.

As the Spanish holiday injury claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to be approved by a judge. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, the circumstances of the accident and details of the offer were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. After hearing that the girl had a 1cm scar on her chin as a result of the accident, but liability may be in doubt if the case went to a full hearing, Judge Groarke said he was happy to approve the settlement in the circumstances.

Woman Awarded €25,000 in Settlement of Taxi Passenger Accident Claim

A violinist who claims she is unable to practise because of a shoulder injury has been awarded €25,000 in settlement of her taxi passenger accident claim.

The thirty-three year old woman made her taxi passenger accident claim following a rear-end accident on 8th March 2012 on Wexford Street in Dublin. She claimed that, despite the impact between the two vehicles not being particularly significant, she had suffered a soft tissue injury to her right shoulder that prevented her from practising the violin without pain.

The woman was prescribed painkillers by her GP after seeking medical attention the following day, but claims the medication has not resolved her injury. She applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her taxi passenger accident claim and, although the negligent driver admitted liability for her injury, the woman rejected the proposed settlement.

An authorisation was issued by the Injuries Board in order that the woman could pursue her taxi passenger claim in court. The hearing for the assessment of damages took place earlier this week before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, who was told that the woman was an accomplished musician who had successfully auditioned for Sweden´s International Chamber Music Festival.

Judge Groarke noted that the evidence in the case suggested that the woman´s soft tissue injuries would have healed soon after the accident as they were “not very serious”, however he also acknowledged that this was an exceptional case as the woman needed a perfect shoulder on which to rest her violin and practise.

Judge Groarke dismissed claims made by the insurance company representing the defendant that her injury was unrelated to the accident and, although admitting that the medical evidence in the case was “conflicting”, he awarded the woman €25,000 in settlement of her taxi accident compensation claim.

Claim for an Accident in a Sewerage Plant Resolved at Court

A claim for an accident in a sewerage plant, that left an employee with an ongoing back issue, has been resolved at the High Court.

The plaintiff – a former employee of the decommissioned Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary – was working at the plant on 3rd February 2010, when he slipped on sewerage waste that had overflowed from the inlet channels onto the path.

As a result of his slip and fall accident, the plaintiff sustained a back injury and, for several weeks, experienced headaches. Due to the ongoing back issue, he was unable to return to his maintenance job that mostly consisted of cleaning the flume surrounds.

The plaintiff applied to the Injuries Board for assessment of his claim for an accident in a sewerage plant, but consent to conduct the assessment was denied by his employers – Templemore Town Council. The Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the plaintiff to pursue his claim through the court system.

The claim was heard this week at the High Court, where Mr Justice Raymond Fullam was told that the council had allegedly failed to provide the plaintiff with a safe system of work and the appropriate tools to carry out his duties.

In its defence, Templemore Town Council argued that, as cleaning the pathways was one of plaintiff´s duties, he should have dealt with the situation before it became a hazard. The council also argued that, if the plaintiff needed further tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them.

Judge Fullam agreed that the hard standings of the flume were in a bad state on the day of the accident, and said that the total value of the plaintiff´s claim was €79,000. However, the judge attributed the plaintiff with 40% contributory negligence to the cause of his accident and subsequently decreased the settlement of the claim for an accident in a sewerage plant to €47,400.

Claim for a Creche Trip and Fall Injury Settled by Negotiation

A woman´s claim for a creche trip and fall injury has been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount during a hearing to determine liability.

In January 2015, the twenty-six year old childcare worker was employed by the Precious Minds creche in Lucan, Dublin, when she was asked by a senior member of staff to help her change nappies in the babies room. The woman was looking after a group of one and two year old children at the time, but she complied with the request, taking the children who were awake with her.

The woman´s colleague left the babies room shortly after to attend to other matters – leaving the young childcare worker alone with nine children. While she was helping one of the children, the woman tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor injured her back as she fell to the floor. She was subsequently diagnosed with a soft tissue injury, from which she still suffers.

The woman made a claim for a creche trip and fall injury to the Injuries Board. However, Precious Minds withheld their consent for the assessment to be conducted on the grounds that the childcare worker was responsible for ensuring the floor was free of hazards that could harm the children, and had therefore contributed to the cause of her accident by her own lack of care.

The Injuries Board issued the woman with an authorisation so that she could pursue her claim for a trip and fall injury through the courts. The hearing took place last week before Judge Brian O´Callaghan, who was told by counsel for the creche that the plaintiff was the author of her own misfortune. However, a forensic engineer testified on behalf of the plaintiff that the creche had created an unduly stressful situation by leaving the woman with nine children to care for.

Following a brief adjournment, Judge O´Callaghan was informed that the claim for a creche trip and fall injury had been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount and without an admission of liability. The judge commented that it was good that the two parties had reached an agreement, and he awarded the woman her legal costs before striking her claim.

Judge Awards Employee Compensation for a Fall at Heuston Station

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded a former restaurant employee compensation for a fall at Heuston Station caused by a slip on pigeon droppings.

On May 15th, 2013, the twenty-five year old former employee was serving customers and clearing tables at the Heuston Refreshment Rooms, when she slipped on pigeon droppings and fell. Due to the way in which her right leg wen from under her, and the way she fell sideways onto her knees and lower back, the woman suffered significant soft tissue injuries to her knees, ankles and lower back.

After receiving medical attention, the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a fall at Heuston Station. The two parties she considered liable for her injuries – Heuston Refreshment Rooms and Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE) – declined to give their consent for the assessment to proceed, and an authorisation was issued to pursue her claim in court.

The claim was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing Judge Groarke was told that the plaintiff´s duties were often interrupted by the need to shoo pigeons away from customers and their food. It was alleged that groups of pigeons visited the restaurant six to seven times each day and that the woman´s employers were aware of the problem.

In its evidence, the restaurant said it was aware the pigeons and their droppings created a hazard, and that it had complained to CIE on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, the measures implemented to deter the pigeons from entering the station – including spikes, humane traps and a hawk on a pole with which the pigeons had become acquainted – had failed to be effective.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Groarke found in the plaintiff´s favour. He said that her accident had been completely foreseeable and completely preventable, and he awarded her €22,500 compensation for a fall at Heuston Station in settlement of her claim, plus a further €2,148 to account for her special damages. The judge added that, although he was finding against both defendants, he would make an order in favour of the restaurant against CIE.

Judge Awards Compensation for an Employee Head Injury in Dunnes Stores

A woman has been awarded €15,000 compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores after the judge commented she was not that badly hurt.

The woman – now a former employee – was asked to go into the stockroom of the Dunnes Store in Tallaght Dublin in March 2012 and told to bring a trolley loaded with bread back into the store. As she starting pushing the two-metre high trolley out of the stockroom, the top tray fell from the trolley and hit the woman on her head.

After being administered first aid by a colleague, the woman attended the emergency department at Tallaght Hospital. No serious injury was detected but, as a precaution, she was admitted overnight for observation. The woman claims that she still suffers headaches and neck pain as a result of her “significant injury”.

When the woman claimed compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores, the company admitted liability for her injury, but contested how much compensation she was claiming. Unable to reach a negotiated settlement, a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court was scheduled for the assessment of damages only.

The scheduled hearing took place last week, when Judge Terence O´Sullivan was told that the former employee now has a job as a hairdresser. The circumstances of the accident were related to the judge, and counsel representing Dunnes Stores argued that the former employee´s neck pain was attributable to her hairdressing job and not the 2012 accident.

Judge O´Sullivan noted the woman had not attended her doctor for three years or made any effort to seek physiotherapy, commenting it was the opinion of the court that she was not that badly hurt. If, the judge said, she had indeed suffered a “significant injury”, she had not done that good a job of looking after herself.

The judge awarded the woman €15,000 compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores and gave Dunnes Stores leave to consider appealing the award provided they pay their former employee €10,000 of the award immediately.

Claim for an Injury in a Train Station Accident Resolved at Court

A claim for an injury in a train station accident has been resolved at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court in which the passenger was found 50% at fault.

The claim for an injury in a train station accident was made following the events of 2nd August 2012, when the plaintiff – a fisherman from Dun Laoghaire in County Dublin – mistakenly alighted from an Irish Rail commuter train at Tara Street instead of his intended destination of Connolly Street.

On realising his mistake, the plaintiff tried to re-board the train, but slipped and fell through the gap between the platform and the train. Although he was able to extricate himself and continue his journey, an x-ray taken the following day revealed that he had fractured his right shoulder in three places.

The plaintiff applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his claim for an injury in a train station accident, but Irish Rail denied its consent for the assessment to be done. The Injuries Board subsequently issued the plaintiff with an authorisation to pursue his claim through court action.

The claim for an injury in a train station accident was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court last week. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that, despite there being “probably more cameras at Tara Street Station than there are at Pinewood Studios,” the accident had not been captured by CCTV.

The judge heard that Irish Rail was contesting the claim for an injury in a train station accident because they felt the plaintiff was the architect of his misfortune by failing to look where he was going, although this argument was countered by the plaintiff´s counsel, who contested that Irish Rail had an obligation to provide safe transit and that obligation had not been met.

After hearing there had been eleven previous incidents of passengers falling between a platform and a train in the past five years, Judge Groarke commented that Irish Rail had an “absolute requirement” to warn passengers to mind the gap. The judge found in the plaintiff´s favour – although attributing him 50% contributory negligence – and awarded him €25,000 compensation in settlement of his claim for an injury in a train station accident.

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.