Category: Personal Injury Claims

There are many different reasons why personal injury claim in Ireland are made. Avoidable accidents on the roads, at work and in places of public access can result in serious injury which prevents the victim from working, completing day-to-day activities and enjoying leisure and social pursuits. In order for personal injury claims in Ireland to be successful, it also has to be shown that somebody who owed you a duty of care failed in their responsibility for your health and safety, and that you sustained an injury as a direct result. In order to establish whether you are entitled to make personal injury claims in Ireland, you are invited to call our freephone Solicitors Advisory Panel and speak directly with an experienced Irish solicitor to discuss the circumstance of your accident.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum Soon to be Released

A revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum is due to be released in the next few weeks, with more detail included to assist the accurate assessment of claims.

The Injuries Board Book of Quantum – the guide to compensation for physical personal injuries in Ireland – was originally published in June 2004. Intended to assist with the assessment of personal injury claims in which negligence had been admitted, the Injuries Board Book of Quantum lists a range of injuries and assigns them a financial value according to their severity and permanence.

The guide is not solely used by the Injuries Board. Solicitors negotiate settlements based on the values listed in the Injuries Board Book of Quantum and courts use the guide as a means of determining compensation awards. However, in recent years the guide has been criticised by judges for falling behind the times. Judges have often compensated for the age of the Injuries Board Book of Quantum by increasing awards of personal injury compensation – for which they themselves have been criticised.

Economic factors – such as low interest rates – have not helped matters, especially in the settlement of catastrophic injury claims. Whereas previously, judges would factor in an interest rate of 3%-4% when awarding lump sum payments, most recently they has awarded higher amounts of compensation due to the lack of interest claimants will receive if the funds are deposited in an interest-yielding account.

Now, after months of discussion between the Injuries Board, the Courts Service and senior judges, a revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum is due to be released in the next few weeks. Those who have seen the work in progress say that the values for relatively minor injuries are being increased in line with the increased cost of living, while some reductions are being made in the values for more serious injuries. The values have been apparently calculated based on injury compensation awards in 52,000 cases between 2013 and 2014.

How the revised Injuries Board Book of Quantum will be received is not yet known. Insurance companies – struggling after years of reduced returns from their investments – will likely be dissatisfied with any increase in the value of personal injury claims. Judges might also be unhappy with awarding lump sum compensation awards that fail to ensure the financial security of a plaintiff who has suffered a catastrophic injury.

One thing that all parties should consider is that the Injuries Board Book of Quantum only addresses the personal injuries a plaintiff has suffered. Any verifiable psychological injury or any verifiable deterioration in the plaintiff´s quality of life should also be considered in the settlement of a personal injury claim in Ireland. Because of the likelihood of defendants and their insurance companies relying solely on the Injuries Board Book of Quantum to calculate their financial liabilities, it is advisable to speak with a personal injury solicitor if you have been injured in an accident in Ireland for which you were not to blame.

Judge Awards Bicycle Courier Injury Compensation at High Court Hearing

A judge at the High Court has awarded bicycle courier injury compensation after dismissing claims that the plaintiff had contributed to causing the accident.

In March 2015, Rotimi Omotayo was cycling along Custom House Quay in Dublin when he was knocked from his bike by a taxi driven by Kenneth Griffin that had pulled out from a line of queuing traffic without indicating.

Fortunately, Rotimi did not suffer any serious injuries, but when he applied to the Injuries Board for bicycle courier injury compensation, consent for the Injuries Board to conduct the assessment was denied due to alleged contributory negligence.

Rotimi was issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim for bicycle courier injury compensation in court. Because of the potential value of the claim, the case was assigned to the High Court, where it was heard recently by Mr Justice Bernard Barton.

At the hearing, Judge Barton heard witnesses from both parties testify how the accident had occurred – the important issue being whether Rotimi had been in breach of Regulation 26 of the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 by cycling in the hatched area.

After hearing that Rotimi had been cycling between carriageways as he was about to turn right to deliver a package on the river side of the Quay, the judge ruled that he had every entitlement to cycle in the outside lane before turning right.

Judge Barton dismissed the claim of contributory negligence and assigned full liability to the taxi driver – saying that Rotimi had the right of way and was sufficiently close to Kenneth Griffin to give the taxi driver a duty of care. Consequently the taxi driver had to accept full liability for the accident.

In relation to the settlement of bicycle courier injury compensation, Judge Barton applied the principals of Tort law to award Rotimi €30,000 bicycle courier injury compensation saying that the Book of Quantum was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.

With regard to Rotimi´s claim for special damages, the judge commented there was insufficient evidence to support Rotimi´s alleged loss of earnings, but he allowed Rotimi´s “properly vouched and agreed” special damages – including his legal costs.

Woman Awarded Compensation for being Hit by a Wing Mirror While Jogging

A woman has been awarded €134,000 injury compensation for being hit by a wing mirror of a van while she was out jogging in Mullingar with a friend.

Donna Woods and her friend were jogging along the Ballynacarragy to Mullingar road in January 2013, when Donna was hit by the wing mirror of a passing van. Donna suffered a fractured wrist in the accident, and also injuries to her right hand, elbow, shoulder and jaw.

Donna applied for an Injuries Board assessment of her claim for compensation for being hit by a wing mirror, but the driver of the van – Joseph Tyrell – refused to give his consent, and Donna was given an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

Due to the potential value of the claim, the hearing was held at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that Donna – a forty-seven year old teacher from Mullingar in County Westmeath – had previously been a “very active lady”.

The judge also heard that on 22nd January 2013, Donna and her friend were jogging in the opposite direction to the traffic. A tractor and trailer had just passed them on the far side of the road, and they had seen Tyrell pull over onto the grass verge to give the tractor a wide berth.

The two women continued running, as they believed that Tyrell would drive back onto the road once the tractor had passed. However, Tyrell continued to drive along the grass verge – catching Donna with the wing mirror of his van and causing her injuries.

Defending the claim for compensation for being hit by a wing mirror, Tyrell argued that Donna has been at least partly responsible for her injuries by her and her friend running along the road two abreast and for failing to wear high visibility clothing.

Tyrell´s defence was dismissed by Judge Cross. The judge said that, had Tyrell rejoined the road once the tractor had passed, there would have been sufficient room for him to pass Donna safely. The judge also found that Donna had been wearing bright-coloured clothing on the morning of the accident.

The judge awarded Donna €134,000 compensation for being hit by a wing mirror, stating that Donna had suffered quite significant injuries that would prevent her from competing in physically demanding sports activities for a long time.

Court Awards Compensation for Defamation on Facebook

A Monaghan court has awarded the National Director of the National Association of Regional Game Councils €75,000 compensation for defamation on Facebook.

On or around 22nd December 2015, John Gilsenan from Castleblayney in County Monaghan posted defamatory comments about Desmond Crofton –  the National Director of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) – on his Facebook page, suggesting that the actions of the National Director had caused the NARGC to “go broke”.

The defamatory comments were seen by other NARGC members, who raised questions about the leadership of the National Director, the organisation´s finances and its legal costs. The questions resulted in an unnecessary confrontation, with the outcome that Crofton was suspended from his position of National Director on full pay.

After seeking legal advice, Crofton – from Stonestown in County Offaly – made a claim for compensation for defamation on Facebook against Gilsenan. According to Crofton´s solicitor, Gilsenan had engaged in communication with his client soon after the claim was made, but had since “abandoned the matter”.

With the claim for compensation for defamation on Facebook remaining uncontested, the case went to the Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court, where it was heard by Judge John O´Hagan for the assessment of damages only. After hearing of the personal injury Crofton had suffered because of the defamatory comments, Judge O´Hagan awarded him €75,000 compensation for defamation on Facebook.

In his summing up, Judge O´Hara said he was awarding Crofton the maximum award of compensation for defamation on Facebook to “teach people posting messages on the social media site to be very careful”.

Injured Rider Settles Compensation Claim for a Fall from a Pony

A dentist, who was injured in an accident on a pony trek, has settled her compensation claim for a fall from a pony during a hearing to establish liability.

Thirty-five year old mother-of-two Maria Gray – a dentist from Belfast – was among a group of friends celebrating a hen weekend in Galway when she joined her friends on a pony trek at Feeney’s Riding School in Thonabrocky. The trek started with a gentle trot through the countryside but, when the party started descending a steep incline, the legs of Maria´s pony buckled and Maria fell from the saddle.

Due to falling on hard tarmac, Maria sustained a deep cut on her chin and a wrist injury. The cut was cleaned and stitches were applied at hospital, but Maria now has a permanent scar that is visible to her patients. Maria had to undergo eight weeks of physiotherapy on her wrist injury – during which time she wore a splint on her arm and was unable to work.

Maria made a compensation claim for a fall from a pony against the owners of the riding school – Gerard and Siobhan Feeney. In her claim, Maria alleged that the pony was unsuitable for her 5 foot 8½ inches frame, that it was exhausted and hungry from participating in an earlier trek, and that the riding school had not given her adequate instruction before letting her ride the pony.

The Feeney´s denied the allegations and argued that – as well as having been given adequate instruction – Maria had been offered a larger pony to ride, but had declined the opportunity. Without the riding school´s consent to carry out an assessment, the Injuries Board issued Maria with an authorisation to pursue her compensation claim for a fall from a pony through the courts.

The hearing to establish liability opened at the High Court last week. Maria told Mr Justice Raymond Fullam that it had been a very hot day and, due to her pony having already been out on a trek earlier, it was hungry and tired. However, before the second day of the hearing, the Judge Fullam was told that the parties had negotiated a settlement of the compensation claim for a fall from a pony and the case could be struck.

Woman Awarded Compensation for a Slip and Fall in a Dublin Bar

A woman from County Offaly has been awarded €90,000 compensation for a slip and fall in a Dublin bar after a hearing into her claim at the High Court.

Sharon Kelly was a guest at a thirtieth birthday party being hosted at the Arc Café Bar on Fonthill Road, Dublin, on 28th May 2011 when – at around 1:00am in the morning – she left the rest of the party to visit the toilets.

As she walked across the wooden floor of the bar´s lobby, Sharon slipped on some liquid on the floor and fell – dislocating her thumb as she landed. As a result of her slip and fall accident, Sharon was in pain for several months and has lost some feeling in the top of her thumb.

Sharon claimed compensation for a slip and fall in a Dublin bar, but the bar´s owners – Lackabeg Limited – denied liability for her injuries on the grounds that the bar had a comprehensive cleaning system in place.

As consent to assess the claim for compensation for a slip and fall in a Dublin bar was denied, the Injuries Board issued Sharon with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court. The hearing was heard late last week by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

At the hearing, the bar´s legal representatives argued that Sharon had been drinking for five hours before slipping and falling, and that she was wearing four-inch heels at the time of her accident.

However, after reviewing CCTV footage of Sharon´s accident and hearing from two witnesses that the toilets had been in poor condition that evening, Judge Barr found in Sharon´s favour.

Saying that he was convinced that there had been liquid on the floor of the bar´s lobby and that “people cannot be expected to look at the floor when walking across a bar”, the judge awarded Sharon €90,000 compensation for a slip and fall in a Dublin bar.

Claim for Brain Damage in a Lorry Accident Resolved in Court

A claim for brain damage in a lorry accident has been resolved at the High Court with the approval of a €750,000 injury compensation settlement.

Twenty-five year old Francis Smith was driving on the outskirts of Edgeworthstown in County Longford when, on January 27, 2009, he crashed into the back of a stationary council lorry while trying to avoid a collision with a car heading towards him.

The lorry had been parked close to where Longford County Council was carrying out repairs to the road, and Francis was unlikely to have seen it as he came around the bend immediately preceding the roadworks.

Although neither of Francis´ two passengers were injured in the crash, Francis suffered brain damage. He now has physical and cognitive difficulties that prevent him from leading an independent life. He has also had to give up the job he had in a local factory.

Francis´ mother – Martina Dempsey – made a compensation claim for brain damage in a lorry accident on behalf of her son – alleging in her legal action that Longford County Council had been negligent by failing to provide warning signs ahead of the roadworks.

It was also claimed that the lorry into which Francis crashed was parked too far out into the carriageway, creating a hazard for motorists coming off of the bend.

Longford County Council denied its liability for Francis´ brain damage. The council argued that Francis had contributed to the cause of the accident, and therefore his injury, by driving around the bend at an excessive speed.

Eventually the two parties agreed on a €750,000 settlement of the claim for brain damage in a lorry accident; but, as the claim had been made on behalf of a plaintiff unable to represent himself, the settlement had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently, the circumstances leading up to Francis´ accident and the impact it has had on his quality of life were related to Mr Justice Kevin Cross earlier this week at the High Court. The judge approved the settlement – noting that it represented 25% of the full value of the claim for brain damage in a lorry accident.

Claim for being Trapped in a Shop Changing Room Resolved with Approval of Settlement

Two girls´ claim for being trapped in a shop changing room while a mock armed robbery was taking place has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court.

In March 2013, the two girls – Abbie and Casie Kennedy from Lucan in County Dublin – had been shopping with their mother at the H&M shop in the Dundrum Shopping Centre, and were in one of the shop´s changing rooms, when they heard someone shouting at the staff to open the till and get down on the floor.

Unaware that what they could hear was part of a training exercise, the three remained trapped in the shop changing room until there was silence. The girls´ mother – Claudia – then opened the changing room door and looked out but saw nothing. She waited several minutes until she heard voices in the shop before leaving the changing room with her terrified daughters.

On speaking with a store manager, Claudia discovered that the event had been a robbery simulation and, when she got home, she called the H&M head office to complain that the shop had failed to check for the presence of customers before starting the training exercise. A representative of the company apologised and offered Claudia a €30 voucher.

Dissatisfied with the response from the company, Claudia made a claim for being trapped in a shop changing room on behalf of her two daughters against H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd. In her legal action, Claudia alleged that Abbie and Casie had been terrified and in fear for their and their mother’s lives. She also claimed that the experience had given both girls nightmares.

The company made offers of compensation for eleven-year-old Abbie (€10,000) and eight-year-old Casie (€8,000) in settlement of their claim for being trapped in a shop changing room. At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge Rory MacCabe approved the offers after hearing how the sisters had been traumatised by the “terrifying” incident.

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

A fourteen-year-old boy has been awarded more than €50,000 compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder following a fire at his family´s home.

In June 2010, Aaron Monds from Kinnegad in County Westmeath was one four siblings rescued from a fire at the family home that had been caused by a faulty Hotpoint dishwasher. Aaron – who was only nine years of age at the time – had been diagnosed as suffering from a mild intellectual disability, and he was deeply traumatised by the fire.

For several years after the incident, Aaron displayed symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. He would check and re-check electrical appliances each night to ensure they were switched off and unplugged, developed an irrational fear of fire and would have night terrors about being engulfed in flames.

Aaron´s father – Henry Monds – sought legal advice and on behalf of his son claimed compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder following a fire. Indesit UK Ltd – the manufacturers of the faulty Hotpoint dishwasher – acknowledged liability for the appliance being responsible for the fire and, by proximate cause, admitted liability for Aaron´s traumatic response.

As the Injuries Board does not assess psychological injuries, a hearing took place at the High Court before Mr Justice Bernard Barton to assess how much compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder following a fire Aaron was entitled to.

At the hearing, Judge Barton was told that Aaron still had anxiety attacks about another fire in the family home but that his condition had improved after years of therapy. The judge accepted medical evidence that Aaron´s condition would now be described as residual symptoms of a post-traumatic stress disorder rather than obsessive compulsive behaviour.

The judge awarded Aaron €51,244 compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder following a fire and ordered that the settlement be paid into court funds until Aaron reaches the age of eighteen.

High Court Hears Back Injury Claim due to Workplace Conditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Dismisses Injury Claim for a Crash in a Car Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dunnes Slip and Fall Injury Claim Resolved in Circuit Civil Court

A shopper, who aggravated an existing condition when she slipped on a potato wedge, has resolved her Dunnes slip and fall injury claim at the Circuit Civil Court.

Sixty-year-old Anna Manning was shopping in her local Dunnes Stores in Clondalkin, Dublin, when she slipped on a discarded potato wedge and fell. As she initially believed she had suffered no injury, she allowed staff members help her to her feet. However the following day she attended her GP complaining of pains in her back and neck.

Following the November 2011 accident, Anna made a Dunnes slip and fall injury claim, alleging that the store had been negligent in failing to clear up an earlier spill of potato wedges. Dunnes Stores denied its liability for Anna´s injuries, and the Injuries Board issued her with an Authorisation after consent to process Anna´s application for assessment was denied.

The Dunnes slip and fall injury claim was heard recently at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that Anna had a history of back and neck pain, and that her pre-existing condition had been aggravated by the accident. The judge also heard that, as a result of the accident, Anna had developed wrist pain that affected her quality of life.

Dunnes Stores prepared a full defence against Anna´s claim and argued that she had contributed to her injuries by her own lack of care. The judge dismissed the claim of contributory negligence and said that Anna was a “very poor candidate” for a slip and fall in Dunnes Stores due to her previous medical history.

Judge Groarke found in Anna´s favour and awarded her €22,900 in settlement of her Dunnes slip and fall injury claim. He commented that, on the balance of probabilities, the potato wedge on which Anna had slipped and fallen had been a “brother or sister” of the wedges that had been cleared up earlier, and that Dunnes Stores was responsible for Anna´s injuries due to the failure to perform a thorough clear up of the spill.

Flight Attendant Brings Claim for Injuries due to a Bumpy Plane Landing

An Aer Lingus flight attendant has brought a claim for injuries due to a bumpy plane landing in respect of a November 2009 flight from Malaga to Dublin.

The claim for injuries due to a bumpy plane landing was brought by Cassandra Reddin (33) from Ratoath in County Meath who, on 19th November 2009, was a member of the flight crew on Aer Lingus flight EI582 flying into Dublin Airport from Malaga in Spain.

According to information provided in the claim, the Airbus 320 began to sway as it approached Dublin Airport and descended much faster than normal. When the plane landed on the runway, it bounced three times and did not stop as quickly as it normally would.

Due to the impact of the plane on the runway, Cassandra brought a claim for injuries due to a bumpy plane landing for whiplash-like injuries to her neck and back. She also alleges she feared that the plane would not stop before the end of the runway and that it was going to crash.

Cassandra applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim for injuries due to a bumpy plane landing, but Aer Lingus denied consent for the assessment to proceed. The Injuries Board subsequently issued Cassandra with an authorisation to pursue her claim through the courts.

The High Court hearing started earlier this week with Cassandra explaining to Mr Justice Michael Hanna that the bumpy landing caused the overhead luggage lockers to open and luggage to fall on top of passengers. Cassandra told the judge “There was a degree of chaos and stress on board.”

Cassandra also gave evidence that, in addition to her soft tissue injuries, she had suffered shock due to the bumpy landing and had cried the whole evening when she had got home. She told the court that in her opinion the cause of the bumpy landing was the co-pilot´s negligence in failing to adequately supervise the landing of the plane. The High Court hearing continues today.

Settlement of Compensation for a Severed Fingertip Approved in Court

A Circuit Civil Court judge has approved a €40,000 settlement of compensation for a severed fingertip accident in favour of a nine-year-old girl.

Julia Roman from Lucan in County Dublin severed her fingertip and lost a nail in November 2012, when she caught her finger between the doors of the local Doc Morris Pharmacy. Julia – who was just six years old at the time of her accident – was taken to the Emergency Department of Our Lady´s Children´s Hospital in Crumlin by her father.

Doctors were able to reattach the severed fingertip while Julia was under a general anaesthetic and the little girl had to attend the hospital several more times so that doctors could check on how she was recovering from her injury. Now nine years of age, Julia has a small scar on the bulb of her finger.

On her daughter’s behalf, Elena Roman made a claim for compensation for a severed fingertip against the owners of the Doc Morris Pharmacy – Unicare Pharmacy Ltd – and Lovco Cleaning and Building Services of Tallaght in Dublin – the company that had installed the doors between which Julia had caught her finger.

Liability for Julia’s injury was conceded by the two defendants, and an offer of compensation for a severed fingertip was proposed to the family amounting to €40,000. The family agreed to the settlement but, before Julia’s claim could be resolved, the proposal had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was appropriate for the degree of her injury.

Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard how Julia’s accident happened, and heard from Julia that she had to give up playing the piano because of the pain in her finger. Judge Groarke approved the settlement of compensation for a severed fingertip and closed the case.

Court Awards Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury in a Bar

The Circuit Civil Court has awarded a painter and decorator €20,000 compensation for a slip and fall injury in a bar after a hearing to determine liability.

Thirty-one year old David O´Keeffe made his claim for compensation for a slip and fall injury in a bar after badly cutting his hand on a piece of glass at the Woolshed Baa & Grill on Parnell Street in Dublin on 18th September 2011. David had been in the bar to watch the All Ireland Football Final and, at the end of the game, he left his group of friends to visit the bathrooms.

As David manoeuvred his way through the packed bar, he slipped on the wet floor and fell – badly cutting his hand on broken glass that had been left on the floor. David was picked up by a member of the bar staff and given First Aid. He later attended the St James´ Hospital, where his cut hand was cleaned properly and the injury stitched.

David claimed compensation for a slip and fall injury in a bar, alleging that the Woolshed Baa & Grill had failed to follow proper cleaning procedures and that, because of this, the bar was liable for his injury. The bar denied its liability for David´s injury, and refused to consent to an Injuries Board assessment of the claim. Consequently David was issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim for compensation for a slip and fall injury in a bar through the court system.

The hearing to establish liability took place last week at the Circuit Civil Court, where Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard arguments that David´s injury was attributable to his friends trying to lift him up and dropping him while he had a glass in his hand. The bar owners testified that the venue had followed its cleaning procedures, and that an accident report had been filled out at the time, but that it could not be found.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Linnane found in David´s favour. She said that she accepted David´s version of events, as the bar had been packed “to the point that one would not have been able to see that the floor was wet”. The judge awarded David €20,000 compensation for a slip and fall injury in a bar.

Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for Electrocution Injuries

A judge at the High Court has approved a €700,000 settlement of compensation for electrocution injuries in favour of a seventeen year-old-boy.

On July 3rd 2008, Kurt O´Callaghan was just ten years of age when he and his friends from Wexford City were playing in woodland near their homes. After helping make a camp, Kurt decided to put a “Keep Out” sign on a nearby electricity pole. Kurt climbed the wall of an adjacent housing estate to reach the pole, but as it started nailing his sign onto it, Kurt nailed into a high-voltage electric cable.

The force of the subsequent shock blew Kurt off of the wall, and he was fortunate inasmuch as a passing motorist saw the accident and was able to take him to hospital. Kurt was later transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, where he spent the next three months receiving treatment for severe burns to his head, neck, shoulders, chest, and hands. Kurt may need further skin grafts in the future.

Through his mother – Denise – Kurt made a claim for compensation for electrocution injuries against the Electricity Service Board (ESB). In his legal action it was claimed that the ESB knew – or should have known – that a risk of injury existed, and that there had been a failure by the ESB to consider the wall Kurt had used to access the electricity pole as a risk due to its proximity to the electricity cables.

The claim for compensation for electrocution injuries was supported by a report compiled by an expert electrical engineer. The report was critical of the ESB for not identifying the risk of danger and, in addition to stating that the ESB had failed in its statutory requirement to ensure that electricity poles were inaccessible to a height of three metres, the electrical engineer found 52 other nails that had been used to hang posters.

The ESB denied liability for Kurt´s injuries, and the claim for compensation for electrocution injuries was scheduled for a full court hearing. However, prior to the hearing, a €700,000 settlement of the claim was agreed and a hearing was arranged for the settlement to be approved. At the approval hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said that it was a good settlement in the circumstances as – if Kurt´s claim for compensation for electrocution injuries had gone to a full hearing – he may have been accused of contributory negligence.

Student Resolves Compensation Claim for Glass in a Dunnes Sauce

A twenty-two year old student, who suffered a cut mouth while eating a marinated pork chop, has resolved her compensation claim for glass in a Dunnes sauce.

Amy Holden from Ballybrack in Dublin made her compensation claim for glass in a Dunnes sauce after biting into a marinated pork chop that had been purchased from the Dunnes Stores in Cornelscourt and finding chards of glass in sauce the meat had been marinated in.

After removing the chards of glass from his daughter´s mouth, Amy´s father took her to the Accident & Emergency Department of St Colmcille´s Hospital in Loughlinstown. Amy was treated for her injuries, given a tetanus injection and X-rayed to see if she had digested any of the glass chards.

Although the X-ray revealed no internal injuries, Amy was advised to seek further medical attention if she started to feel sick or experienced any pain around her abdomen. Fortunately, the only ill-effect Amy subsequently suffered was a sore throat.

Amy made a compensation claim for glass in a Dunnes sauce and, as the claim involved Dunnes Stores´ public liability, Amy first approached the Injuries Board with an application for assessment. However, Dunnes Stores denied liability for Amy´s injuries, and she was issued with an Authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue her case through the court system.

As the value of her claim had been estimated at €60,000, a hearing to resolve the compensation claim for glass in a Dunnes sauce was scheduled for the High Court. However, prior to the hearing getting underway, the court was told that the claim had been settled by negotiation and could be struck out.

The amount of the settlement or any terms attached to the settlement were not revealed. However, it is understood that Amy´s compensation claim for glass in a Dunnes sauce was resolved with an admission of liability from Dunnes Stores.

Insurance Industry Attacks Judges over High Court Injury Compensation Settlements

Representatives of the motor insurance industry have said that judges need to be educated about who pays for High Court injury compensation settlements.

The attack on High Court judges came after it was revealed that the average value of High Court injury compensation settlements had increased by 34 percent over the past twelve months. According to the Courts Service annual report, €155 million was awarded in High Court injury compensation settlements during 2014, at an average value of €304,000 compared with an average value of €227,000 in 2013.

During the same period, the average value of assessments conducted by the Injuries Board remained steady at around €22,600, and the increase in High Court injury compensation settlements prompted AA Ireland’s Conor Faughnan to say there was a need for judges to be educated to help them understand that High Court injury compensation settlements are paid for by the country´s two million drivers.

Some of the blame for the increase in High Court injury compensation settlements has been attributed to changes made by the Courts and Civil Law Act 2013, which raised the potential compensation level at which cases would be heard by the High Court from €38,092 to €60,000, and some observers believe that judges are automatically awarding a minimum of €60,000 even if the injury suffered merits less.

Dorothea Dowling – founding chairperson of the Injuries Board, and the chair of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board – believes that plaintiffs are shunning Injuries Board assessments for more money at the High Court. Ms Dowling told the Independent: “The Department of Justice was forewarned well in advance. This is what happens when you increase the limits of the lower courts”.

Whereas Mr Faughan and Ms Dowling may have a point when High Court injury compensation settlements are made in favour of road traffic accident victims, it is not an opinion shared by everybody. Earlier this year Mr Justice Bernard Barton, criticised the government for not updating the injury compensation values published in the Book of Quantum since 2004.

In McGarry v McGarry Judge Barton commented “it is unquestionably in the interests of the proper administration of justice that the Book be reviewed and be kept updated to properly reflect [High Court injury compensation settlements]”. During the case, Judge Barton acknowledged that for all practical purposes the Book of Quantum was being ignored by the courts because it was so out of date.

Man Awarded Compensation for a Dental Injury Caused by Dublin Airport Food

A man from Swords has been awarded €4,500 compensation for a dental injury caused by Dublin Airport food by a District Court judge.

In March 2013, Shane McQuillan (32) visited the Gate Clock Bar at Dublin Airport and purchased the ingredients for a sausage and bacon sandwich. He constructed the sandwich and bit into it, fracturing his upper right back molar on a hard piece of bacon rind.

Shane alleged that the rasher of bacon had been allowed to become stale due to it being left on display for a number of hours, and he claimed compensation for a dental injury caused by Dublin Airport food against the restaurant.

The owners of the Gate Clock Bar denied liability for Shane´s injury, arguing that food was replaced regularly and, that if Shane believed that eating the bacon was a risk to health, he should not have put it in his sandwich.

Without the consent to process Shane´s application for compensation for a dental injury caused by Dublin Airport food, the Injuries Board issued him with an authorisation to pursue his claim through the courts, and the case was heard last week at the District Court in Swords.

At the hearing, Judge Patricia McNamara was told Shane believed the food had been allowed to become stale due to it being left on display for several hours on a steel tray placed on top of a pan of steaming water.

The manager of the bar testified that the food is changed every ninety minutes, but she was unable to provide records to support her claim. The claim that Shane should be considered responsible for his dental injury was also repeated in court.

Judge McNamara found in Shane´s favour on the grounds that there was no evidence to support claims of the food being changed regularly. After hearing that Shane still suffers occasional pain from the fractured tooth and cannot drink cold drinks, the judge initially awarded him €6,500 compensation for a dental injury caused by Dublin Airport food and €2,500 in special damages.

However, the judge subsequently attributed Shane with 50 percent contributory negligence and – saying that he “should have been careful of a crispy rasher rind” – reduced the award of compensation for a dental injury caused by Dublin Airport food by half to €4,500.

Claim for a Dunnes Stores Trip and Fall Injury Resolved in Court

A claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury has been resolved in the High Court in Cork in favour of a pensioner who broke her hip in her local store.

On 2nd July 2013, Bernadette O´Leary (77) from Clonakilty in Cork was looking to purchase a waterproof canopy in her local Dunnes Store so that she could protect her stall at the weekly farmers market, where she sold food items such as homemade cakes.

Bernadette found a small detachable gazebo that she thought would be suitable, but before buying it she wanted to make sure that it was waterproof. Bernadette asked a shop assistant for advice and, as the shop assistant was unsure about the protection the gazebo would offer, he went to ask a colleague.

The shop assistant told Bernadette to follow him but, as she entered the adjacent aisle, she stumbled over a fold-away deckchair that had been left in the aisle waiting to be placed on a display shelf and fell heavily – breaking her hip.

Bernadette was taken to hospital by ambulance – where she waited forty-eight hours on a trolley waiting for a bed to become available. Once she was allowed home, Bernadette sought legal advice and made a claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury.

Bernadette claimed in her legal action that the fold-away deckchair left in the aisle represented a hazard contrary to Dunnes Stores´ own safety statement. The company contested Bernadette´s claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury by saying that she should have looked where she was going.

With Dunnes Stores denying liability for Bernadette´s broken hip, the Injuries Board issued an Authorisation for Bernadette to pursue her claim for a Dunnes Store trip and fall injury through the courts; and the case was heard this week by Mr Justice Henry Abbot at the High Court in Cork.

Judge Abbot was shown a CCTV video of the accident, after which he agreed with Bernadette´s counsel that “the defendant had invited the plaintiff into the path of a hazard on which she fell and was injured”. The judge awarded Bernadette €137,000 compensation in settlement of her claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury.

Court of Appeal Provides Guidance for After the Event Insurance in Ireland

The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court ruling relating to security for costs and has provided guidance for after the event insurance in Ireland.

Because of the significant costs of defending a court case in Ireland, defendants can apply to a judge for the plaintiff to deposit a security of costs with the court to ensure that, if the plaintiff is unsuccessful with their claim, the defendant is assured of recovering their legal costs.

The application, if granted, has been used in the past as a strategy to force plaintiffs away from litigation when they do not have the assets to place a security of costs; and consequently more plaintiffs are using after the event insurance in Ireland to protect them from exposure to financial losses.

After the event or ATE insurance is a policy that can be purchased by plaintiffs when they make a claim for compensation. No premium is charged for the insurance policy until the result of the case is known; and usually the premium is only then deducted from an award of compensation.

However, during a High Court case last year, a defendant challenged the legality of a plaintiff to use after the event insurance in Ireland. The defendant claimed that after the event insurance in Ireland was contrary to the common law of champerty – a law that prevents third parties (in this case an insurance company) from providing financial support in a court case that the third party has no direct interest in.

The judge hearing the court case – Judge Hogan – reviewed how after the event insurance in Ireland works, and ruled that the provision of insurance to plaintiffs was not “trafficking in litigation” – the deed that the law of champetry was introduced to prevent – because the insurance company´s exclusive motive in supporting the plaintiff was not to derive a profit.

The judge´s ruling was appealed by the defendant, and arguments for and against after the event insurance were recently heard in the Court of Appeal. In a written judgement from Judge Kelly, the High Court ruling was overturned because the insurance policy in question was “highly conditional” and the insurance company providing the ATE insurance could have avoided payment to the defendant “for a substantial number of reasons outside the defendant’s control and knowledge”.

However, Judge Kelly wrote in his judgement that an after the event insurance policy is a factor for a court to give consideration to in exercising its discretion whether to order security for costs. The judge wrote that after the event insurance in Ireland could be used as a full or partial alternative to security for costs provided that it did not contain terms that would allow the insurance company to avoid payment to the defendant in the event of an unsuccessful claim.

The Appeal Court´s opinion does not make it possible for after the event insurance in Ireland to be used in every circumstance, but it should certainly provide access to justice for many more plaintiffs – particularly in complex personal injury claims that revolve around issues such as medical negligence or breach of professional duty.

€30,000 Injury Compensation for a Fitness Club Accident Awarded at Court

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded €30,000 injury compensation for a fitness club accident to a hotel supervisor from Dublin.

Timea Babos (30) was a guest at the West Wood Club in Dublin when, on 13th November 2011, she decided to go for a swim after coming out of the club´s sauna. Timea dived straight into the pool, but hit her face on the bottom of the pool and broke her two upper front teeth.

Bleeding heavily from her mouth, Timea completed an accident report form at the reception of the fitness club reception. She then attended her doctor´s surgery, where the bleeding was stopped and Timea was prescribed painkillers.

Two weeks later, Timea flew to Hungary to have crowns fitted to her broken teeth and, on her return she sought legal advice about claiming injury compensation for a fitness club accident. Her claim was initially submitted to the Injuries Board for assessment, but the West Wood Club denied liability for her injuries.

Consequently, the Injuries Board issued Timea with an authorisation to pursue her claim for injury compensation for a fitness club accident through the courts, and Timea´s solicitor filed the case with the Circuit Civil Court – claiming that there were no signs displayed warning of the shallow depth of the pool nor a lifeguard on duty to prevent Timea from diving in

The solicitor also arranged for a forensic engineer to inspect the pool; which he described as being unusual because it had no deep end. The forensic engineer found that the depth of the pool was only 1 metre 35 centimetres throughout (about four foot) and that there were inadequate signs to warn guests of the risk of injury.

At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard the West Wood Club argue that Timea was partly liable for the cause of her injury because of the manner in which she had dived into the pool after failing to check it´s depth.

The judge was also told that there were inadequate warnings around the perimeter of the pool and a lack of supervision in the pool area. The judge dismissed the West Wood Club´s argument that Timea had contributed to her injuries through her own negligence and awarded her €30,000 injury compensation for a fitness club accident.

Claim for an Accident at Dublin Airport Settled at High Court

A disputed claim for an accident at Dublin Airport has been settled at the High Court with the allocation of one-third contributory negligence against the plaintiff.

Sixty-nine year old Elizabeth Lavin arrived at Dublin Airport on 2nd November 2011 with the intention of flying to Manchester. As she was travelled towards Terminal 2 departures on the escalator, it suddenly juddered, causing Elizabeth to fall forward over her hand luggage and hit her head on the metal stairway.

Elizabeth – from Kilcullen in County Kildare – was taken to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where her head injury and minor lacerations were treated. She subsequently had to undergo orthopaedic treatment for pain in her arm, hip and knee after trying to manage the pains with painkillers. Elizabeth still has scars on her face and her upper lip from her accident.

A claim for an accident at Dublin Airport was submitted to the Injuries Board, but Dublin Airport Authority PLC denied liability for Elizabeth´s accident. The Injuries Board issued an authorisation for Elizabeth to pursue her claim for an accident at Dublin Airport through the courts, and it was heard this week by Mr Justice Michael Hanna.

At the High Court, Judge Hanna heard Elizabeth´s legal representatives claim that Dublin Airport had failed to take reasonable care of her safety. They also alleged that the Airport Authority had been negligent when designing the airport, so that the only apparent way in which passengers with luggage could reach the upper level of Terminal 2 was by escalator.

Dublin Airport argued that Elizabeth had failed to appropriately use the handrail of the escalator and had contributed to the accident by placing her hand luggage in front of her, instead of behind her. The airport produced CCTV footage to show how Elizabeth´s accident had occurred, and also told the judge that the option of a lift was available to passengers with luggage.

Judge Hanna then heard that Elizabeth was unaware that the option of a lift was available because signs directing passengers to the lift were not erected until 2013. The judge said that Elizabeth could not be considered to have contributed to the accident for failing to appropriately use the handrail or for placing her hand luggage in front of her.

However, the judge said that she could have asked a member of the airport staff to direct her to the lifts. In this respect, the judge said, Elizabeth should take some responsibility for her injuries. He assigned Elizabeth one-third contributory negligence and reduced the settlement of her claim for an accident at Dublin Airport from €60,000 to €40,000.

Claim for an Injury due to an Accident in a Hotel Heard at the High Court

A former council worker´s claim for an injury due to an accident in a hotel is continuing after its first day of being heard at the High Court.

Benjamin Stanley (67) sustained a shoulder injury while attending a dance on Easter Sunday in 2009. According to testimony provided at the High Court yesterday, Benjamin had been attending a dance at the Castle Arms Hotel in Durrow, County Laois, and – after escorting his dancing partner back to her car – returned to the hotel to enjoy the remainder of the evening.

When he entered the hotel, Benjamin decided that he would use the bathroom facilities prior to returning to the dance floor; but, as he made his way across the hotel´s lobby, he slipped and fell. Unaware of any immediate injury, Benjamin carried on dancing; but, after driving himself back to his home in Birr, County Offaly, he started to experience intense pain in his shoulder.

Benjamin summoned a doctor and a torn tendon was diagnosed in his shoulder after an examination. Benjamin had to undergo surgery to repair the torn tendon, after which he sought legal advice and made a claim for an injury due to an accident in a hotel. In his claim, Benjamin alleged that his accident was due to the hotel´s failure to properly monitor and control the condition of the floor.

The hotel owner, Seosamh Murphy and Dal Riada Taverns Ltd – the licensee of the Castle Arms Hotel – denied that the hotel was responsible for Benjamin´s accident. They argued that the floors of the hotel were checked every two hours and that Benjamin had caused his own accident by rushing to the bathroom after having too much to drink.

As there was a dispute over liability, the Injuries Board could not assess Benjamin´s claim for an injury due to an accident in a hotel, and an Authorisation was issued so that Benjamin could pursue his claim through the court system. Consequently, at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the circumstances of Benjamin´s fall.

Under cross-examination, Benjamin told the judge that he had not been rushing to the bathroom and had not had a drink the whole day. He said that he definitely felt something under his shoe as he slipped and it was whatever matter on the floor that was the cause of his injury. Unable to resolve the claim for an injury due to an accident in a hotel, Judge Barr adjourned the hearing and the case continues.

Majority Still Using Solicitors for Personal Injury Claims says Departing Injuries Board Head

The outgoing Chief Executive of the Injuries Board has acknowledged that the majority of claimants are still using solicitors for personal injury claims.

Patricia Byron acknowledged the continuing use of solicitors for personal injury claims in an interview published in the Irish Times this morning. Saying that “people still think that they need to go to a solicitor to send in a claim”, Ms Byron said that she was unsure whether that was due to a lack of knowledge or understanding of the Injuries Board system.

She went on to explain that the Injuries Board system is paper-based, with no oral or adversarial presentations required. When assessing a claim, Ms Byron stated, the Injuries Board does not take into account whether the claim has been sent in by a person with no legal training or whether the claimant has used solicitors for personal injury claims.

“It is an administrative process” said Ms Byron, who is stepping down from being the Chief Executive of the Injuries Board after ten years in charge. During that ten years, the Injuries Board claims to have delivered more than €1 billion in savings, reduced the cost of many personal injury claims in Ireland and reduced the time it takes for a claimant to receive compensation from three years to a little more than seven months.

However, the most recent figures released by the Injuries Board tend to support Ms Byron´s statement that the majority of claimants are still using solicitors for personal injury claims.

Only 39% of Personal Injury Claims Resolved by Injuries Board

Of 31,576 applications for assessment received in 2014, just 12,420 personal injury claims were resolved via the Injuries Board system. Not all of the remaining 61% of personal injury claims were resolved by solicitors, but those with liability issues or disputes over how much compensation the Injuries Board had assessed a claim for would have needed litigation to be settled.

Other claims (unfortunately) would have been resolved by third-party capture – where an insurance company makes an unsolicited approach to a claimant with a low offer of compensation in return for a quick settlement – while some claims will have dropped out of the system if the claimant did not have a genuine claims for compensation and gave up on their claim once liability was rejected.

Solicitor Defends Professional Guidance with Personal Injury Claims

In the Irish Times article, a representative from Dublin law firm Tyrrell Solicitors was invited to add his own perspective to Ms Byron´s admission that the majority of claimants were still using solicitors for personal injury claims. Roderick Tyrrell likened making personal injury claims to cutting your own hair, fixing your own leaking pipe or repairing a car engine.

Mr Tyrrell acknowledged that the Injuries Board provided a service for straightforward low-level claims, but when cases become more complex and there are “potential stumbling blocks” – like the value of a personal injury claim or identifying the legal entity against who to make a claim – claimants, insisted Mr Tyrrell, need guidance.

Settlement of Compensation for Dog Bite Injury Approved in Court

A young girl, who was attacked by a Rottweiler that had been allowed to escape from its home, has had a settlement of compensation for a dog bite injury approved at the High Court.

On December 26th 2011, Lauren Kelly from Abbeylara in County Longford was playing “hunting the wren” with family and friends when she came across a Rottweiler that had been allowed to escape from its home and wander the streets.

The Rottweiler attacked Lauren – who was just nine years old at the time – and, despite Lauren´s mother and friends trying to pull the dog away, Lauren suffered multiple bite injuries to her upper right arm. Lauren was treated at hospital for her dog bite injuries and subsequently had to undergo skin graft operations which has resulted in significant scarring.

Lauren made a claim for compensation for a dog bite injury through her father – Michael Kelly – alleging that the owner of the dog had been negligent in allowing the Rottweiler to escape. The dog´s owner – William Crawford also of Abbeylara in County Longford – admitted liability and a €150,000 settlement of compensation for a dog bite injury was negotiated.

In order for the settlement to be approved, Lauren´s claim for dog bite injury compensation was heard before Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court in Dublin. Judge Cross was told how Lauren had been tossed around like a rag doll while the attack was in progress and how she subsequently suffered nightmares. Lauren also has to wear a protective sleeve while swimming to prevent an infection to her arm.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the €150,000 settlement of compensation for a dog bite injury. The compensation settlement will be held in an interest-bearing account at the court until Lauren reaches the age of eighteen. Lauren´s patents will be able to access the compensation fund if Lauren requires further medical attention to cope with the consequences of the attack.

Model Awarded Compensation for Injuries at Petrol Station

A model has been awarded compensation for injuries at a petrol station after she was attacked by a sales assistant who claimed she had not paid for her petrol.

In May 2011, Trudy Higgins (26) from Drumcondra in Dublin was returning to her car after filling it with petrol at the Castle Service Station in Artane, Dublin, when she noticed a sales assistant approaching her and apparently taking photographs.

Trudy got inside her car, closed the doors and went to call her father for assistance. However, before she could do so, the sales assistance moved alongside her car and smashed the driver´s window with his fist.

According to evidence presented at the Circuit Civil Court, the glass from the driver´s window shattered and Trudy suffered cuts to her face, neck and back. She drove to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where she was treated for her injuries.

After seeking legal advice, Trudy made a claim for compensation for injuries at a petrol station against Chopard International Ltd – trading as Castle Service Station. She claimed that the company were responsible for the negligent actions of the sales assistant.

Chopard International Ltd denied its liability for Trudy´s injuries, and alleged that the sales assistant was trying to prevent Trudy leaving the petrol station without paying, that she had trapped his hand in the driver´s window and that he had to break the glass to avoid being dragged down the road.

With liability being denied, the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the case to be heard before Judge Francis Comerford at the Circuit Civil Court. The judge found in Trudy´s favour after the petrol station could not provide CCTV to support their claims and the sales assistant failed to appear.

Judge Comerford awarded Trudy €9,000 compensation for injuries at the petrol station, saying that Trudy did not have a distinctive scar as a result of her trauma.

Judge Awards almost €5 Million Injury Compensation for Accident with Bin Truck

A High Court judge has awarded a County Wicklow man almost €5 million injury compensation for an accident with a bin truck which left him permanently brain damaged.

On 23 April 2007, Padraig Hearns was having a night out in Dublin when he was attacked in Sycamore Street in the city´s Temple Bar area. As he lay on the road, he was run over by a Dublin City Council bin truck and suffered a fractured skull.

Padraig (39) from Hollywood in County Wicklow had to be put into an induced coma on arrival at hospital, and spent several months recovering from his injuries. Due to the brain damage he suffered in the accident Padraig – a former air steward for British Airways – will never be able to work again or live an independent life.

Through his parents Padraig made a claim against Dublin City Council to recover injury compensation for the accident with the bin truck. Dublin City Council denied its responsibility for Padraig´s injuries and said it was not the fault of the bin truck operators that Padraig had been attacked and was lying in the road.

The claim proceeded to the High Court, where it was heard before Mr Justice Michael Peart. Judge Peart found in Padraig´s favour after hearing that the local authority had broken its own by-laws by collecting rubbish in Temple Bar between the hours of 12:00pm and 6:00pm.

Judge Peart also considered that the operators of the bin truck had a duty of care to have one of their team outside of the truck as it moved on, in order to ensure it was safe to do so. The judge found that the bin truck operators had breached their duty of care by failing to see Padraig lying in the path of their vehicle.

The judge awarded Padraig €4,885,888 injury compensation for the accident with the bin truck which included €266,341 for loss of earnings, €155,230 for care costs to date, €350,000 for past and present pain and suffering and €3,485,000 for care costs in the future. Costs were awarded against Dublin City Council.

Judge Awards Woman 80% Compensation for a Fall in Dark Nightclub

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has told a woman that she was 20% responsible for an accident at the Abberley Court Hotel in Dublin, and awarded her 80% compensation for a fall in a dark nightclub.

On 4th April 2010, Rita Walsh from Tallaght in Dublin had spent a pleasant evening with her daughters at the Level 4 Nightclub in the Abberley Court Hotel in Tallaght after enjoying a meal at a local Chinese restaurant. However, as the nightclub started to close, Rita tried to visit the bathroom and tripped over a step – badly injuring her shoulder when she fell.

Rita sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a fall in the dark nightclub – alleging that the management of the Level 4 Nightclub had turned out all the lights as the DJ finished, leaving the premises “pitch black”. The Abberley Court Hotel denied Rita´s allegations – arguing that the club had been fully illuminated during closing – and the case proceeded to court, where it was heard before Judge Alan Mahon.

In the hearing, Conor Murphy – a forensic engineer brought in to give an expert opinion on the lighting in the club – gave evidence that the overall lighting was inadequate to clearly identify the step in question, and that recessed lighting on the back of the step only made it visible from the direction opposite to that in which Rita was walking.

Judge Mahon accepted the forensic engineer´s evidence of the nightclub´s lighting as truthful, and said that although Rita´s allegations that the nightclub was “pitch black” were incorrect, it was also inaccurate that the management of the Level 4 Nightclub had illuminated the premises as the patrons were leaving, and more likely that the lights had been switched on only once Rita´s accident had occurred.

The judge also ruled that Rita must take 20% of the responsibility for her accident, as she admitted to having been drinking alcohol with her daughters at the nightclub and at the Chinese restaurant. He consequently reduced her compensation for a fall in a dark nightclub from €22,000 to €17,600.