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.

Offer of Compensation for a Scar from a Creche Accident Approved

An offer of €45,000 compensation for a scar from a creche accident has been approved by the Circuit Civil Court in favour of a twelve-year-old boy.

Calum Lawless from Dunshaughlin in County Meath was just three years old when, in July 2007, he tripped over an uneven floor surface at the Happy Days Creche in Clonee, Dublin, and fell – hitting his face on the floor and sustaining a cut close to his right eye.

Calum was taken to the VH1 Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University, where a three-centimetre laceration was cleaned and closed with steri-strips. Calum´s right eye remained closed for a week after his accident and he had significant bruising for almost a month.

Now twelve years of age, Calum has a permanent visible scar by his right eye that – due to its location – cannot be concealed with plastic surgery.

As the two-year Statute of Limitations for personal injury claims does not apply to children, Calum´s mother – Lorraine Lawless – claimed compensation for a scar from a creche accident on her son´s behalf against the owner of the creche – Hansfield Company Ltd, of Castleknock, Dublin.

In her legal action, Lorraine alleged that Hansfield Company Ltd had been negligent for failing to provide a safe environment and was thereby liable for Calum´s accident and injury. The owners of the Happy Days Creche admitted liability and made an offer of €45,000 compensation for a scar from a creche accident.

As the claim for compensation for a scar from a creche accident had been made on behalf of a children, the offer had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Calum´s best interest. Consequently the circumstances of Calum´s accident and injury were related to Judge James O´Donohoe at the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge O´Donohoe approved the settlement after inspecting the scar and ensuring that the family agreed to the settlement. The settlement of compensation for a scar from a creche accident will now be paid into court funds until Calum becomes a legal adult at age eighteen.

Settlement of Claim for an Injury due to Being Hit by a Car Wing Mirror

The €5 million settlement of a claim for an injury due to being hit by a car wing mirror has been approved in the High Court in favour of a teenage boy.

Ryan Bastin ordinarily lives with his family in Brussels; but, in August 2008, he was enjoying a family holiday at his grandparent´s home in Mitchelstown, County Cork. On 13th August, Ryan´s father, brother and sister left the house to walk down to a neighbouring field in order to watch cows grazing. Ryan initially decided he did not want to go, but then changed his mind.

As Ryan ran out into the road to catch up with his family, he was hit on the head by the wing mirror of a passing car. Ryan was knocked to the road surface and, although able to stand up straightaway, he started vomiting. An ambulance was called and Ryan was taken to Cork University Hospital. However, during the journey to the hospital, he lost consciousness.

When Ryan arrived at the hospital he was resuscitated and diagnosed with a fractured skull. He underwent a series of operations and remained in intensive care for several months before being allowed to fly home with his family to Brussels, where he underwent rehabilitation treatment. Despite receiving comprehensive medical attention, Ryan has been left with intellectual disabilities.

Or her son´s behalf, Ryan´s mother – Sinead – made a claim for an injury due to being hit by a car wing mirror against the driver of the vehicle – Hannah Murray from Ballyporeen in County Tipperary. Murray contested the claim on the grounds that she had been driving with due care and attention and could not have avoided hitting Ryan as he ran into the road.

The case went to the High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that Murray only had 1.75 seconds to react from the time that Ryan had run into the road. Ryan´s barrister argued that, even with just 1.75 seconds to act, Murray had enough time to take evasive action and swerve to avoid hitting the child.

Judge Cross found in Ryan´s favour after attributing him 40% contributory negligence. As a settlement of the claim for an injury due to being hit by a car wing mirror had already been agreed in principle, the judge approved the proportional settlement of €5 million and closed the hearing – wishing Ryan and his family all the best for the future.

Settlement of Claim for Cycling Pothole Injuries Approved

The Injuries Board-assessed settlement of a claim for a cycling pothole injuries has been approved in the High Court in favour of a sixteen-year-old boy.

In July 2013, Dillon O´Reilly was giving his cousin a “backer” while cycling along the road between Killard and Blarney in County Cork, when the front wheel of his bicycle hit a pothole. Dillon – who had been riding on the pedals of his bicycle – was thrown onto the road surface and suffered a fractured wrist and injuries to his knee and shoulder.

Through his father, Dillon made a claim for cycling pothole injuries against Cork County Council. The Council consented to the Injuries Board request to assess Dillon´s injuries, before agreeing to the proposed settlement figure of €61,500. As the claim for cycling pothole injuries had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Dillon´s best interests.

Consequently an approval hearing took place before Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court, who heard that – in addition to his fractured wrist, knee and shoulder injuries – Dillon also suffered several lacerations that have now left permanent scars. The judge was also told that Dillon recognises that giving his cousin a ride on the back of his bike was a dangerous thing to do.

Judge Cross commented that Dylan had not done anything that any other child of his age would have done, but said it was inevitable that – if the case had been resolved in a full hearing – the settlement of the claim for cycling pothole injuries would have been reduced by 30 to 50 percent to account for his contributory negligence.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said that in the circumstances it was prudent to accept the Injuries Board´s assessment and the judge approved the €61,500 settlement of the claim for cycling pothole injuries -advising Dillon that his scars would likely be susceptible to sunlight and he should keep out of the sun to prevent them deteriorating.

Liability in Dunnes Back Injury Claim Determined in Court

A High Court judge has awarded a woman €64,300 compensation after determining liability in a Dunnes back injury claim for slipping on milk and falling.

Thirty-two year old Rachel Prior, from Cratloe in County Clare, made her Dunnes back injury claim after slipping on spilt milk in the Limerick branch of Dunnes Stores. Rachel – who is a professional singer – claimed to have suffered injuries to her cervical spine and lower back due to the stores negligence in failing to identify the hazard and remove it before her accident.

Dunnes Stores contested the allegations of negligence and denied its consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of Rachel´s claim. Rachel was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue her Dunnes back injury claim in court. The hearing to determine liability was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barr was told that Rachel performs under the stage name of “Rachy P” and that her act involves energetic dance moves. He also heard that Rachel is in constant pain after a gig because of her injury, and that she has had to adjust her lifestyle as a result of her accident in Dunnes Stores.

It was argued by the defendant that Rachel´s performances after her accident implied her injuries were not as bad as she had alleged in her Dunnes back injury claim. Dunnes Stores also claimed that Rachel had contributed to her accident by failing to look where she was going in the Henry Street store.

Judge Barr found in Rachel´s favour after dismissing the allegations of contributory negligence. The judge commented that Rachel was a truthful witness, who had established liability and not overstated her injuries. He also dismissed the claims of contributory negligence on the grounds that it would have been difficult to see milk on a shiny floor under bright lighting.

The judge awarded Rachel €64,300 compensation in settlement of her Dunnes back injury claim, conceding to Dunnes Stores for a stay on the settlement pending an appeal, provided that the company immediately pay Rachel €30,000 of the compensation award plus €20,000 towards her 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”.

Woman Awarded Compensation for Injuries in Fatal Road Traffic Accident

A former world-class sailor, whose career was ended in a car crash, has been awarded £464,655 compensation for injuries in a fatal road traffic accident.

Rosie Sands from Exmouth in Devon was a Gold Standard sailor and honours degree student when, in July 2012, she was visiting friends in Northern Ireland. Rosie (29) and the friends she was staying with had just collected another friend – Michelle Hulford (21) – when the car the party was travelling in was involved in a head-on collision with a jeep on the A57 just outside the town of Doagh in County Antrim.

Tragically Michelle was fatally injured in the accident. Rosie, the driver of the car and her two other friends were taken to hospital with multiple injuries. Rosie received treatment for injuries to her abdomen, back, and shoulder; but, after she had returned to Exmouth, Rosie continued to experience flashbacks and nightmares. She was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Rosie claimed compensation for injuries in a fatal road traffic accident against the driver of the jeep – Stephen Hamilton – after seeking legal advice. Hamilton admitted that the accident had been caused by his negligence, but the two parties could not agree on a settlement of compensation. Consequently the claim was heard by the High Court in Belfast for the assessment of damages only.

At the hearing, Mr Justice Adrian Colton was told Rosie´s injuries had prevented her from sailing competitively and completing her honours degree in religion and education at Bath Spa University. The judge also heard Rosie´s life had changed “irrevocably” due to her injuries and that her plans to join the RAF or Navy after completing her degree had to be abandoned due to her injuries.

After commenting that the evidence Rosie had given in support of her claim had been “honest, understated, stoical and admirable”, Judge Colton awarded her £464,655 compensation for injuries in a fatal road traffic accident to account for her pain and suffering, the cost of medical treatment and Rosie´s loss of income.

Settlement of Hotel Pool Injury Claim Approved in Court

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved the settlement of a hotel pool injury claim made on behalf of a six-year-old schoolgirl by her father.

Emma Olteanu was just four years old when her father, Marius, took her swimming at the Clarion Hotel in Clondalkin in October 2014. Emma had been given special swimming socks to prevent her from slipping, but despite this precaution, Emma tripped on the worn edge of a pool mat and fell – hitting her chin against the side of the pool and sustaining a deep cut.

Emma´s father took her to the Emergency Department at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght, where the cut on Emma´s chin was cleaned and stitched. Due to the depth of the cut, Emma has a two-centimetre scar on her chin which – her parents from Lucan in County Dublin claim – she is very conscious of.

On his daughter´s behalf, Marius made a hotel pool injury claim against Kingsoak Taverns Ltd. trading as Clarion Hotels. In his legal action, Marius claimed that the hotel was negligent by equipping the pool with a worn pool mat. The hotel admitted liability and a €21,000 settlement of the hotel pool injury claim was negotiated.

As the hotel pool injury claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to be officially approved to ensure it was in Emma´s best interests. Consequently, the facts of the case were presented to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court, who was also told about the consequences of Emma´s accident and her permanent scar.

The judge approved the settlement of the hotel pool injury claim and ordered that it was to be paid into court funds. The settlement will be placed into an interest-bearing account until Emma reaches the age of eighteen unless an application is made to the court by her parents to release funds for Emma´s education or for medical reasons.

Injured Rider Settles Compensation Claim for a Fall from a Pony

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waitress Awarded Compensation for an Injury Caused by Broken Glass

A former waitress has been awarded €500,000 compensation for an injury caused by broken glass after a hearing at the High Court in Dublin.

The claim for compensation for an injury caused by broken glass was made by Sophie Caillaud – a former waitress at the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, County Leitrim. Sophie (42) – a French national with an address in Leitrim Village – suffered a deep cut in her right thumb when a glass jug she was filling during a breakfast shift in December 2007 shattered in her hand.

Sophie had to undergo surgery to repair the soft damage tissue in her thumb and, due to the thumb never regaining its strength, Sophie has been unable to return to waitressing since her accident. The injury has also restricted Sophie in her day-to-day activities. She is unable to wash her hair unaided and has had to buy a car with automatic transmission.

After seeking legal advice, Sophie claimed compensation for an injury caused by broken glass against her former employer – Lough Rynn Castle Ltd. – and the two companies that manufactured and supplied the jugs to the hotel – Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd. Although accepting partial responsibility for the accident, the defendants questioned the amount of compensation that was being claimed and argued that she contributed to her injury through her own negligence.

With no resolution to the case achievable through the Injuries Board process or by negotiation, the claim for compensation for an injury caused by broken glass went to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that the hotel management knew of the risk of injury from the jugs as members of the restaurant staff had previously reported injuries from the jugs shattering.

The judge was also presented with expert evidence that showed the joint between the jug´s thick handle and its thinner body was liable to be fragile if subjected to rapid heating and cooling – such as when used in a dishwasher. As a result, the joint would break, the jug would fall and the glass shatter. The defendants were unable to provide any evidence disputing the expert´s testimony.

After hearing evidence from Sophie, Judge Cross dismissed suggestions that Sophie was exaggerating her injuries and claims of contributory negligence. Saying that he found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, Judge Cross awarded her €500,000 compensation for an injury caused by broken glass – €170,000 for Sophie´s past and future pain and suffering, €135,000 for her loss of earnings and €195,000 special damages for costs Sophie has incurred.

Employee Awarded Compensation for Falling Down Stairs at Dunnes Stores

A checkout operator from Wexford has been awarded €81,500 compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores after a hearing at the High Court.

Jean O´Reilly was working as a checkout operator at her local Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square, Wexford, when – on 9th December 2011 – she fell down a flight of stairs due to losing her footing while reading notices on the staff noticeboard.

An ambulance took Jean to hospital, where she received treatment for soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. Jean had to wear a neck brace for six weeks to support her head while she was unable to work, and she also underwent a course of physiotherapy to the damaged soft tissues so that they could recover their strength.

Jean applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores, but her employed failed to consent to the assessment being conducted. Jean was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim for compensation through the courts, and she sought legal advice.

The claim for compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores was heard at the end of last week. At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam heard that the staff noticeboard was placed too close to the top of the stairs and that there was no handrail along one side of the staircase that would have enabled Jean to arrest her fall before she was injured.

Judge Fullam found in Jean´s favour and said that Dunnes Stores had failed in its statutory duty of care to prevent the risk of injuries to its staff. He awarded Jean €81,500 compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores, comprising of €65,000 general damages for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity Jean had experienced, and €16,500 special damages for her loss of income and costs she had incurred.

Former Picker Awarded €153,150 Compensation for a Warehouse Injury

A former picker has been awarded €153,150 compensation for a warehouse injury caused by the failure to provide adequate training for heavy lifting duties.

In October 2012, Salmovir Spes (47) was employed as a picker at the Windcanton distribution centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. His role involved lifting goods due to be distributed to twenty-four Supervalu supermarkets in the area, and loading them onto trolleys for forward transportation.

On October 29th, Salmovir was lifting five trays of yoghurts from a pallet when he experienced a sharp pain in his back. He went home to rest, but was unable to return to work because of his back injury. Salmovir remained on sick pay until being made redundant in 2014.

Alleging that his injury was due to a failure to provide adequate training for heavy lifting duties, Salmovir claimed compensation for a warehouse injury against his employers. He also alleged he was set an unreasonably high “pick rate” of 1,200 picks per seven-and-a-half hour shift.

The claim was denied by Windcanton, and Salmovir was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue compensation for a warehouse injury through the courts. His case was recently heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barr heard that employees were required to take short cuts in order to meet their pick rate each day, and dismissed claims by Windcanton that Salmovir had contributed to his injury by his own negligence. The judge also dismissed allegations that Salmovir was singled out for heavy lifting duties because of his nationality.

The judge awarded Salmovir €153,150 compensation for a warehouse injury, saying he was satisfied that the plaintiff had suffered a significant injury to his lower back due to his employer´s negligence. Judge Barr added he accepted that Salmovir continued to experience pain from his injury that rendered him “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life”.

€15,000 Kitchen Burns Injury Compensation Awarded at Court

A chef has been awarded €15,000 kitchen burns injury compensation after a judge heard that a hose used for cleaning the kitchen was not fit for purpose.

Shijun Liu was usually employed as a chef at the Howards Way Restaurant in Rathgar. However, in March 2013, he was working at the venue´s sister establishment in Churchtown, when he attempted to help a kitchen cleaner who was trying to free the kinks in a domestic hose used to clean the kitchen.

As Shijun and the cleaner tried to untangle the hose, scalding water was suddenly sprayed at the chef. Shijun – who was unfamiliar with the cleaning practises at the Churchtown establishment – was taken to the VHI Clinic in nearby Dundrum, where he was treated for severe scald burns on his ankle.

Due to the nature of his injury, Shijun was unable to return to work for two weeks. He subsequently claimed kitchen burns injury compensation against his employer – Declan Howard trading as Howards Way Restaurant – but Howard denied his consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of the claim.

The Injuries Board issued Shijun with an authorisation to pursue kitchen burns injury compensation through the courts. After seeking advice from a solicitor, Shijun continued with his legal action, and a hearing to determine liability for his injury took place earlier this week at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the hose used to clean the Churchtown restaurant was not fit for purpose as it could not withstand the heat of the water and softened the more it was used. Judge Groarke found in Shijun´s favour and awarded him €15,000 kitchen burns injury compensation – commenting that he had found Shijun´s testimony very compelling.

Judge Increases Settlement of Crèche Scar Injury Compensation Claim

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has increased the settlement of a five-year-old´s crèche scar injury compensation claim from €40,000 to €55,000.

Ruth Reilly was just two years of age when, in October 2013, she was left unattended by staff at the Giraffe Childcare Crèche in Navan, County Meath. While she was alone, Ruth tripped and fell – banging her head against a wall of the facility and sustaining a deep cut to her forehead.

An ambulance was called, and Ruth received treatment for her injury at the crèche before being taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda to have the wound closed with stitches. As a result of her accident, Ruth has a permanent and visible scar on her forehead.

Through her father, Seamus Reilly, Ruth made a crèche scar injury compensation claim – alleging that her accident and injury was a result of the staff´s negligence. Liability was admitted by the crèche’s owners and a €40,000 offer of compensation was made.

Although acceptable to Ruth´s parents, as the crèche scar injury compensation claim had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be resolved. Consequently the case went to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the approval hearing, Judge Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident and that Ruth is very conscious of the scar on her forehead. Judge Groarke agreed that it was “nasty and noticeable at a conversational distance”. The judge then said that the €40,000 offer of settlement did not reflect the full value of Ruth´s crèche scar injury compensation claim.

The judge increased the settlement to €55,000 – commenting that increase was not a criticism of the way in which the defendant had handled the case.

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.

Company Prosecuted for Crushed Leg Injury at Work

A manufacturer of concrete sports equipment has been prosecuted for breaches of health and safety regulations that resulted in a crushed leg injury at work.

The company – Bendcrete Leisure Ltd of Stalybridge in Manchester – is well-known for the manufacture of concrete sports equipment such as climbing walls and skate parks. The company also manufactures concrete table tennis tables for outdoor use.

On 20th February 2015, five of the concrete table tennis tables were being prepared for transportation – the first four having been balanced on top of two half-empty resin barrels. As the fifth one was lowered, the weight was too much for the resin barrels and the stack collapsed.

The unnamed employee had been operating the lifting crane from alongside the stack of table tennis tables and, when the stack collapsed, the tables fell on top of him – crushing his legs. Colleagues were able to release the employee and he was taken to Wythenshaw Hospital by ambulance.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSE) conducted an investigation into the crushed leg injury at work and found that the task of manoeuvring the concrete table tennis tables had not been planned, supervised or carried out safely.

The HSE subsequently prosecuted Bendcrete Leisure Ltd for breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and, at Trafford Magistrates´ Court, directors of Bendcrete Leisure Ltd plead guilty to the charges.

After hearing that the employee had spent ten weeks in hospital recovering from his crushed leg injury at work and has been unable to work since, magistrates fined the company £12,000 for the health and safety breaches and ordered the company to pay an additional £3,495 in costs.

NI Pipe Company Fined £24,000 for Fatal Forklift Accident at Work

A manufacturer of plastic drainage pipes has been fined £24,000 for health and safety failings that resulted in a fatal forklift accident at work.

The manufacturer – Cherry Pipes Ltd of Dungannon in County Tyrone – was prosecuted by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) following an investigation into a fatal forklift accident at work.

According to the inspectors´ report, a 49-year-old Polish employee – Arkadiusz Makosa – was fatally injured when a forklift he was driving overturned at the company´s premises in Crumlin, County Antrim. Tragically, Mr Makosa was crushed beneath the weight of the vehicle´s safety frame that was there to protect him.

The inspectors discovered that Mr Makosa was employed as a general operative by the manufacturing company and not as a forklift truck operator, and had therefore received no professional training on manoeuvring the vehicle. Cherry Pipes Ltd was charged with four breaches of health and safety laws that resulted in the fatal forklift accident at work:

  • Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety Work at Work Order (NI) 1978.
  • Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999.
  • Regulation 9(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999.
  • Regulation 10(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000.

At Antrim Crown Court, David Cherry – the managing director of Cherry Pipes Ltd – called the death of Mr Makosa “a tragic loss”. After pleading guilty to the charges brought against the company, Mr Cherry told the court that the company had conducted a full review of its internal health and safety procedures to ensure that there will be no repeat of the fatal forklift accident at work.

Cherry Pipes Ltd was fined £6,000 for each breach of health and safety legislation and ordered to pay £854 – following which Health and Safety Executive inspector Kevin Campbell said: “Employers must ensure that operators of forklift trucks are properly trained, competent and authorised to operate lift trucks.”

He added: “No one should be allowed to operate a forklift truck unless they have received the appropriate training and instruction. It is also essential that all employers provide health and safety information to their employees that is clear and easily understood.”

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.

Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation Claim for a Fatal Accident at Work

Mr Justice Kevin Cross has approved a €500,000 settlement of a compensation claim for a fatal accident at work made by the widow of a man killed in 2008.

Declan Byrne (31) from Ballyhaunis in County Mayo was working on the construction of a gym at the Connacht Sportsground in Galway on 30th April 2008 when the tragic accident happened. Due to the blockwork of the construction being at an advanced stage, Declan had chosen to use a scaffold and bottle jack – rather than a teleporter or a crane – to support a 1.4 tonne steel beam while he realigned it.

When Declan removed the last of the six bolts holding the beam in place, the beam fell on him – causing him to suffer fatal injuries. An investigation into Declan´s death resulted in charges being brought against his employer – CDM Steel Ltd – but the company were acquitted from alleged breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act at a hearing of Galway Circuit Criminal Court in 2013.

At the end of the criminal hearing, Judge Rory McCabe was critical of CDM Steel Ltd for failing to have a construction supervisor on the site and for an “appalling lack of communication” that contributed to Declan´s death. Subsequently, Declan´s widow – Dolores – sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for a fatal accident at work against CDM Steel Ltd and three other defendants.

The defendants denied that their negligence had resulted in Declan´s death and the case was scheduled to be heard at the High Court. However, prior to the case being heard, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed that a settlement of the compensation claim for a fatal accident at work had been agreed amounting to €500,000.

Judge Cross approved the settlement and told the family that, although the settlement of the compensation claim for a fatal accident at work was a good one – and that he was happy to approve it – “nothing can replace what you have lost”.

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.

HSA Releases Details of Workplace Fatalities in Ireland

The Health and Safety Authority has released details of workplace fatalities in Ireland for 2015, with fifty-five employees suffering fatal injuries at work.

Although the number of workplace fatalities in Ireland was the same as in 2014, there were significant changes in the distribution of fatal accidents at work. Fatalities in agriculture accounted for eighteen reported deaths compared to thirty deaths in 2014 and included the deaths of three children who were struck by falling objects or moving vehicles.

Construction workplace fatalities in Ireland increased from eight in 2014 to eleven in 2015 and the fishing industry also saw an increase in fatal accidents from one in 2014 to five in 2015. Two-thirds of work-related deaths occurred in businesses with fewer than ten employees or where the victim was self-employed – mainly in agriculture, construction and fishing.

Twenty-one of the workplace fatalities in Ireland were related to accidents involving moving vehicles, while fifteen employees were killed as a result of a fall from height and thirteen others died as a result of being crushed or trapped by machinery. Of the remaining workplace fatalities in Ireland, the majority were attributable to drowning.

Brian Higgisson – the Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority – said the Authority will be looking for further improvements and reductions in accidents during 2016. He said in a press release: “All work-related deaths are tragic and while we must cautiously welcome the reduction in agriculture fatalities, it is still the most dangerous occupation and that needs to change. There are high levels of safety and health awareness in Irish workplaces and we must ensure that this translates to changes in behaviour and fewer accidents in all the sectors this year.”

Mr Higgisson continued: “We will continue to direct resources to the high-risk sectors, but health issues such as those caused by exposure to asbestos, dust, noise and manual handling are also major risks in the workplace. These hazards account for more working days lost than injuries and we intend to increase our focus on these topics during 2016.”

Claim against an Airline for being Scalded by a Hot Drink made in New York

An injury compensation claim against an airline for being scalded by a hot drink has been made in New York against the Irish airline Aer Lingus.

The claim against an airline for being scalded by a hot drink was made by the mother of a young boy, who suffered burn injuries “as a result of scalding hot liquid” being spilled on him during a flight from Dublin to John F Kennedy International in June 2014.

The boy´s mother alleges that her son´s injuries were attributable to the negligence of Aer Lingus´ flight crew and that he is now “deprived of his enjoyment of life, pursuits and interests and in the future will be deprived on the same”.

Aer Lingus denies any claims that a member of its flight crew was negligent but, under the Montreal Convention, is liable to pay injury compensation if any passenger suffers any injury during a flight – irrespective of who was at fault for the injury.

Negotiations to settle the claim against an airline for being scalded by a hot drink are scheduled to get underway later this month and Aer Lingus has requested copies of the boy´s medical records to assess compensation for being scalded by a hot drink the boy may be entitled to.

Another Claim for being Scalded by a Hot Drink already in Mediation

This is the second claim against an airline for being scalded by a hot drink that has been made against Aer Lingus in recent months. Last August, another claim was filed against Aer Lingus in Jacksonville, Florida, on behalf of a ten-year-old girl scalded when hot tea was spilled onto her during a flight from Dublin to Orlando the previous month.

The girl´s parents are claiming $75,000 compensation from Aer Lingus on the grounds that – prior to her injury – their daughter was a “successful amateur competitive surfer”. The parents allege that the injuries sustained by the girl around her lower torso and upper thighs have caused her to suffer embarrassment and mental anguish as well as physical pain and suffering.

In the claim against an airline for being scalded by a hot drink, the parents allege that Aer Lingus failed to serve the tea “at a safe temperature” and failed to alert passengers to the “known dangers and the excessive and unreasonable temperature of the hot tea”. They also allege that Aer Lingus failed “to properly train flight attendants of the dangers of serving excessively hot tea to its passengers”.

Aer Lingus is disputing how much compensation for being scalded by a hot drink the girl is entitled to, but her parents are arguing that they will have to spend “great sums of money” on their daughter´s future medical care in addition to how much the accident has already cost them. This claim against an airline for being scalded by a hot drink is in mediation.

Aer Lingus Settles Previous Claim against an Airline for being Scalded by a Hot Drink

A much earlier claim against an airline for being scalded by a hot drink – this time in Ireland – has already been settled by Aer Lingus. On this occasion, five-year-old Sophie Gorman from Knocklyon in Dublin was scalded on an Aer Lingus flight from London, when tea placed on the tray in front of her mother spilled onto her leg due to the lid not being properly affixed.

On her daughter´s behalf, Sophie´s mother made a claim against an airline for being scalded by a hot drink. Aer Lingus did not contest the claim and made an offer of €7,000 compensation. In July 2012, the settlement offer was approved by Mr Justice Matthew Deery after hearing that Sophie´s burn had healed considerably after antibiotic cream prescribed by her GP had been applied, but that Sophie had a permanent skin pigmentation irregularity due to her injury.

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.

Girl´s Claim for the Loss of Sight in a Car Crash Resolved at Court

A teenage girl´s claim for the loss of sight in a car crash has been resolved at the High Court with the approval of a €1.3 million settlement.

On 26th November 2005, Beth Cullen lost the sight in her left eye as a result of being injured in a car crash on the “Nine Bends” stretch of the N11 near Ballinameesda. In addition to suffering an eye injury, Beth – from Kilmacanogue in County Wicklow – lost her hearing in her left ear and her sense of smell.

On behalf of his daughter, William Cullen made a compensation claim for the loss of sight in a car crash against Beth´s mother – Caroline Barrett – who had been driving Beth and who was considered responsible for causing the crash through a lack of care and attention.

The claim alleged that Beth´s mother had failed to steer, stop, swerve or manage the car prior to the crash. It was also claimed that, through her lack of care and attention, Barrett had demonstrated a lack of adequate regard for the safety of her daughter.

Liability was conceded by Barrett´s insurers, and a €1.3 million settlement was agreed. As the claim for the loss of sight in a car crash had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Beth´s best interests.

The approval hearing at the High Court took place recently before Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross was told the circumstances of the accident and the injuries that Beth – who was six years old at the time – had sustained.

After hearing that Beth was doing well at school despite her difficulties, Judge Cross approved the settlement and wished Beth well for the future. The settlement will now be paid into an interest-bearing account and managed by the High Court until Beth turns eighteen years of age in 2017.

Dublin Man Awarded Compensation for Back Injury in Factory Accident

A man from Stoneybatter in Dublin has been awarded €46,000 compensation for a back injury in a factory accident after a hearing at the High Court.

Daniel Hanley (24) made his claim for compensation for a back injury in a factory accident after slipping of small pieces of granite that had been spilled onto the floor and falling at the Castolin Eutectic manufacturing plant in the Magna Business Park.

Daniel – who had been pushing a pallet truck at the time – was taken to hospital, where he received treatment for soft tissue damage. His injury caused him to have six weeks off from work, and his back still troubles him and prevents him from leading a fully active life.

Daniel applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a back injury in a factory accident. However, Castolin Eutectic declined to give its consent for an assessment to proceed, and Daniel was given an Authorisation to pursue his claim through the court system.

The case was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who listened to allegations that the floor surface at the Magna Business Park plant was not fit and suitable for purpose, and that Castolin Eutectic had been negligent by failing to implement a safe system of work.

Representatives of Castolin Eutectic argued that Daniel´s accident was due to his own negligence, but the judge also heard there had been a number of slip and fall accidents due to graphite spills in the period leading up to Daniel´s accident.

The judge ruled in Daniel´s favour – commenting that the company´s management had failed to implement safety measures that could have prevented Daniel´s accident. Judge Cross commented there was no suggestion that Daniel had been doing anything wrong or had contributed to the cause of his accident.

He added that, based on the testimonies he had heard, it was likely that there was at least a small amount of graphite on the floor at the time Daniel slipped and fell. Judge Cross awarded Daniel €46,000 compensation for a back injury in a factory accident.

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.

Plaintiffs Awarded Compensation for being Rear-Ended by a Van

Four plaintiffs have been awarded compensation for being rear-ended by a van despite the defendants questioning the circumstances of the accident.

On 18th October 2011, Mary O´Reilly from Charleville in County Cork was driving her husband´s SUV to Rathkeale. Travelling as passengers in the SUV were Lisa O´Reilly, Caitriona McDonagh and Breda McCarthy.

As the vehicle was approaching Rathkeale, Mary slowed on the approach to a roundabout. Just then she was rear-ended by a hire van driven by Jeremiah O´Brien. Mary and her three passengers all suffered injuries in the accident – but none were injured seriously enough to require immediate medical attention.

Mary later started to experience pains in her back and up her arms and neck. She attended Mallow Hospital, where she received treatment to relieve the pain and help her sleep at night. Lisa, Catriona and Breda all developed similar back pain symptoms within a short period of time.

All four women in the SUV claimed compensation for being rear-ended in a van from O´Brien, from Enterprise Rent a Car and from the Motors Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). Mary´s husband – William – also claimed compensation for the material damage to his vehicle.

The car rental company and MIBI contested the validity of the claim. They argued that the circumstances of the accident were questionable and that two of the plaintiffs had received personal injury awards for similar accidents in the past. They also alleged that William O´Reilly and Jeremiah O´Brien were known to each other.

The claim for compensation for being rear-ended by a van went to the Circuit Court in Limerick, where it was heard by Judge Karen Fergus. Counsel for the defendants argued that the circumstances of the accident did not stand up to scrutiny, and Garda William McElligott gave evidence that, when he got to the scene of the accident, he did not note any damage to either vehicle.

However, after hearing evidence from four of the five plaintiffs – Lisa O´Reilly had settled her claim out of court – the judge found in their favour. She awarded Mary O´Reilly €7,500 compensation for being rear-ended by a van, Caitriona McDonagh €10,000 and Breda McCarthy €12,000. William O´Reilly was also awarded €4,800 for the material damage to his vehicle.

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.

Electrician´s Claim for a Shoulder Injury against Iarnrod Éireann Settled during Court Hearing

An electrician´s claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann has been settled for an undisclosed amount during a hearing to establish liability.

Padraic Reddin (38) was employed as an electrician by Iarnrod Éireann at its depot in Fairview when, in February 2012, he was assigned the task of changing a front destination scroll on a Dart train. As Padraic lifted the replacement destination scroll up towards its mounting, he felt a sharp pain across his shoulders and upper body.

Although Padraic stopped what he was doing and rested for a while before completing the task, the pain continued and affected his everyday life. Padriac´s sleeping was disrupted and he also felt discomfort in his shoulder when performing relatively light tasks such as making a cup of tea. Padraic attended his GP, but the pain continued in his shoulder for several months.

Padraic also reported his shoulder injury to a superior, but the superior refused to complete an accident report form because of the passage of time there had been since Padraic had suffered his injury. Padraic sought legal advice and made a claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann.

Unfortunately, when Padraic sent an application for an assessment to the Injuries Board, Iarnrod Éireann refused to consent to the assessment of his claim. The Injuries Board subsequently issued Padraic with an authorisation to pursue his claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann through the courts.

The hearing to establish liability in Padraic´s claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann was scheduled to be heard last week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that a value of €38,000 compensation had been put on Padraic’s claim if it was successful.

The judge also heard that the destination scroll Padraic had been assigned to change weighed 10kg and it was situated at a height of 2 metres. It was argued that, to avoid the risk of injury, the task should have been assigned to two employees rather than just one.

Legal representatives of Iarnrod Éireann then requested a brief adjournment. When the hearing was resumed, Judge Groarke was told that the claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann had been settled for an undisclosed amount and that the case could be struck out. Judge Groarke awarded Padraic his legal costs and closed the hearing.

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.

Settlement of Claim against the Giraffe Crèche Refused by Judge

The proposed settlement of a claim against the Giraffe Crèche has been refused by a judge on the basis that it is inappropriate for the level of alleged injury.

In 2011, Emilie Kiely started attending the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, Dublin when she was eight months old. The following September, Emilie started exhibiting signs of anxiety as she was being prepared to go to the crèche – a change in behaviour which coincided with a move to the “Toddlers Room”.

In May 2013, the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre was one of three crèches exposed by the Prime Time documentary “A Breach of Trust” for alleged child abuse. Emilie´s parents reacted to seeing one of their daughter´s minders screaming at children by withdrawing Emilie from the crèche.

Emilie´s father – John Kiely from Sandyford in Dublin – sought legal advice and subsequently made a claim against the Giraffe Crèche on his daughter´s behalf. In his legal action John claimed that Emilie had suffered stress, emotional upset and terror due to the verbal and physical abuse she had suffered at the crèche.

The owners of the childcare facility contested the claim against the Giraffe Crèche, but made an offer of €15,000 compensation without an admission of liability. As the offer of compensation was in settlement of a claim brought on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Emilie´s best interests before it could be accepted.

At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge James O´Donohue heard that Emilie would cry “No crèche! No crèche!” before going to the childcare facility and was clearly scared of attending the Giraffe Crèche. The judge ruled that the proposed settlement of the claim against the Giraffe Crèche was inappropriate for the level of injury that it was claimed Emilie had suffered.

Judge O´Donohue said that it would be in Emilie´s best interests if the claim against the Giraffe Crèche was heard by another judge at a full hearing. The judge´s decision has implications for up to twenty-five other claims for compensation that have been made against the crèches featured in the Prime Time documentary.

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.

Hit and Run Claim against MIBI Resolved during Lunch Break

A hit and run claim against MIBI has been resolved during the first day of a hearing after a division of liability was agreed during the lunch break.

Twenty-five year old Anthony Driver was on his way to meet a friend for a lift to his home in Enniskerry, County Wicklow, when – on 2nd November 2012 – he was hit by a car that temporarily stopped, but then drove off again.

Anthony was found by a Garda lying in the road at the junction of Sidmonton Avenue and Meath Road in Bray. An ambulance was summoned, and Anthony was taken to hospital suffering from a fractured spine, a lacerated liver, fractured ribs, and various internal injuries.

Anthony spent four days in intensive care and a further five days recovering from his injuries on a general ward. Two and a half years after his discharge he experiences difficulty eating and he still suffers with pains in his back.

As the driver of the car that hit Anthony could not be identified, Anthony made a hit and run claim against MIBI – the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland that is responsible for paying injury compensation when the driver of a vehicle cannot be traced or is found to be uninsured.

MIBI contested liability for Anthony´s claim – arguing that the Garda who found him had described his condition as “grossly intoxicated”. MIBI said that on the balance of probabilities Anthony was likely partially responsible for his injuries due to his own lack of care.

As liability for Anthony´s hit and run claim against MIBI was contested, the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for Anthony to take his claim to court. The case was heard last week before Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns.

When the hearing started, MIBI repeated its claim that, because of his condition, Anthony should accept some level of responsibility for his injuries. Under cross-examination, Anthony admitted to Judge Kearns that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Talk of a negotiated settlement of Anthony´s hit and run claim against MIBI started as the court was adjourned for the lunch break. On his return, Judge Kearns was informed that Anthony had agreed to an undisclosed settlement of his claim after accepting 75% contributory negligence and that the case could be struck.

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.

Farmyard Fall Injury Compensation Claim Settled at Hearing

A man who lost his senses of taste and smell in a farmyard accident has settled his farmyard fall injury compensation claim at a hearing of the High Court.

Con Oxley from Cullahill in County Laois was preparing to install light fittings at a barn on a farm in nearby Ballacolla when, on 11 August 2008, a plank suspended between two boxes cracked as he stepped onto it.

Con fell 2.5 metres (eight feet) onto the floor of the barn owned by farmer Mark Quigley, hitting his head on the floor of the barn and suffering brain damage. In addition to losing his senses of taste and smell in the accident, Con lost partial sight in his left eye.

After seeking legal advice, Con made a farmyard fall injury compensation claim against Quigley – alleging that the planks he had been provided with to navigate the barn had been unsuitable for the job and that Quigley had failed to provide any form of intermediate support beneath the planks to ensure his safety.

Quigley denied that he was responsible for Con´s injuries and the Injuries Board issued an authorisation so that Con could pursue his farmyard fall injury compensation claim through the courts. However, before a date for a hearing could be set, liability was agreed on a 50/50 basis – with Con agreeing to a €300,000 compensation settlement without an admission of liability from Quigley.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the agreement was a good one in the circumstances. Had Con´s farmyard fall injury compensation claim gone to a full hearing, the judge said, Con´s contributory negligence for failing to inspect the planks would have been called into question. Judge Cross approved the settlement and closed the case.

€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.

Compensation for an Injury on the Luas Approved in Favour of Schoolgirl

The settlement of a schoolgirl´s claim for compensation for an injury on the Luas has been approved by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court.

On 14th February 2008, Elaine Heron from Raheny in Dublin was boarding a Luas at Connelly Street with her two children Aoife and Kate. Six-year-old Aoife boarded the Luas first, but as Elaine started pushing the buggy containing Kate onto the train, the automatic doors closed – trapping the buggy.

The doors opened due to the blockage and gave Elaine enough time to pull the buggy out; but as Aoife started to disembark from the Luas to join her mother and sister on the platform, the automatic doors closed once again – this time trapping Aoife´s head between them.

An ambulance was called to the Connelly Street stop and Aoife was treated for a head injury by paramedics. She was later examined by the family´s GP, who diagnosed bruising and a soft tissue injury. As a consequence of her accident, Aoife – now thirteen years of age – still has a scar on the side of her head and has developed a fear of travelling on the Luas.

Through her mother, Aoife claimed compensation for an injury on the Luas against Veolia Transport Dublin Light Rail Ltd – the operators of the service – alleging negligence and breach of duty. The transport company initially denied its liability for Aoife´s head injury and prepared a full defence of the claim.

However, after a period of negotiation between solicitors representing the two parties, a settlement of €25,000 compensation for an injury on the Luas was agreed – a settlement which had to be approved by a judge as Aoife is under the age of eighteen.

Consequently the details of the schoolgirl´s accident and injury were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. Judge Groarke was also told that Aoife may need psychotherapy in the future to overcome her fear of travelling on the Luas, after which he approved the settlement of compensation for an injury on the Luas and wished Aoife all the best for the future.

Settlement of Claim for Injuries in a Shop Accident Fails to get Approval

The settlement of a claim for injuries in a shop accident has failed to get approval in court after a judge said a more appropriate settlement could be determined in a full hearing.

In July 2012, fourteen-year-old Shauna Kelly was in the Lower O´Connell Street branch of Eason´s in Dublin, browsing through the selection of electronic books on display, when an electronic advertising board fell from the wall above her and hit the young girl on her head and arm.

Shauna was taken to Dublin´s Crumlin Children´s Hospital suffering with concussion. X-rays revealed that no bones had been broken, and Shauna was treated for soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. A splint was also attached to her right wrist to give it some extra support while further soft tissue injuries were healing.

After receiving legal advice, Shauna made a claim for injuries in a shop accident through her mother – Kathy Maher from Ballyfermot in Dublin. While the application for assessment was being reviewed by the Injuries Board, an offer of compensation was made by the parties against whom the claim was made – Eason´s and the company that had installed the electronic advertising board – David James Retail Solutions Ltd of Edenderry in County Offaly.

As Shauna was only fourteen years of age at the time of the accident – and therefore a legal minor – the offer of compensation for injuries in a shop accident had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be resolved. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard the circumstances of Shauna´s accident and the injuries that she had suffered.

Judge Groarke was told that for six months after the accident Shauna suffered a series of severe headaches and that, two and a half years later, she still experiences some stiffness in her back. Shauna´s barrister told Judge Groarke that an offer of €13,500 compensation had been made, but that he was not happy to recommend approval of the offer as he did not believe it adequately compensated Shauna for her injuries.

Judge Groarke agreed with the barrister, and he declined to approve the offer of settlement – saying a more appropriate settlement of Shauna´s claim for injuries in a shop accident could be determined in a full hearing of the case. The judge adjourned the approval hearing for a date to be scheduled later this year in the Circuit Civil Court.