Tag: child injury claims

Man Sentenced for Historic Child Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toxic Chemical Exposure Claims at Casement Airbase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Reluctant to Approve Compensation for an Eyebrow Injury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanofi Acknowledges Valproate Birth Defect Claims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Approves Settlement of Spanish Holiday Injury Claim

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of Compensation for a Child´s Fall Injury Approved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

TUSLA Delaying Investigations into Residential Care Child Abuse Claims

The Irish Mirror has alleged that the HSE Child and Family Agency – TUSLA – is delaying investigations in to residential care child abuse claims.

The Irish Mirror´s allegations are based on details the newspaper has received relating to complaints made to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the length of time it has taken TUSLA to resolve them.

HIQA does not have the statutory authority to investigate allegations of poor standards in private and voluntarily run care home and foster homes, and consequently it is the role of TUSLA to investigate residential care child abuse claims in such cases.

The residential care child abuse claims published by the newspaper reveal an alarming catalogue of neglect and a failure in the duty of care owed to children by the homes in which they are placed. They also reveal how the HSE´s Child and Family Agency is also failing in its duty of care.

In one scenario published by the Irish Mirror, it took eighty days for the agency to respond to a series of communications initiated by a concerned grandparent. In another scenario it was only following the intervention of Gardai that a social worker was removed from her post.

Other examples of residential child abuse claims that were referred to HIQA after failing to be investigated by TUSLA included allegations of physical and sexual abuse of two children in foster care in Wexford and allegations of bullying and sexual abuse at a children´s residential centre in Waterford

HIQA received residential care child abuse claims at a rate of more than one a week between 2012 and 2014, prompting Fianna Fail’s spokesman for children – Robert Troy – to claim that TUSLA was in “dereliction of duty”.

A spokesperson for TUSLA told the Irish Mirror: “[TUSLA] takes complaints from every source very seriously. All complaints are looked into within 30 working days. In the event that it takes longer, TUSLA keeps the complainant updated on a regular basis”.

Settlement of Compensation for Dog Bite Injury Approved in Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

Settlement of Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries Approved at Court Hearing

A settlement of compensation for catastrophic injuries in favour of a teenager who was hit by a bus has been approved after a hearing at the High Court.

Carlos Tesch (18) was walking with friends along Herbert Road in Bray, County Wicklow, on 4th February 2009, when he ran across the street in order to avoid a group of local youths who had previously verbally threatened the young Spaniard – who was twelve years of age at the time – and his friends.

As he ran across the street, Carlos was hit by a bus coming from behind him, and he sustained serious head injuries – including a fracture to the base of his skull – which has left Carlos unable to speak or walk more than a few paces unaided, and reliant on the permanent care of his parents – Hans and Mar Tesch.

Through his father, Carlos claimed compensation for the catastrophic injuries he sustained in the bus accident against Dublin bus – the operators of the bus that hit him. Dublin Bus denied their liability for Carlos´ injuries, stating that the driver could not have foreseen the teenager running out into the street.

However, a High Court ruling last year found Dublin Bus 70% responsible; for although the bus had been travelling at 40Km/h in a 50 Km/h zone, the driver had been distracted by chatting to a passenger shortly before the accident occurred.

The High Court´s decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court upheld the original verdict and the case was returned to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard the circumstances of Carlos´ accident and that a €9 million settlement of compensation for his catastrophic injuries had been agreed.

The judge was also told that Hans Tesch now cared for his son full-time – after having given up his managerial job – and had twice taken him to China for stem cell treatment.

Carlos currently attends the Spanish Institute during school hours and – approving the settlement of compensation for catastrophic injuries – Ms Justice Mary Irvine said she was fully aware of what parents had to give up for their children in cases of catastrophic injuries.

Settlement of Child´s Claim for Injury Due to Faulty Footpath Approved in the High Court

A young girl has had the €125,000 settlement of her claim for an injury due to a faulty footpath approved at the High Court.

Nine-year-old Charlotte Clapperton (now 16 years of age) was riding her electric scooter on May31st 2007 when it hit an uneven section of the footpath on Tyrconnell Road in Inchicore, Dublin, and Charlotte fell from the scooter – severely injuring her left elbow.

The damage to her elbow meant that Charlotte had to undergo two operations, and she still has a 10cm scar on her forearm. Her elbow still troubles her, and Charlotte is unable to participate in her former pastimes of gymnastics and Irish dancing.

Charlotte made a claim for an injury due to a faulty footpath through her mother – Collette Clapperton of Bluebell in Dublin – on the basis that the footpath was in a poor state due to the roots of nearby trees pushing the flagstones up, and that the footpath was in such a condition to make it a safety hazard.

Dublin City Council – who had responsibility for the maintenance of the tress and the footpath – admitted liability for Charlotte´s injuries and a settlement of injury compensation for an injury due to a faulty footpath amounting to €125,000 was agreed.

However, before Charlotte´s injury claim could be completely resolved, the settlement first had to be approved by a judge as the claim had been brought on behalf of a minor. Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, the circumstances of Charlotte´s accident and injury were retold to Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

Judge Irvine approved the settlement, after inspecting Charlotte´s injury and stating that it did not look as bad as she had anticipated. She told Charlotte that she hoped the injury was not going to affect her in the future.

Lacerated Finger Injury Compensation Approved in the Circuit Court

A young girl from Dublin, who cut her finger in the café of Debenhams in Henry Street, has had a settlement of lacerated finger injury compensation approved in court.

Naoise Walsh (now nine years of age) from Bluebell in Dublin was visiting the Debenhams store in Henry Street with her mother when, in March 2011, she tried to get a drink carton out of the fridge in the Debenhams café.

As she did so her finger got stuck in the metal grill of the shelf; and, when Naoise tried to free her finger, she cut it badly and it started bleeding profusely.

An ambulance was called, and Naoise was taken to the Temple Street Children´s Hospital, where her lacerated finger was treated and dressed.

Naoise returned to the hospital the following day and, under a general anaesthetic, her finger was checked for signs of tendon damage.

Thankfully, no permanent injury was discovered and, after recovering from the anaesthetic, Naoise was allowed home with stitches in her finger.

Through her mother – Amy Walsh – Naoise made a claim for lacerated finger injury compensation against Debenhams Retail Ireland Ltd., who admitted liability for Naoise´s injury.

A settlement of lacerated finger injury compensation amounting to €10,000 was agreed without the Injuries Board´s intervention, but – like all child injury compensation settlements in Ireland – the settlement first had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently, the case was brought before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, who after hearing how Naoise sustained her injury, approved the settlement of lacerated finger injury compensation and closed the case.

Judge Awards Compensation for Injuries Sustained at a Birthday Party

A judge has awarded compensation for injuries sustained at a birthday party to a young boy who was hit on the head by a toy brick during his own birthday celebrations.

The accident occurred to the unnamed child as he was celebrating his sixth birthday at the Malin Head Community Centre in Donegal on November 6th 2012. According to his family´s solicitor, the child had been left unsupervised during the birthday celebrations and had been hit on the head by another child with a toy brick.

Judge Keenan Johnson was told that the child has sustained serious head injuries and been scarred for life. The family´s solicitor produced a report from a consultant plastic surgeon in which the consultant confirmed “the boy suffered a 2cm scar, which is narrow and of a pale nature but it is permanent and has led to a minor degree of disfigurement.”

The judge heard that the Malin head Community Centre had offered the boy´s family €15,000 compensation for the injuries sustained at the birthday party, but the judge was not satisfied that the settlement was sufficient. After examining the boy´s injuries in his private chambers, the judge suggested that a settlement of €20,000 was more appropriate.

Representatives of the Malin Head Community Centre immediately contacted their insurers, who agreed to the revised settlement. Judge Johnson subsequently approved the settlement and the case was closed.

Settlement of Compensation for Injuries to a Foetus Approved in Court

A settlement of compensation for injuries to a foetus has been approved in court after a judge heard how a girl suffered respiratory distress syndrome at birth due her mother being involved in a car accident two days before she was born

Judge Matthew Deery at the Circuit Civil Court heard how Martina Sheehan from Rathfarnham in Dublin had been driving the family car along Templeroan Road on 13th April 1999, when she was in collision with a vehicle driven by Elaine O’Connor – also from Rathfarnham.

Although neither driver was hurt in the road traffic accident, the shock of the collision was allegedly responsible for Martina going into early onset labour at thirty-six weeks, and two days later delivering her daughter – Aoife – at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

The prematurely delivered Aoife immediately went into respiratory distress and was placed on a ventilator in the hospital´s neo-natal intensive care unit, where she remained critically ill for three weeks until she was able to breathe independently.

After seeking legal advice, Martina Sheehan made a claim for compensation for injuries to a foetus on behalf of her daughter; but insurers for Ms O´Connor denied their policyholder´s liability for Aoife´s injuries claiming that pre-term babies were more pre-disposed to respiratory distress and there was no medical evidence to support the claim that the accident was the cause of Aoife´s premature birth.

Furthermore, the insurers claimed, as Aoife had not yet been born she would be ineligible to receive compensation for injuries to a foetus. Nonetheless, solicitors representing Martina and Aoife pursued the claim and, after a lengthy period of negotiation, a settlement of compensation was agreed that would see Aoife receiving €17,800.

Approving the settlement of compensation for injuries to a foetus, Judge Deery said that Martina and Aoife´s solicitors had done a good job in securing a positive outcome as, in the circumstances, proving liability may have been difficult if the case had gone to trial.

Misdiagnosis and Prescription Errors Responsible in Most Claims for Negligence against GPs

Misdiagnosis and prescription errors have been identified as being the most common reasons for claims for negligence against GPs according to a report commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland.

The report – “The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” – was prepared by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin with the aim of identifying which areas of primary care needed specific attention when planning future educational strategies and developing risk management systems for primary healthcare practitioners.

The key findings of the report were published in the British Medical Journal and included:-

  • The misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer was the most common individual reasons for making claims for negligence against GPs.
  • The most frequently misdiagnosed cancers were breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the female genital tract.
  • The second most common grounds for successful negligence claims against GPs were prescription and medication errors.
  • The misdiagnosis of heart attacks also accounted for a significant number of claims for negligence against GPs and primary healthcare practitioners.
  • The most frequently misdiagnosed condition for children was appendicitis, but the incorrect diagnosis of meningitis accounted for 30% of compensation paid.
  • The annual prevalence of claims for negligence against GPs for missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis appears to be on the increase

Lead researcher for the report – Dr Emma Wallace – admitted that primary healthcare practitioners are referring patients to consultants more frequently, as the fear of litigation inhibits their willingness to make diagnoses. This situation is leading to patients´ conditions deteriorating unnecessarily and creating more pressure on an under-resourced health service.

Dr Wallace – who is herself a GP – acknowledged that claims for negligence against GPs were “not a perfect substitute for adverse events”, but said that when medical negligence claims are made against GPs, the medical practitioners involved often experience increased levels of stress – reducing the effectiveness of service they are able to offer, and placing more patients at risk of a delayed diagnosis or medication error.

She added “this systematic review is timely considering the increased interest in focusing on primary care as a way of improving patient care and safety” and she hoped that the report would provide an insight into the types of adverse effects in clinical practice and their causes, which would subsequently increase the standard of primary care and reduce the number claims for negligence against GPs in Ireland.

Compensation for Accidents in Childcare Centres Approved in Court

Two settlements of compensation for accidents in childcare centres were approved on the same day at the High Court in Dublin by Mr Justice Michael Peart.

The first of the compensation claims for accidents in childcare centres concerned a claim brought by the father of Ella Rogerson from Navan in County Meath against the Sandy Childcare Centre in Dunshaughlin.

Ella´s father claimed that an accident in June 2010, in which his daughter had suffered a serious eye injury, was due to negligence and a breach of care by the childcare facility.

The owners of the Sandy Childcare facility had originally denied the compensation claim for an accident in a childcare centre – contesting that they were not at fault when Ella was hit in the face by a jet of water from a hose.

However, as Mr Justice Michael Peart was told, a settlement amounting to €122,000 had been agreed upon and, after hearing the circumstances of Ella´s accident, the settlement was approved.

Judge Peart was again sitting when the case of three-year-old Lauren Torpey was brought before him. Lauren – from Rathgar in Dublin – had tripped at the Giraffe Childcare Centre in June 2011 and suffered a terrible laceration to her face when she had fallen against a sharp skirting board.

On this occasion, liability for the accident had been admitted, and a negotiated settlement of compensation for accidents in childcare centres had been accepted by both parties. Again, after listening to how Lauren sustained her injury, Judge Peart approved the settlement of compensation.

Injury Compensation due to Faulty Home Renovations Approved in Court

Two sisters, who suffered from breathing problems after a shower drain was incorrectly fitted in their family home, have had settlements of injury compensation due to faulty home renovations approved at the Circuit Civil Court.

Twins Abby and Chloe Croke from Raheny in Dublin both developed respiratory difficulties following renovations to their family home in 2008. The source of the problem – fumes from the negligently fitted shower drain – was not discovered for three years, during which time Chloe (now eleven years of age) was diagnosed with asthma.

Remedial work has since been carried out on the family´s bathroom, and the health of the whole family has improved; however, the girls´ mother – Ita Croke – made claims for injury compensation due to faulty home renovations on behalf of both girls against Alpha Engineering Heat Providers Ltd of Finglas, Dublin.

At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that offers of settlement in both claims for injury compensation had been made by Alpha Engineering Heat Providers Ltd without admission of liability.

After hearing that the family were prepared to accept the offers of injury compensation amounting to €5,000 for each child, the judge approved the settlements.

Court Approves Assessment of Bouncy Castle Accident Compensation

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved an assessment of bouncy castle accident compensation for a seven-year-old-girl who was injured while visiting the Craggaunowen Living Past Experience.

The Injuries Board assessment had made in respect of a claim for bouncy castle accident compensation made on behalf of Aimee Turner from Kilmore in County Limerick by her mother – Rachel Cross – following the events of April 2010 when Aimee was struck in the face while playing on a bouncy castle situated in the grounds of the Craggaunowen Park.

A dental examination several days later revealed that damage to Aimee´s upper left central baby incisor tooth had caused bleeding in the crown of the tooth and Aimee was referred to consultant maxillofacial surgeon Michael Kilbride, who extracted the damaged tooth. It was determined that Aimee would be unlikely to suffer any permanent injury despite the tooth being removed eighteen months prematurely.

After seeking legal advice from a solicitor, Aimee´s mother made a claim for bouncy castle accident compensation against the owners of the Living Past Experience on the grounds that the activity area should have been supervised at the time of her daughter´s accident. The owners of the site acknowledged their liability for Aimee´s injury and an application for assessment of bouncy castle accident compensation was submitted to the Injuries Board.

At the Circuit Civil Court, Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke approved the assessment of the claim; which consisted of €5,000 compensation for pain and suffering Aimee experienced due to her tooth injury and €1,624 special damages for the costs incurred by Aimee´s mother in seeking dental treatment for her daughter and bringing the claim for bouncy castle accident compensation.