Tag: work accident claims

Claim for an Accident in a Sewerage Plant Resolved at Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Claim for a Creche Trip and Fall Injury Settled by Negotiation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Awards Employee Compensation for a Fall at Heuston Station

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Awards Compensation for an Employee Head Injury in Dunnes Stores

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.”

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”.

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.”

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.

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.

Compensation for Fatal Farm Accident Agreed before Court Hearing

A family´s claim for compensation for a fatal farm accident was resolved shortly before a hearing into the case was about to commence at the High Court.

Seamus Miley from Dunlavin in County Wicklow – died on May 24th 2007 when a six-tonne dumper truck he was driving on the Ardenode Stud Farm in Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare overturned as it descended a steep hill.

An investigation into the accident found that the roll bar in the dumper truck was defective and should have saved Seamus´ life. Seamus´ widow – Anne – claimed compensation for the fatal farm accident on behalf of her family and a separate compensation claim for nervous shock against Seamus´ employer and several other companies connected with the design and supply of the dumper truck.

The allegations of negligence were denied by each of the defendants, who contested that Seamus had been the architect of his own misfortune by driving the truck at excessive speed. No agreement could be reached on the outcome of the case and it proceeded to court, where it was scheduled to be heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

However, before the court case could get underway, Judge Irvine was told that Anne and the Miley family had agreed to a settlement of compensation for the fatal farm accident amounting to €700,000. Judge Irvine was also informed that Anne had resolved her compensation claim for nervous shock for €100,000. The judge approved the settlements, sympathising that the family had to come to court in such tragic circumstances.

Dunnes Employee Awarded Canteen Slip and Fall Injury Compensation

An employee of Dunnes Stores in Clonmel has been awarded €82,750 canteen slip and fall injury compensation after a hearing at the High Court.

Twenty-nine year old Dorota Michalowska had been clearing tables in the canteen of her local Dunnes Store in Clonmel, County Tipperary, when – on July 14th 2011 – as she was pushing a trolley laden with dirty dishes towards the kitchen, she slipped on a frozen chip on the floor and fell awkwardly – sustaining a soft tissue injury in her knee.

Dorota´s left her immobilised for six months – and unable to work for thirty-five weeks – and after undergoing therapy to reduce her incapacity Dorota sought legal advice from a solicitor and made a claim for canteen slip and fall injury compensation against Dunnes Stores.

Dunnes Stores denied its liability for Dorota´s soft tissue injury – arguing that she had been preparing much of the food in the canteen throughout the day and, as it was most likely that her negligence was responsible for the frozen chip being on the floor, Dorota had been the author of her own misfortune.

Dorota´s claim for canteen slip and fall injury compensation was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court, and after hearing evidence from both parties, Judge Irvine ruled Dorota´s favour on the grounds that had Dorota dropped the frozen chip herself – and then gone around the canteen loading her trolley with dirty dishes – the chips would have defrosted by the time Dorota slipped on them and injured her knee.

The judge noted that Dorota had two colleagues working in the canteen with her on the day of the accident and “on the balance of probabilities” in was more than likely that one of Dorota´s colleagues had dropped the chip and either not seen the hazard or neglected to pick it up. Consequently Judge Irvine ruled, Dunnes Stores were liable for Dorota´s injuries due to the negligence of its staff.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine awarded Dorota €82,750 canteen slip and fall injury compensation – commenting that it was likely Dorota would suffer from arthritis in her later life, and that the compensation settlement included a payment of €20,000 to account for Dorota´s future pain and suffering.

Man Receives Brain Injury Compensation after Fall from Roof

The High Court has approved a settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from the roof of a house left a fifty-year-old man with permanent brain damage.

Paul O´Brien was working on the roof of a house in Bray on 18th July 2012 – his first paid employment since he lost his construction job in 2008 – when he went to descend from the roof as it started raining.

Paul attempted to exit the roof from a ladder which had been propped up against the side of the building; but, as he stepped onto it, the ladder slipped on the wooden decking it had been placed on, and Paul fell to the ground.

As a result of his accident, Paul suffered a significant head trauma and now has limited short-term memory. Through his wife – Sandra O´Brien of Glenealy in County Wicklow – Paul made a claim for brain injury compensation after a fall from a roof against his employer – Sean Lyons of Clondalkin, Dublin.

Paul claimed in his action that Lyons had failed to provide a safe environment in which to work and had been negligent by failing to provide suitable scaffolding or fall protection to enable him to work safely.

It was also claimed that the ladder provided was unfit for the purpose of descending from the roof safely, that it had not been fastened to the building, and that the combination of an unsuitable, unfastened ladder and the wet wooden decking on which it had been placed resulted in a dangerous hazard.

An out-of-court settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from a roof was negotiated by Sandra and Paul´s legal representatives; but, because of the nature of Paul´s injury, it had to be first approved by a judge.

Consequently, the details of the accident were related to Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court, who also heard that Sandra had taken a two-year sabbatical from her job to care for her husband.

The judge was told that the €1.5 million settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from the roof of roofer´s fall from height injury compensation had been agreed out-of-court and that the family were willing to accept it.

Judge Irvine approved Paul´s settlement – commenting that had the case gone to court, Paul´s contributory negligence may have been a factor in the amount of the settlement. The judge then closed the hearing, saying that she sympathised with the O’Brien family.

Chef Injured in Work Team Building Activity Resolves Claim Out of Court

A hotel chef, injured in a work team building activity, has resolved his compensation claim for a broken wrist out of court.

Cathal Kavanagh (54) from Ongar in Dublin – an executive chef at the four star Carton House Spa and Golf Hotel in Maynooth, County Kildare – attended a team-building day in October 2006 organised by his employer at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge.

During the day, Cathal and other managers from the hotel were asked to participate in various activities; including a relay race in which the managers were divided into two teams and then asked to hop forwards and then run backwards to pass the baton to the next team member.

During the relay race, Cathal slipped and he broke his wrist when he fell. After speaking with a solicitor, Cathal made a compensation claim for being injured in a work team building activity against his employer, the Riverbank Arts Centre and the company that had organised the team building day – JikiJela Ltd of Tubbercurry, County Sligo.

Cathal alleged in his compensation claim for being injured in a work team building activity that the three defendants had been negligent by failing to ensure that the activities were safe or that there was any risk on an injury occurring. The three allegedly negligent parties denied their liability for Cathal´s slip and fall injury and an Authorisation was issued by the Injuries Board for Cathal´s claim to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court.

However, when re-convening after the lunch break on the first day of the hearing, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that Cathal had resolved his claim for being injured in a work team building activity and that the case could now be struck out.

Fall from Ladder Injury Compensation Awarded to Former Argos Employee

A former employee of Argos in Waterford has been awarded fall from ladder injury compensation amounting to €25,000 after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

Forty-two year old Nicola Starmer was working as a front-of-house sales assistant at the Great George´s Street branch of Argos in February 2007, when she went into the store´s stockroom to fetch goods that had been purchased by a customer.

As the purchase she needed to retrieve from the stockroom was located on a high shelf, Nicola – from Ballynakill Downs in Waterford – used a ladder in order to reach it. However, as Nicola was descending the ladder, she fell backwards and put out her hand to break her fall.

At the time Nicola was unaware that she had sustained an injury in the accident; but, as the day progressed, she started to feel pain in her right wrist. She visited the Accident department of the local hospital, where an x-ray which revealed she had dislocated her wrist.

Doctors inserted pins into Nicola´s wrist to stabilise the injury, and she was discharged from hospital in plaster cast to protect her wrist while it healed. Unfortunately she was unable to return to her temporary job at Argos because of her injury.

Nicola explained the circumstances of her injury to a solicitor and made a claim for fall from ladder injury compensation against Argos. Argos contested its liability for her injuries and the Injuries Board issued an Authorisation for the claim to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing, Argos disputed Nicola´s claim for fall from ladder injury compensation on the grounds that Nicola had been trained in ladder safety and that the company should not be held responsible for her injuries.

However, Nicola´s solicitor told Mr Justice Raymond Groake that the ladder safety training was comprised of a DVD presentation rather than a practical demonstration and, furthermore, that Nicola had never been given any training with regard to working in the stockroom as she had been employed as a front-of-house sales assistant.

Judge Groarke also heard that Nicola had only attempted to fetch the goods that had been purchased by the customer because the store was short-staffed and there was nobody else available. He found in Nicola´s favour and awarded her €25,000 in fall from ladder injury compensation.

Steep Rise in Compensation Claims for Burns and Scalds at Work

The Injuries Board has released figures which show a steep rise in compensation claims for burns and scalds at work between 2011 and 2012.

Stephen Watkins – the Director of Corporate Services at the Injuries Board – has published a press release on the Injuries Board website in which he describes the increase in compensation claims for burns and scalds at work as “worrying”.

He points to figures from 2011 and 2012 in which the number of accepted Injuries Board assessments in relation to burns and scalds in the workplace rose from twenty-eight to forty-two, with a total assessment value of €1.33 million and an average compensation award of €19,066.

Mr Watkins describes the various ways in which workers can sustain burns and scalds at work, and listed the most frequent reasons for applications being submitted to the Injuries Board:

  • Boiling water overflowing
  • Splashes from hot liquids and sauces
  • Chemical and acid burns
  • Items of clothing catching fire
  • Scalds from faulty electrical equipment

The highest individual award over the two-year period was €106,949 – relating to burns sustained in an acid spill – but Mr Watkins commented that the highest number of compensation claims for burns and scalds at work were made by plaintiffs working in the catering trade and in cleaning.

It was also highlighted that something as simple as making a hot drink could result in an injury at work, and Mr Watkins urged both employers and employees to be aware of safety precautions when in the presence of any substance or equipment that could result in a painful burn injury.

In 2012, the Health and Safety Authority´s “Summary of Workplace Injuries” showed that female employees are three times more likely than their male counterparts to sustain burns and scalds in the workplace, due to the higher percentage of females employed in catering and cleaning.

It should also not be overlooked that, in 2012, the percentage of accepted Injuries Board assessments fell from 37.2 percent to 32.7 percent – indicating that there may have been a further 100 compensation claims for burns and scalds at work which were resolved outside of the Injuries Board process.

HSA Chief Comments on Injury Claims for Slips and Falls at Work

The Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority – Martin O´Halloran – has commented on figures released by the Injuries Board relating to injury claims for slip and falls at work.

To coincide with the European Week for Safety and Health at Work earlier this month, the Injuries Board released figures which showed that a third of all workplace-related assessments in 2012 were attributable to injury claims for slips and falls at work.

The total value of the accepted assessments for workplace injuries amounted to €22 million and Mr O´Halloran said that employers should use the European Week for Safety and Health at Work to reflect on the safety systems they have in place and not leave anything to chance.

Although acknowledging that employees often take less care at work because they are aware that employers have responsibility for their health and safety, Mr O´Halloran revealed that a quarter of workplaces inspected by the HSA in 2012 had not carried out a risk assessment to identify where slips and falls at work might occur.

Commenting on the cost to industry of injury claims for slips and falls at work, Mr O´Halloran said “Effective management of workplace safety and health not only protects workers from injury and ill-health, but also has the potential to save businesses thousands of Euros. Proper management of workplace safety and health contributes to long-term commercial success and profitability”.

Further statistics were reported on by the Injuries Board in their press release, and these included:

· The average accepted assessment of injury compensation for a workplace accident was €27,286.
· Male workers are twice as likely to sustain a workplace injury as female workers (in all workplace accidents)
· The highest number of injury claims for slips and falls at work were made by workers in the 25 to 34 age group
· One fifth of the accepted assessments of injuries caused by a slip and fall at work were for accidents which resulted in the plaintiff taking more than one month to recover from their injuries.

Report Reveals 10 Percent Increase in Compensation Claims to the Injuries Board

Claims to the Injuries Board have increased by 10 percent in the first half of the year according to a report published on the government body´s website.

The analysis of claims to the Injuries Board from January to June 2013 show that the number of applications for the assessment of compensation received by the Injuries Board increased from 14,685 in the corresponding period in 2012 to 16,162 – a rise of just over 10 percent.

The number of assessments accepted by plaintiffs also increased from 5,180 to 5,286, but this represented a significant drop in the percentage of claims to the Injuries Board which were successfully resolved (37.2 percent > 32.7 percent) and indicates that fewer claims for personal injury compensation are being resolved through the Injuries Board process.

The total value of accepted assessments and the average value of each assessment also increased (by 8 percent and 4 percent respectively); however CEO of the Injuries Board in Ireland – Patricia Byron – explained that this was due to a small number of exceptional claims to the Injuries Board – one of which resulted in the highest ever accepted Injuries Board assessment of €976,000.

Once again, claims for injuries sustained in road traffic accidents accounted for the highest proportion of claims to the Injuries Board (75.5 percent), while there was an ongoing reduction in claims for injuries at work (8.1 percent). The remainder of the requests for an assessment of injury compensation were made in respect of public liability claims – injuries sustained in places of public access and product liability claims.

Discussing the increased volume of claims to the Injuries Board and the higher level of injury compensation settlements, Ms Byron warned insurance companies not to use the Injuries Board statistics as an excuse to raise insurance premiums. She said “Given a reduction of 30 percent in the Boards processing fee to respondents [down from €850.00 to €600.00], we see no basis for insurance premium hikes at this time”.

Potential plaintiffs should that while it may still be quicker to resolve a claim for personal injury compensation through direct contact with the negligent party´s insurers, making a claim to the Injuries Board is still necessary (except in claims for medical negligence and professional negligence) in case your claim cannot be resolved by negotiation and requires court action.