Personal Injury Compensation

Workplace Injury Ireland

If you sustain a workplace injury in Ireland, you should be entitled to receive compensation for your employer´s negligence. Not all workplace accidents qualify for workplace injury compensation but, if the accident in which you or a loved one were injured could have been avoided had greater care been taken, compensation for a workplace injury in Ireland should be obtainable. As no two workplace accidents have the same effect on the injured individuals, you are invited to call our freephone Legal Advice Centre for advice without obligation on how to maximise the value of your claim for a workplace injury in Ireland. By speaking in confidence to an experienced Irish workplace injury solicitor, you will be able to establish that you are eligible for compensation for a workplace injury in Ireland and discover the best way of making a successful claim.

Exposure to Toxic Chemicals in an Air Corps Airbase

May 8th, 2017. By Compensation News.

Concerns have been raised about the exposure to toxic chemicals in an Air Corps airbase causing illnesses – some fatal – to servicemen, their partners and their children.

According to an article published today in thejournal.ie, a former Air Corps mechanic has claimed the exposure to toxic chemicals at an Air Corps airbase is causing servicemen, their partners and their children to suffer illnesses and development issues. In some cases, the whistle-blower claims, the illnesses have resulted in death.

The allegations relate to the Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, County Dublin, where it is claimed the Defence Forces failed to protect workers from exposure to known carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals. The exposure to the chemicals has not only resulted in the alleged untimely death of twenty servicemen, but also life-changing illnesses to their partners and children.

In an address to senior Ministers, TDs, senators and a member of the Defence Forces, the whistle-blower said he knew of many serving and retired personnel who had developed fertility issues. He claimed that one retired serviceman´s wife had eight successive miscarriages and that the wives of three personnel in the engineering wing suffered miscarriages within six months of each other.

The unprotected exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals, the former mechanic claimed, had resulted in the death of five servicemen´s children – two from cancer-related illnesses, and two from serious birth defects. He also gave details of further children who have been born with development issues suspected to be linked to their parent´s exposure to toxic chemicals in an Air Corps airbase.

Claims that the Defence Forces failed to protect Irish servicemen against exposure to toxic chemicals go back more than a decade, but these allegations have raised fresh concerns. Speaking to thejournal.ie, Sinn Féín TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh accused junior Justice Minister Paul Kehoe of indifference to the “severe mental and physical side effects on serving and retired soldiers”.

TD Ó Snodaigh expressed concerns that the issue of exposure to toxic chemicals in an Air Corps airbase had not been addressed despite a Health and Safety Authority inspection of the Casement Airbase identifying several health and safety issues in need of immediate attention. Currently the State Claims Agency is defending six personal injury claims made due illnesses attributed to exposure to toxic chemicals at an Air Corps airbase.

Fine for Company after Supervisor Dies in Accident

May 10th, 2016. By Compensation News.

A storage company has been issued a €200,000 by a Dublin court after one of its employees died in a work accident in one of their warehouses.

The tragic accident happened on the 28th November 2015 at a Dublin warehouse owned by VF Coldstores Ltd. The victim, Robert Ceremuga – then aged thirty-two – was killed when a scaffold that was supporting over thirty six tonnes of food products collapsed on top of him. A report conducted after the incident concluded that the collapse was the result of an errant forklift that collided with the structure. An additional investigation uncovered that the employee operating the vehicle had been working at the factory for just three weeks and lacked the approbate license to operate the machine.

VH Coldstores Ltd was subsequently prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) prosecuted VF Coldstores Ltd for serious breaches of health and safety laws. At a hearing conducted earlier this year in the Circuit Criminal Court, Dublin, a representative  for the storage company plead guilty to the charges. Maria – Robert’s widow – also gave a victim impact statement during the same hearing. After this, Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the session so that could take a “scientific approach” to calculating the fine.

Judge Greally reconvened the hearing earlier this month She the proceeded to fine VF Coldstores Ltd €200,000 for breaching health and safety laws. After the announcement of the fine, Brian Higgisson – the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA – commented that “It is important that employers adequately manage and conduct work activities, in particular carrying out risk assessments before any major works, such as alterations to racking. These assessments should ensure that everyone has the necessary training, knowledge and experience to complete the work in a safe manner.”

 

Compensation Awarded for Waitress Workplace Injury

April 12th, 2016. By Compensation News.

The High Court of Dublin has awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation for a waitress who suffered a hand injury whilst using jugs that were deemed unfit for purpose.

The waitress in question, Sophie Caillaud (forty-two) sustained an injury to her hand when a glass jug she was filling shattered, causing a deep cut to her thumb. At the time, Sophie was working in the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, Co. Leitrim.

Sophie was brought to hospital, where surgery was carried out to help repair the soft tissue damage to her thumb. However, since the accident Sophie has never been able to regain full strength in the digit and as such has had difficulty carrying out normal, daily tasks.

Sophie sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim for compensation against her former employer, the Lough Rynn Hotel, as well as the manufacturers and suppliers of the glass jug – Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd..

The defendants disputed Sophie’s claim for compensation for a waitress hand injury, as they believed the amount being sought was too high. They also argued that it was Sophie’s own negligence that caused her injuries.

Neither negotiations nor the Injuries Board could resolve the case, so it proceeded to the High Court in Dublin where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. There, the judge heard of how other staff members had previously sustained injuries from shattering glass jugs.

An expert witness explained to the court of how the rapid heating and cooling of the jugs in the dishwasher weaker the joint between the handle and the body, concluding they were unfit for purpose.

Sophie also gave evidence at the hearing, after which the judge dismissed any claims by the defendants that she had acted negligently or exaggerated the extent of her injuries. After commenting that he found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, she was awarded €500,000 compensation.

Five-Figure Compensation Settlement for Chef

March 14th, 2016. By Compensation News.

A man, who was injured whilst working as a chef, has been awarded compensated after a hearing in the Circuit Civil Court.

When Shijun Liu, an ordinary chef in the Howards Way Restaurant, Rathgar, was working at the restaurant’s sister establishment in Churchtown in March 2013, he noticed that a cleaner was struggling to use a domestic power hose. The hose had become tangled, and as Shijun and the cleaner were attempting to fix it, it suddenly started to spray Shijun with scalding water.

The water caused severe burns to Shijun’s ankle, and though he was brought to the VHI clinic in Dundrum after the accident, he had to take two weeks off of work in the kitchens. Shijun sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for compensation against Declan Howard, his employer at the restaurant. The Injuries Board requested permission to investigate the circumstances of the accident, but consent was denied.

The claim was heard earlier this month in the Circuit Civil Court by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The judge was told of the unsuitability of the powerhose for the cleaning of the kitchen, after which Shijun was awarded €15,000. Judge Groarke added that he found Shijun’s story quite compelling.

Provisions for ATE Insurance in Ireland Given by Court of Appeal

June 4th, 2015. By Compensation News.

An opinion given by an appeal court judge is likely to increase the availability and use of After the Event (ATE) insurance in Ireland.

Due to the high costs of defending a court case, defendants who believe it is possible to successfully defend a claim made against them often apply to a judge to order a security of costs against the plaintiff. This is so that, if the plaintiff is unsuccessful in their court case, the defendants are assured of recovering their costs.

An application for a security of costs, if granted, can also be used as a strategy to force plaintiffs to abandon their court action due to not having sufficient assets to meet the demands for a security. Consequently many plaintiffs are being advised by their solicitors to consider ATE insurance in Ireland.

ATE insurance in Ireland is not, as yet, commonly used in litigation; but there are significant benefits to purchasing a policy when making a claim for compensation that is particularly complex or revolves around complicated legal arguments. Premiums are not charged for the policies until the outcome of the case is known and, if the plaintiff is successful, usually deducted from a settlement of compensation.

The use of ATE insurance in Ireland was challenged in a case heard at the High Court last year when a defendant claimed that a plaintiff should not be allowed to use after the event insurance as an alternative to security for costs, as ATE insurance in Ireland was contrary to the common law of champerty – a law that prohibits third parties (in this case an insurance company) from providing financial support in a court case when they have no direct interest in the outcome other than profit.

The judge hearing the court case conducted a review of how ATE insurance in Ireland operates, and ruled that the provision of insurance to plaintiffs by insurance companies did not constitute “trafficking in litigation” – the act of supporting a compensation claim in order to take a profit from the proceeds – because the insurance company´s role in the provision of insurance was not exclusively to derive a profit.

The ruling was appealed by the defendant, and arguments for and against ATE insurance in Ireland were heard last month by the Court of Appeal. In a recently-release written verdict from Judge Kelly, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court judge´s ruling due to the insurance policy offered as security of costs being “highly conditional” and containing a significant number of exclusions that meant the insurance company could have avoided payment of costs to the defendant.

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

Daughters Share Six-Figure Settlement of Claim for Mesothelioma Compensation

November 18th, 2014. By Compensation News.

Two daughters of a man, who died from exposure to asbestos, are to share in a settlement of his claim for mesothelioma compensation almost a year after his death.

73-year-old Peter McCormack from Whickham in Tyne and Wear passed away last December after fighting mesothelioma cancer for eighteen months – mesothelioma cancer being a cancer for which there is no known cure that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres and develops in the lining of the lungs.

Before his death, Peter had started a claim for mesothelioma compensation against two of his former employers who had failed to protect him from exposure to asbestos and, after he died, the claim was continued by his daughter Elke (41) on her behalf and on behalf of her sister Natalie.

In the claim for mesothelioma compensation, it was alleged that EON UK – for whom Peter worked from 1957 to 1962 as an apprentice and mechanical fitter – had allowed Peter to work alongside laggers whose role it was to mix and apply asbestos to new pipes and other mechanical fittings.

From 1965 – 1997, Peter had worked at OSG Ship Management (formerly W A Souter Ltd), where it was alleged he had to repair pipes containing asbestos lagging without protection against the deadly fibres. It was also claimed that asbestos dust was left on surfaces until it was disturbed and entered the atmosphere to be inhaled by employees of the company.

Eventually the claim for mesothelioma compensation was resolved without the need for court action. An undisclosed six-figure settlement of the claim was negotiated, after which Elke commented: “Hopefully, this settlement will highlight to employers the need to protect people from exposure to asbestos, so other families do not have to watch their loved ones deteriorate so quickly.”

She continued “It was heartbreaking to see my dad suffering with mesothelioma for 18 months and the effect the chemotherapy he underwent had on him. He lost all his appetite, was often exhausted, and was suffering with nerve pain in his shoulder. The diagnosis also caused him severe distress and anxiety for his future.”

Irish Times Article Warns of Offers of Compensation Settlements from Insurance Companies

September 18th, 2014. By Compensation News.

An article in the Irish Times has warned accident victims to be wary of offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies.

The author of the article – Brian Byrne – provided an interesting analysis of injury compensation settlements, and reported a 22 percent increase in the value of compensation claims settled in the first 6 months of the year – up to €144 million from the same period in 2013.

Byrne´s analysis shows that, although the average compensation settlement of a personal injury claim made to the Injuries Board remained practically unchanged at €22,000, the number of claims increased significantly within the categories of claims handled by the independent body.

According to the figures from the Injuries Board ´s six-month report which were used to compile the article, motor liability claims increased by 24 percent, the number of public liability claims rose by 30 percent, and claims made against an employer for an injury at work were up 10 percent on 2013.

The large increases were attributed to a spike in claims made during last year which were resolved within the first six months of 2014. However, despite the higher number of claims being resolved through the Injuries Board process, Byrne warns accident victims to be wary of offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies.

According to the article, an estimated 40 percent of personal injury claims which could be resolved through the Injuries Board process claims are settled “behind closed doors”. He says that private agreements made between plaintiffs and insurance companies have the potential to result in a lack of competitiveness, higher insurance premiums, and the potential for false or exaggerated claims to be settled without a proper investigation of the claim.

However, the Irish Times article omits to comment on the growing trend for “third party capture” – an industry term for when an insurance company talks an injury victim into a compensation settlement lower than what they might have been entitled to in return for a fast settlement.

Offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies can result in financial hardship for the injured victim if they is accepted and subsequently too low to cover medical expenses and living costs. Meanwhile the insurance company may have made a significant saving in its financial liability and can enjoy higher profits.

One potential solution for this situation is to construct a register of settled personal injury claims based on figures coming from the government´s new “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme”. As insurance companies now have to obtain a certificate of benefits from the Department of Social Protection before settlements of personal injury claims can be paid, it should be possible for the Department of Social Protection to record the value of the claim and start to compile a register.

In this way, there would be visibility of how much compensation each claim is settled for, so that concerns about a lack of competitiveness, higher insurance premiums, and the potential for false or exaggerated claims could be eliminated. Accident victims would also have a point of reference if they receive offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies.

While such a register does not exist, it is advisable for plaintiffs who receive offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies speak with a solicitor to ascertain whether the offer being made to them represents a fair and accurate settlement of their claim.

Woman to Receive Compensation for Soft Tissue Knee Injury at Work

June 9th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A kitchen assistant who was formally employed by Dunnes Stores in Clonmel has been awarded compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work.

29- year-old Dorota Michalowska from Clonmel in County Tipperary had been clearing tables in the canteen of her local Dunnes Store, when – on 14 July 2011 – as she was returning to the kitchen with a trolley stacked up dirty dishes, she slipped on a frozen chip that had fallen to the floor and fell heavily – suffering a soft tissue knee injury.

Dorota´s injury was so severe that she was immobilised for six months and unable to work for a further three months. After undergoing physical therapy to ease the pain in her knee, Dorota took legal advice from a solicitor and made a claim for compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work against her employers – Dunnes Stores – alleging that the company had not provided her with a safe environment in which to work.

Dunnes Stores contested Dorota´s claim for a soft tissue injury at work, and denied its responsibility for her slip and fall accident – arguing that she had been preparing food in the kitchen throughout the day and she was most likely the author of her own misfortune as it was most likely that she had dropped the frozen chip on the floor and failed to notice the hazard,

Dorota´s compensation claim for a soft tissue knee injury at work proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. After hearing evidence from both parties, Judge Irvine found in Dorota´s favour on the grounds that, if Dorota had dropped the frozen chip herself – and then performed a circuit of the canteen to clear away the dirty dishes – the chip on the floor would have defrosted and no longer have been frozen by the time Dorota slipped on it and sustained her injury.

The judge commented in her summing up that two other employees were working in the canteen on the day of Dorota´s accident, and that “on the balance of probabilities” it was likely that one of Dorota´s co-workers had dropped the frozen chip, and either neglected to pick it up or not seen the hazard at all. Judge Irvine ruled that Dunnes Stores were therefore the liable party in Dorota claim due to the negligence of its employees.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine awarded Dorota €82,750 compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work – a sum which included €20,000 for future pain and suffering, as the judge believed there would be a strong likelihood of Dorota suffering from arthritis as she grew older.

Judge Approves Compensation for Fall from Height at Work

May 6th, 2014. By Compensation News.

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.

Former Argos Employee Awarded Injury Compensation for a Storeroom Accident

January 31st, 2014. By Compensation News.

A former employee of Argos has been awarded €25,000 injury compensation for a storeroom accident in which she fell from a ladder and dislocated her wrist.

Nicola Starmer from Ballynakill Downs in Waterford was working at the Great George´s Street branch of Argos when, in February 2007, she went into the shop´s storeroom to collect a customer´s purchase.

As the box she needed to collect was located on a high shelf, Nicola (42) climbed a ladder in order to retrieve it. However, as Nicola was descending the ladder with the box under her arm, she fell backwards and landed on the storeroom floor.

Nicola was at first unaware that she had sustained an injury, but as the day progressed she started to experience a pain in her right forearm. She attended the Emergency department of the local hospital where she had an x-ray which revealed a dislocated wrist.

Doctors had to insert pins into Nicola´s wrist to stabilise the injury and Nicola was discharged from hospital in plaster cast. Unfortunately Nicola was unable to continue her temporary position as a front-of-house assistant in Argos because of her injury.

Nicola spoke with a solicitor about the circumstances of her injury and made a claim for injury compensation for a storeroom accident against Argos. The store contested its liability for Nicola´s injuries and the claim was heard before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing, Argos argued that Nicola had been shown how to use a ladder safely and that the company should not be held responsible for her injuries. However, Nicola´s solicitor informed the judge that the ladder safety training consisted of a DVD presentation rather than a practical demonstration and, furthermore, that she had never been informed of safety procedures in the storeroom as her position was front-of-house.

Judge Groarke found in Nicola´s favour after hearing that she had only attempted to collect the goods because the store was short-staffed and there was nobody else available to serve the customer. He awarded her €25,000 injury compensation for a storeroom accident against the Argos store in Waterford.

Claims for Burn Injuries at Work Rise by Fifty Percent

November 8th, 2013. By Compensation News.

Figures published in an Injuries Board fact sheet have revealed that claims for burn injuries at work have risen by 50 percent in the last year

According to Stephen Watkins – the Director of Corporate Services at the Injuries Board who compiled the fact sheet – compensation claims for burn injuries at work (which were submitted to the Injuries Board and the subsequent assessment accepted) increased from 28 in 2011 to 42 in 2012 (1).

Describing the 50 percent increase in claims for burn injuries at work as “worrying”, Mr Watkins wrote that €1.33 million had been awarded in compensation for burn injuries at work over the two years – adding that, during that period the average injury award had been €19,066.

The Injuries Board fact sheet also contained a selection of the most frequent reasons why burn injuries occur in the workplace:

  • Overflowing hot or boiling water
  • Burns from acids and chemicals
  • Electrical burns from faulty equipment
  • Clothes too close to a hear source catching fire
  • Burns due to splashes from hot sauces and liquids

The highest-value award of compensation for burn injuries at work (€106,949) was awarded to a chemical worker who had been badly injured in an accident involving an acid spill, but Mr Watkins stated in the fact sheet that the highest volume of claims for burn injuries at work were made by people working more with hot water – such as cleaners and kitchen staff (2).

Mr Watkins was keen not to dismiss other potential hazards in the workplace which could cause a burn injury – noting that tasks as apparently straightforward as making a hot drink could result in injury when safety precautions were ignored – and he urged employers to ensure that all safety precautions were taken to prevent burn injuries in the workplace.

Footnote (1) in 2012, the percentage of accepted assessments  made by the Injuries Board fell from 37.2 percent to 32.7 percent – implying that there may have been a further 80+ workplace burn injury claims in Ireland that were settled outside of the Injuries Board process.

Footnote (2) Because of the higher percentage of women working as cleaners and kitchen staff, female employees are three times more likely to sustain burn injuries at work (source “Summary of Workplace Injuries” published by the Health and Safety Authority).

Couple found Liable in Dog Attack Compensation Claim

November 2nd, 2013. By Compensation News.

A Kilbeggan couple have been found liable in a dog attack compensation claim for the injuries sustained by a postman who was trying to delivering mail to the couple´s house.

Sixty-three year old Joseph Dunne from Kilbeggan in County Westmeath sustained his injuries while delivering letters to the home of Olive Dalton and Martin Maher of Dublin Road in Kilbeggan on 8th October 2008. As he was pushing the mail through the couple´s letterbox, their husky-type dog escaped from their garden through a hole in the hedge and attacked him.

Joseph was knocked to the floor by the dog, who continued to claw his face and bite him until a passer-by struck the dog across the back with a stick and saved the postman from worse injury. Joseph was taken to hospital where he received twenty-two stitches for lacerations to the right side of his face and treatment for nerve damage to the right side of his forehead.

After seeking legal advice from a solicitor, Joseph made a dog attack compensation claim against Ms Dalton and Mr Maher – alleging that they had been negligent in failing to enclose their garden securely and allowing their dog to escape from their garden, and for failing to inform An Post of the potential dangers of delivering mail to the property.

Despite putting their dog down on the day following the incident, the couple denied their liability for Joseph´s injuries, and the case was heard at the High Court in Dublin in front of Mr Justice Michael Moriarty. The judge heard evidence from both parties, including that Joseph had to undergo plastic surgery when the stitches were removed to remove some of the scarring from his face.

Finding in Joseph´s favour, the judge awarded him €55,000 in settlement of his dog attack compensation claim and commented that Joseph had been particularly brave to return to work so soon after such a frightening event.

Injuries Board Compensation Settlements Increase by 8 Percent

October 5th, 2013. By Compensation News.

The value of Injuries Board compensation settlements has increased by more than 8 percent according to the six-month analysis published on the Injuries Board website.

Figures recently published on the Injuries Board website have shown an increase of more than 8 percent in the value of Injuries Board compensation settlements awarded during the first six months of 2013 in comparison with the corresponding period last year.

More than €118 million was awarded in Injuries Board compensation settlement up to June 2013, compared with €109 million in 2012, with the average settlement value also increasing (by 4 percent) to €22,349 from €21,049.

The analysis also showed a major increase in the number of applications for assessment received by the Injuries Board (16,162 – up from 14,685) and the length of time it now takes for Injuries Board compensation settlements to be processed.

Explaining the increase in Injuries Board compensation settlements, Patricia Byron – CEO of the Injuries Board – said that there had been a higher than usual volume of claims for road traffic injury compensation and a few small exceptional awards – including one for €976,000.

The proportion of Injuries Board compensation settlements awarded for road traffic accidents accounted for more than three-quarters of the accepted settlements, while less than a fifth were for public liability claims, and compensation awards for injuries at work fell once again to just under a twelfth of all applications for assessment received by the Injuries Board.

One statistic that might be of concern to Ms Byron is that the number of accepted assessments made by the Injuries Board fell once again. In the first six months of 2012, 37.2 percent of proposed Injuries Board compensation settlements were accepted by plaintiffs whereas, up to June 213, that figure had declined to 32.7 percent.

Despite more than two-thirds of personal injury claims for compensation now being resolved outside of the Injuries Board process, plaintiffs are still advised to submit applications for assessment to the Injuries Board with the assistance of a solicitor to ensure that your full entitlement to personal injury compensation is accounted for.

Woman Awarded Injury Compensation for an Office Accident

September 14th, 2013. By Compensation News.

A woman, who injured her back when the chair she was sitting on broke, has been awarded more than Au$1million in injury compensation for an office accident by a judge in Australia.

Fifty-one year old Terry Anne Downie from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory worked as a team leader for the Community Information and Referral Service when, on behalf of her employers, she purchased office furniture – including a chair for her own use in the office – from the furniture outlet store Fyshwick.

Several months later, Terry Anne was talking on the telephone in the office, when two of the spokes on the plastic moulding at the base of her chair snapped, causing her to fall to the floor and land on her back. Unable to move, Terry Anne was taken to hospital, where it was discovered that the accident had caused a disc to swell and that Terry Anne´s immobility was caused by the disc touching a nerve root in her spine.

Doctors were unable to repair the damage to Terry Anne´s spine, and she now suffers from a permanent tingling sensation under the skin of her legs which has prevented her from maintaining a job since her accident. Her doctors believe that the formerly active Terry Anne has suffered a mental illness and sexual dysfunction as a direct result of her office accident.

Terry Anne received injury compensation for an office accident from her employer amounting to Au$190,000 in 2005 but, backed by the Community Information and Referral Service, she also made a private claim for injury compensation for an office accident against the company that imported the faulty chair from China in kit form – Jantom – and their insurers, claiming that the product was faulty when it was brought into the country in kit form.

Jantom and their insurers denied their responsibility for Terry Anne´s injuries but Judge Master David Harper, at the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, found in favour of the plaintiff after hearing an expert testify that the plastic moulding on the base of the chair had “failed catastrophically” and had been responsible for two of the five supporting spokes breaking.

The judge awarded Terry Anne Au$933,030 injury compensation for an office accident to reflect the pain she experienced at the time of her accident and thereafter, and a further Au$112,000 to cover past medical expenses and those she is likely to incur in the present. Janton´s insurers were also ordered to repay the Community Information and Referral Service the injury compensation for an office accident that had been paid to Terry Anne in 2005.

Speaking after making the award, Judge Master David Harper said “Terry Anne has many years ahead of pain and depression. Her life is very different to the life she could have expected if it had not been for her injury. Her enjoyment of life, and the kind of life she is able to lead, have been altered immeasurably.”

Compensation for a Workplace Burn Injury Resolved in Court

July 25th, 2013. By Compensation News.

A binman, who suffered an extensive eye injury when a hydraulic cable on his garbage truck split and sprayed its contents into his face, is to receive compensation for a workplace burn injury after his claim was heard in the Circuit Civil Court.

Kamil Kozlowski (30) was working in the Sandyford Road in Dublin in July 2011 when a hydraulic cable on the back of the garbage truck he was emptying bins into burst, spraying hot oil into his eyes.

An ambulance was immediately summoned, and Kamil received first aid at the scene for the burns he had received, before being taken to the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital where the oil was rinsed out of his eyes and Kamil was prescribed a course of eye drops.

Kamil´s initial fears that he would be permanently blinded were fortunately unfounded, but he suffered for a month from the pain ofhis burn injury and was unable to drive until his vision fully recovered.

After seeking legal advice, Kamil – from Part West Point in Dublin – made a claim for compensation for a workplace burn injury against his employers, alleging that they had not maintained the garbage truck in a safe condition and were in breach of their duty of care.

Kamil´s employers – Panda Waste Services Ltd of Navan, County Meath – admitted their liability for his injury, but no agreement could be reached about how much compensation for the workplace burn injury Kamil was entitled to.

Eventually, the claim was resolved at the Circuit Civil Court in front of Judge Alison Lindsay who, after hearing the circumstances of Kamil´s accident and injury, awarded him €15,565 in compensation.

Hotel Worker Back Injury Claim Heard in High Court

October 26th, 2012. By Compensation News.

A former waiter at the Slieve Russell Hotel has been giving testimony at the High Court in support of his hotel staff injury claim for compensation.

Robert Miloch, from Ballyconnell, County Cavan, filed his claim for hotel staff injury compensation against the Slieve Russell Hotel and its parent company – Quinn Hotels Limited – due to suffering a back injury while loading trays onto a trolley in April 2010.

The High Court was told that while he was squatting down to replace breakfast trays on a trolley, Mr Miloch heard a crack in his back and suffered a pain from his back going down to his leg. The pain stopped him from walking and he was told by the hotel to go home and see his doctor.

In support of his hotel worker back injury claim, Mr Miloch showed the court an MRI scan from the time of the accident, revealing that two discs in his back had crushed a nerve. His injury, he alleged, had resulted in his doctor advising him not to return to work and despite extensive physiotherapy had not improved.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan was advised that both the defendants denied their liability for Mr Miloch´s injury and claimed not only that a car accident in which Mr Miloch was involved in later that year could have been responsible for his back injury, but that the injury had been described as “paradoxical” by Mr Miloch´s doctor as his patient could move in one direction but not another.

The case will go on at the High Court.

Compensation Claims against the State Forecast Expected to Rise

October 15th, 2012. By Compensation News.

The State Claims Agency has predicted that compensation claims against the State for hospital negligence could increase by more than a quarter in 2012.

Commenting in the Clinical Indemnity Scheme newsletter, Ciaran Breen – Director of the State Claims Agency – said that “It appears that people, injured as a result of a medical negligence event, are more likely to sue doctors, dentists and hospitals in these more difficult economic times” after attributing the increase on the economic downturn.

Mr Breen´s remarks were in complete contrast to those made by Patricia Byron – Chief Executive of injuriesboard.ie -after the Injuries Board Interim Report was released last month, which saw only a 4.1 percent increase in claims over the first six months and not the “recessionary spike” that had been predicted. However, both public officials referred to the fact that there had been a significant increase in claims related to the DePuy hip replacement recall.

As 345 compensation claims were filed against the State in the first six months of 2012 (as opposed to 542 in the whole of 2011), and the Statute of Limitations expired in August 2012 for many victims of the DePuy hip replacement recall, Mr Breen´s outlook may appear unjustifiably depressing. However, some compensation claims filed against the State are finding their way to court long after they might previously have been time-barred.

In July this year, the Supreme Court upheld a High Court judgement in favour of Olivia Kearney who, forty-three years beforehand, had went throufh a symphysiotomy procedure which the High Court determined was “entirely unjustified and unwarranted”. Should the remaining two hundred survivors of the symphysiotomy procedure be permitted to make compensation claims against the State, Mr Breen´s forecast could be very conservative indeed.

Compensation claims against the State for hospital negligence account for a small number of claims managed by the State Claims Agency – the majority are for public liability and employer liability – but account for almost 90 percent of the value of claims each year. In 2011, the value of the 542 compensation claims against the State for medical negligence amounted to 860 million Euros.

Man Awarded Workplace Injury Compensation for Fall from Scaffolding

June 28th, 2012. By Compensation News.

A man who fell three metres from a scaffolding tower while helping his brother make repairs to the roof of his house has been awarded 750,000 Euros in workplace injury compensation for fall from scaffolding after the settlement of his claim was approved in the High Court.

Patrick Rayner from Mitchelstown, County Cork, was helping to replace slates on his brother´s roof in Killmallock, County Limerick when the accident occurred during heavy rain in December 2008. As he leaned over the top of the scaffolding tower erected to provide access to the roof, Patrick fell three metres to the ground, sustaining a fractured skull injury.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that as a consequence of his injury Patrick has lost his hearing, has a deficit of his taste and smell senses and still suffers from frequent headaches. The judge was also told that through his spouse, Julia, Patrick made a claim for fall from scaffolding compensation; alleging that the scaffolding tower had not been secured to a permanent structure and that his brother had failed to make adequate provision for Patrick´s health and safety.

As liability for Patrick´s injuries had not been argued, and a settlement of 750,000 Euros had been agreed, the case was before Ms Justice Mary Irvine for final approval of damages only. After hearing the full details of how the accident occurred, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of workplace compensation for fall from scaffolding, stating that this was a case of the deeds of a Good Samaritan concluding in tragedy.

Work Injury Claims for Slips, Trips and Falls Most Common in Ireland

May 8th, 2012. By Compensation News.

Figures from the Injuries Board, released to coincide with “World Day for Health and Safety at Work” have revealed that work injury claims for slips, trips and falls are among the most common in Ireland.

Along with injuries suffered due to defective equipment and poor manual handling of goods, slips trips and falls in the workplace – especially in the manufacturing and production sectors – contributed substantially towards the total of 22,500,000 Euros assessed by the Injuries Board throughout 2011 in relation to work injury claims in Ireland.

Although the total value of Ireland work injuries claims decreased significantly from 2010, InjuriesBoard.ie chief executive Patricia Byron was quick to dismiss claims that workplace health and safety in Ireland was improving by comparing work injury claims in Ireland with a smaller work force.

“While our figures point to a downward trend in the number of claims for workplace accidents,” she said “the main driver for this is a contracting workforce rather than any notable advances in workplace health and safety programmes. We understand that businesses today are under constant pressure to drive efficiencies, often operating with scarce resources, but cutting corners on employee safety is a cut too far. We are continually surprised by the volume of such foreseeable and preventable claims.”

Compensation Awarded to RTE Employee for Work Fall

February 28th, 2012. By Compensation News.

An employee of RTE, who fell and injured his elbow while trying to unsnag a curtain during a show rehearsal for The Saturday Night Show, has been awarded 18,500 Euros in work fall compensation at the Circuit Civil Court.

Arthur McMullan (59) of Goatstown, Dublin, was working for the national broadcaster as a props assistant when the incident occurred in the RTE Donnybrook studios in February 2010. While trying to unsnag the stage curtain from a mirror ball, Arthur fell over a studio floor lamp and injured his left elbow.

In his claim for work fall compensation, Arthur alleged that RTE were aware of the curtain consistently presenting a problem and, in support of his claim, the court was shown a video clip of a broadcast show in which presenter Brendan O´Connor had to hold back the curtains during a performance by doo-wop band The Overtones.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court also heard Arthur´s compensation claim for work falls support by a colleague at the RTE studios, who claimed that the curtains had been an ongoing problem for a number of years. Arthur´s legal advisors also advised the judge that Arthur still felt pain in his elbow two years after the injury had been sustained.

After hearing the evidence in relation to Arthur´s fall at work compensation claim, Judge Jacqueline Linnane awarded Arthur 18,500 Euros in compensation.

Toe Work Injury Postal Worker Awarded 16,000

October 13th, 2011. By Compensation News.

A postal worker, who damaged the big toe on his right foot when a package of floorboards fell onto it, has won his claim for toe work injury at the Circuit Court in Dublin.

Edward Pyne (61) of Balbriggan, County Dublin, brought his claim against An Post after the accident in November 2006 left him needing many operations for an ingrown toenail which had resulted from the injury. He also claimed that he had suffered from several infections which had developed in the damaged toe.

Circuit Court president, Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard how An Post should have supplied steel toe-capped boots as part of a postal worker´s uniform, but Edward had long worn out the pair that had been most recently given to him three years beforehand. Consequently the shoes he was wearing on the day of the accident offered insufficient protection against such an accident occurring.

An Post denied liability for Edward´s claim, but Mr Matthew Deery heard evidence that many of Edward´s colleagues at the Balbriggan Post Office also neglected to wear the obligatory steel toe-capped footwear, and had An Post provided better supervision of their staff, the accident could have been avoided.

Upholding Edward´s claim for toe work injury, Mr Justice Matthew Deery stated that he was satisfied that An Post had failed to provide adequate protective footwear for their staff, and awarded Edward 16,000 Euros in personal injury compensation.

Fatal Farm Workplace Injuries Continue to Rise

August 27th, 2011. By Compensation News.

A conference in Dublin, organised by the Health and Safety Authority, Teagasc and the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee has heard that the number of fatal farm workplace injuries has already reached 16 this year, and is on its way to passing the twenty year high of 26 farm-related deaths in 2010.

Key speaker at the event, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, was told that the largest proportion of deaths on farms was due to accidents with machinery, but that other hazards – such as the handling of livestock and the prevention of falls – also had to be tackled.

The Minister replied by stating that “People working on farms need to be more conscious of safety requirements, in particular since in many instances they are working on their own. A significant change in mindset is required if we are to prevent further serious farm accidents”.

Mr Conveney continued by commenting “By continuously talking about and being aware of farm safety we can together bring about a change of culture and farmer thinking in this area”, and concluded his speech by saying “changing farmers´ attitudes is ultimately about self-regulation”.

The conference, which was hosted in Castleknock marked the first time that an international meeting on agricultural occupational health and safety had been held in Ireland, and speakers from the United States, Norway, Denmark, Italy and Great Britain were also in attendance.


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