Personal Injury Compensation

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Holiday Sun Lounger Injury Claim Resolved in Court

June 19th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A holiday sun lounger injury claim, made by a man who booked his Italian vacation through a Dublin travel agent, has been resolved for €40,796 at the High Court.

Vincent Reid and his wife were on the fourth day of a week-long vacation at the Hotel Savoy Palace in Lake Garda, Italy, when on 29 August 2012, seventy-two year old Vincent from Lisburn in County Antrim sat on a sun lounger by the hotel pool to read his newspaper.

Vincent – a retired construction manager – started to recline on the sun lounger, but as he did so, the arm mechanism of the sun lounger caught the middle finger of his right hand and sliced off the top of the finger. Vincent was taken to a local hospital in Lake Garda to receive treatment, but had to protect the injury with a splint for twelve weeks after his return to Northern Ireland.

As the Italian vacation had been booked through a travel agent in Dublin – Topflight Ltd – Vincent made a holiday sun lounger injury claim through the Injuries Board Ireland. Topflight denied that it was responsible for Vincent´s accident and, unable to assess the holiday sun lounger injury claim, the Injuries Board issued Vincent with an authorisation to pursue compensation through the courts.

Last week the case was heard by Mr Justice Michael Hanna at the High Court in Dublin. Judge Hanna was told by representatives of Topflight Ltd that the arm mechanism on the poolside sun lounger should have been locked into place before Vincent leaned back on it and that Vincent´s accident could not have been foreseen.

However, the judge also heard that a similar sun lounger accident had happened just a few days before – also to an Irish guest staying at the hotel. This prompted the judge to dismiss the travel agent´s defence, saying that somebody at the hotel must have been aware that the sun lounger would collapse if the arm mechanism was not fully engaged.

Judge Hanna ruled that Topflight Ltd – as organisers of the vacation package – was in breach of the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act of 1995. After being told that Vincent still experienced pain from his accident and limited movement in the middle finger of his right hand that prevented him from pursuing his hobbies of gardening and DIY, the judge awarded Vincent €40,796 compensation in settlement of his holiday sun lounger injury claim.

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.

Claim for an Injury due to Glass on a Playing Field Resolved in Court

May 25th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A teenager´s claim for an injury due to glass on a playing field has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with the approval of a revised settlement.

In June 2012, fifteen year-old Rhian Holohan from Kentstown in County Meath was playing in goal for Kentstown Rovers FC in a Dublin Women´s Soccer League match against Ayrfield United FC. As she dived to attempt a save, Rhian cut her knee on a piece of broken glass that was on the surface of the playing field.

The game was stopped in order that Rhian could receive first aid treatment, and she was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where her knee injury was cleaned professionally and sutured under anaesthetic. Because of the depth of the cut, Rhian experienced several months of pain and swelling, and had to use crutches for support.

Rhian was also unable to play football for several months, and she now has a visible 1.5 cm circular scar on her knee to remind her of her injury. Through her mother, Rhian made a claim for an injury due to glass on a playing field against Dublin City Council, the Trustees of Ayrfield United FC and the Trustees of Dublin Women´s Soccer League.

Liability for Rhian´s injury was accepted by the three defendants and a settlement of €22,000 was negotiated. As the claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the settlement of the claim for an injury due to glass on a playing field first had to be approved by the court; and consequently the circumstances of Rhian´s accident and injury were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge Groarke considered the negotiated settlement settlement inappropriate to the level of Rhian´s injury, and he asked the parties to consider a higher settlement. Following further negotiations between the parties, the offer of settlement was increased to €30,000. Judge Groarke approved the revised settlement on Rhian´s claim for an injury due to glass on a playing field.

New Inspections for Childcare Facilities to be Introduced

May 18th, 2015. By Compensation News.

New inspections for childcare facilities are to be introduced later this year according to a report in the Sunday Business Post.

The four new inspections for childcare facilities are being introduced by the government following the May 2013 broadcast of “A Breach of Trust” – a documentary shown on RTE´s Prime Time which exposed the alleged abuse of young children in crèches and pre-school facilities in Dublin and Wicklow.

The government was prompted to act due to the controversy that was generated by the program and to address concerns of the European Commission regarding the qualification levels of staff in childcare facilities, who also commented on the varying compliance with minimum standards and regulations.

No fixed date has yet been announced for the new inspections for childcare facilities to be introduced, but the measures implemented by the government are understood to include:

  • The Department of Education will hire extra inspectors to review the delivery of the early years curriculum for children.
  • On behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, inspectors from Pobal will check the delivery of the free pre-school year.
  • Inspectors from the child and family agency Tusla will inspect the standards of health and welfare in childcare facilities.
  • Education specialists from the Better Start program will check on the delivery of play-based learning for young children.

The new inspections for childcare facilities has raised fears in the childcare sector that operators will be swamped by red tape. The Chief Executive of Early Childhood Ireland – Teresa Heeney – told the Sunday Business Post that the level of bureaucracy was overwhelming.

Early Childhood Ireland represents the interests of 3,500 childcare facilities in Ireland, and Ms Heeney was reported as saying: “What operators cannot tolerate is that these people want it in blue, these people want it in red, and these people want it in white. They all have to agree that green will do for all of them.”

In response to criticism over the new inspections for childcare facilities, children´s minister James Reilly said that a robust inspection service was critical. The minister told the Sunday Business Post that inspectors from the four different agencies would share an IT system so that each would all have access to the same data on childcare facilities.

As a result of Prime Time´s documentary, there are fifty cases on their way to the High Court. All concern alleged abuse of children or breach of contract, and all made against the Links Crèche in Abingdon, Dublin – one of the three childcare facilities featured in the documentary. According to the solicitor heading the legal action – Kathrin Coleman – the cases are at an advanced stage of proceedings.

Claim for a Fitness Club Swimming Pool Accident Settled at Hearing

May 13th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A claim for a fitness club swimming pool accident has been settled at a Civil Circuit Court hearing, after which the plaintiff was awarded €30,000 compensation.

Timea Babos (30) – a hotel supervisor from Dublin – was on her second visit to the West Wood Club on 13th November 2011, when she decided to go for a swim after coming out of the sauna. A competent swimmer, Timea dived straight into the fitness club´s swimming pool. However, the depth of the pool was only 1 metre 35 centimetres and Timea hit her face on the bottom of the pool when she dived in – breaking her two upper front teeth.

As there was nobody around the swimming pool area to help her, Timea completed an accident report form at the reception of the fitness club and – her mouth still bleeding from the accident – sought medical treatment for her injuries. Her doctor stopped the bleeding and prescribed painkillers, and – two weeks later – Timea flew to Hungary to have crowns fitted to her broken teeth.

On her return to Ireland, Timea consulted with a solicitor and made a claim for a fitness club swimming pool accident, alleging that the West Wood Club had breached its duty of care by having no signs displayed warning her of the depth of the pool or a lifeguard on duty to prevent her from diving in. Her solicitor also arranged for a forensic engineer to inspect the safety of the fitness club swimming pool.

The West Wood Club contested the claim for a fitness club swimming pool accident. It argued that Timea was liable for the cause of her accident because she had dived into the pool without checking the depth of the water. With liability denied, the Injuries Board issued Timea with an authorisation to pursue her claim for a fitness club swimming pool accident through the courts.

At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told by the forensic engineer that there were inadequate markings around the perimeter of the pool to warn guests of the shallow depth of water. He also commented that the swimming pool was unusual in design as it had no deep end and was a constant depth throughout.

The judge dismissed the West Wood Club´s argument that Timea had contributed to her accident and injury through her own lack of care and awarded her €30,000 compensation in settlement of her claim for a fitness club swimming pool accident.

Judge Awards Compensation for a Fall on the Escalator at Dublin Airport

May 1st, 2015. By Compensation News.

A pensioner from Kilcullen in County Kildare has been awarded €40,000 compensation for a fall on the escalator at Dublin Airport after a hearing at the High Court.

On 2nd November 2011, Elizabeth Lavin had taken the escalator to the upper level of Dublin Airport´s Terminal 2. As she was ascending on the escalator, the moving stairs made a sudden judder. Due to what was later described as “an unfortunate neophyte in the ways of escalators,” Elizabeth lost her balance and fell forwards over her hand luggage – landing face-down on the metal stairs.

Sixty-nine year old Elizabeth was taken to Dublin´s Beaumont Hospital, where she was treated for minor lacerations and a head injury. Following her accident, Elizabeth was unable to perform everyday tasks due to pains in her head, arm, hip and knee. She tried managing the pain with painkillers, but eventually had to be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon.

Elizabeth sent an application for assessment to the Injuries Board – claiming compensation for a fall on the escalator at Dublin Airport. However, Dublin Airport Authority PLC denied liability for Elizabeth´s injuries and the Injuries Board issued Elizabeth with an authorisation to pursue the claim through the courts. Her case was heard this past week at the High Court.

At the hearing, Mr Justice Michael Hanna heard claims that Dublin Airport had failed to ensure the safety of passengers by designing the airport in such a way that the escalator on which Elizabeth fell was the only apparent access to the upper level of Terminal 2 for passengers with luggage. Although a lift existed, it was not until 2013 that signs were erected directing passengers to the lift – two years after Elizabeth´s accident.

The airport authority defended against the claim for compensation for a fall on the escalator at Dublin Airport by producing CCTV footage which showed Elizabeth failing to use the handrail of the escalator before she fell. It was also claimed that her injuries were exacerbated because she had placed her hand luggage in front of her and not behind.

Judge Hanna dismissed the airport authority´s defence and said the Elizabeth could not be held responsible for “an unfortunate neophyte in the ways of escalators”, for failing to use the handrail of the escalator or placing her hand luggage in front of her. However, the judge commented that Elizabeth could have asked an airport assistant if a lift was available had she been apprehensive about using the escalator.

The judge reduced the settlement of compensation Elizabeth´s claim for compensation for a fall on the escalator at Dublin Airport from €60,000 to €40,000, saying that she would have to accept one-third contributory negligence towards her injuries. He also gave Dunlin Airport Authority PLC leave to appeal his verdict provided that they paid €25,000 of the settlement to Elizabeth immediately.

Court Hears Evidence in Hotel Slip and Fall Injury Claim

April 15th, 2015. By Compensation News.

The High Court has been hearing evidence in the first day of a hotel slip and fall injury claim made after a man slipped and hurt his shoulder on Easter Sunday 2009.

Benjamin Stanley (67) slipped and fell on Easter Sunday on his way to visiting the bathrooms at the Castle Arms Hotel in Durrow, County Loais, after escorting his dancing partners to their car. Unaware that he had torn a tendon in his shoulder, Benjamin continued to enjoy the rest of the evening´s entertainment before driving himself back to his home in Birr, County Offaly.

During the night, the pain in his shoulder worsened, and Benjamin needed to call a doctor. When the torn tendon in Benjamin´s shoulder was diagnosed, he had to undergo surgery to repair the injury – after which he sought legal advice and made a hotel slip and fall injury claim; alleging that the hotel had failed to monitor the condition of the floor and remove hazards.

The owner of the hotel, Seosamh Murphy, and the hotel´s licensee denied that they were liable for Benjamin´s shoulder injury – arguing that the floors of the hotel were inspected every two hours and that Benjamin caused the accident by rushing to the bathroom. Unable to assess Benjamin´s hotel slip and fall injury claim – the Injuries Board issued an Authorisation for Benjamin to take his claim to court.

The hearing of Benjamin´s hotel slip and fall injury claim started yesterday before Mr Justice Anthony Barr. The circumstances of Benjamin´s accident and injury were related to the court before Benjamin took the witness stand to deny allegations that he had been rushing to the bathroom because he had been drinking too much.

Benjamin testified that he definitely felt something beneath his shoe as he slipped, and it was whatever was on the floor that was the direct cause of his injury. Unable to resolve the hotel slip and fall injury claim in a single day, Judge Barr adjourned the hearing and the case continues.

Settlement of Luas Injury Compensation Approved in Court

April 2nd, 2015. By Compensation News.

A €25,000 settlement of Luas injury compensation has been approved for a schoolgirl from Dublin who was hurt in an accident seven years ago.

Aoife Heron from Raheny in Dublin was hurt in the accident on 14th February 2008 when she, her mother and her younger sister were boarding a Luas at Connelly Street with the intention of travelling to Jervis Street.

Aoife – who was only six years of age at the time – boarded the Luas ahead of her mother Elaine; but, as Elaine started to push the buggy containing her younger child onto the Luas, the automatic doors closed – trapping the buggy between them.

Due to there being a blockage, the doors automatically opened, and Elaine was able to retract the buggy. Aoife, who was still inside the train, went to join her mother and sister on the platform; but as she tried to disembark, the automatic doors closed once again – on this occasion trapping the little girl´s head between them.

An ambulance was called, and Aoife was treated at the scene for a head injury by paramedics. A later examination by the family´s GP determined that Aoife had suffered a soft tissue injury and significant bruising. Seven years later, and Aoife has a scar on her head and has developed a phobia about travelling on the Luas.

Through her mother, Aoife made a Luas injury compensation claim against Veolia Transport Dublin Light Rail Ltd – the operators of the Luas. In the claim it was alleged that Veolia had been negligent and in breach of duty. Veolia initially denied its liability for Aoife´s Luas injury and prepared a full defence to contest the claim.

However, after a period of negotiation between solicitors representing the two parties, a €25,000 settlement of Aoife´s Luas injury compensation claim was agreed – the settlement having to be first approved by a judge as Aoife is legally a minor.

Consequently the details of the accident and Aoife´s injury were told to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. Judge Groarke heard that Aoife may need psychotherapy in the future to overcome her phobia about travelling on the Luas, and the judge approved the settlement of Luas injury compensation – wishing Aoife all the best for the future.

Boy Awarded Compensation for an Injury Caused by a Dog Bite

March 24th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A boy has been awarded €7,500 compensation for an injury caused by a dog bite after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

Rhys Loy from Clongriffin in Dublin was twelve years of age when he was cycling home from school in November 2011. As he mounted a pavement in Raheny, he was attacked and bitten by a five-year-old Collie named Charlie, who was out for a walk on a lead with his temporary carer – Anecy Sholling.

 Rhys was taken suffering from shock to the Children´s University Hospital in Temple Street, where he received treatment for a superficial laceration on his left calf. After being discharged from hospital with his injury cleaned and sutured, Rhys returned on several more occasions to have the dressing changed and his injury examined to ensure it was healing properly.

On her son´s behalf, Rhys´ mother – Sinead Byrne – claimed compensation for an injury caused by a dog bite against the registered owners of the dog – the PAWS animal rescue centre in Mullinahone, County Tipperary, which was run by Deidre and Gina Hetherington. Ms Byrne also applied to the Gardai to have the dog put down.

Deidre and Gina Hetherington denied their responsibility for Rhys´ dog bite injuries, and said that the Collie had been adopted by Ms Sholling several months before the attack on Rhys. The Hetheringtons claimed that they did not know the whereabouts of the Collie when Garda officers attempted to collect the dog to have him put down.

With there being a dispute over liability, the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the case to be heard in court. The claim for compensation for an injury caused by a dog bite subsequently went to the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the hearing, Judge Groarke was informed by a Garda officer that she had seen paperwork confirming PAWS as the registered owners of the Collie at the time of the attack. The officer testified that the dog was only being fostered by Ms Sholling when it attacked Rhys and that it had been returned to the animal rescue centre shortly afterwards.

As the Collie had been the property of the animal rescue centre at the time of the attack, Judge Groarke said that Deidre and Gina Hetherington were the legal owners and subsequently liable for the dog´s actions. He ordered them to pay Rhys €7,500 compensation for an injury caused by a dog bite and commented he did not believe it was a coincidence that the Collie had escaped his punishment.

Claim for a Brain Injury Caused by Hydrocephalus Resolved in Court

March 5th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A claim for a brain injury caused by hydrocephalus has been resolved in the High Court after the Health Service Executive was found guilty of medical negligence.

At the age of three months, Ava Kiernan started developing the symptoms of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”). The condition was caused by spinal fluid “pooling” in Ava´s skull because it has failed to drain from the brain and is most commonly identified in children under the age of one year by a rapid expansion of the head´s circumference or bulges appearing as “soft spots” around the skull.

In April 2008, a public health nurse examined Ava and measured her head. However – despite the concern´s of Ava´s mother – no recall for a second examination was arranged. A subsequent measurement of Ava´s head in September, which could have identified the hydrocephalus condition, was conducted incorrectly.

Due to the nurse´s failure to act and the subsequent errors in the measurement of her head, the pressure from the spinal fluid pooling in her skull resulted in Ava suffering brain damage. Ava´s mother – Ruth Kiernan from Duleek in County Meath – made a claim for a brain injury caused by hydrocephalus against the Health Service Executive (HSE), claiming that her daughter´s mental and physical disabilities were attributable to medical negligence.

The claim for a brain injury due to hydrocephalus was contested by the HSE, and the case went to the High Court where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. After hearing evidence for three weeks, Judge Cross found in Ava´s favour. He said that if Ava had been recalled for a second examination four weeks after the initial head measurement in April 2008, or the subsequent measurement of her head in September had been conducted correctly, Ava´s hydrocephalus would likely have been identified.

The judge continued to say that Ava´s hydrocephalus would have been diagnosed after a scan and treated by a shunt before it resulted in permanent brain damage. Judge Cross said that the public health nurse´s failure to act on Ruth´s concerns was “materially causative” to Ava´s brain injury and he adjourned the claim for a brain injury caused by hydrocephalus in order that an assessment can be conducted to determine an appropriate settlement of damages.

Medical Negligence Claim against Kerry General Hospital Heard at High Court

February 18th, 2015. By Compensation News.

The High Court has approved an interim settlement of a medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital after hearing the circumstances of a young girl´s birth.

At the Kerry General Hospital on 22nd April 2011, Skye Worthington was born. Her mother – Colleen – had been given syntocinon to speed up her labour and, although the drug had caused Colleen´s contractions to accelerate, they also caused Skye´s heartbeat to decelerate.

The deceleration of the foetal heartbeat was ignored by medical staff, and Skye was born with cerebral palsy due to a lack of oxygen in the womb. Skye – now three years of age – has to be fed through a tube, has difficulty sitting still, and can only communicate by using her eyes.

A review of the management of Skye´s birth found that if she had been delivered fifteen minutes earlier, her devastating injuries could have been avoided. Subsequently Colleen Worthington made a medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital on behalf of her daughter

The hospital acknowledged that errors had been made in the management of Skye´s birth, and an interim settlement of the medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital was agreed while an assessment is carried out to consider Skye´s future needs.

As Skye was unable to represent herself, the interim settlement of compensation had to be approved by a judge. Consequently, at the High Court, Judge Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of Skye´s birth and the devastating injuries she suffered as a result.

The court also heard an apology read to Skye´s parents stating that lessons had been learned from the review of Skye´s birth – in which her parents had participated – which had helped the hospital clarify a number of important issues.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross then approved the €2.32 interim settlement of the medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital, explaining to Skye´s parents that he was adjourning the case for three years.

He also explained that when they return to court after Skye´s assessment, they will have the option of receiving annual periodic payments – subject to legislation being passed – or taking a lump sum payment in final settlement of Skye´s medical negligence claim against Kerry General Hospital.

Judge Approves Compensation for Injuries in Car Park Accident

February 2nd, 2015. By Compensation News.

A High Court judge has approved a €1 million settlement of compensation for injuries in a car park accident in favour of a man who allegedly suffered a brain injury in a fall.

On December 10, 2007, James O´Sullivan (32) was walking through the Muddy Hill Car Park in Mallow, County Cork, when he tripped on a base unit supporting the fence at the boundary of the car park and fell between 12 and 20 feet onto wasteland below.

James – also from Mallow in County Cork – was taken unconscious to Mallow General Hospital before being later transferred to Cork University Hospital for treatment to a head injury. Since the accident, James alleges he has suffered a profound neurological impairment which includes forgetfulness, post-traumatic epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder.

After seeking legal advice, James claimed compensation for his injuries in the car park accident on the grounds that a lack of lighting at night made the car park unsafe and dangerous, and that he had been unnecessarily exposed to the risk or injury, damage and loss.

The four defendants against whom the claim for compensation was made – Mallow Town Council, Denis Murphy, Kilpatrick Civil Engineering Ltd, and Groundworks – each denied their liability for James´ accident and contested the extent of his injuries.

The case proceeded to the High Court, where it was heard before Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Despite the four defendants not admitting to liability, the judge heard that an offer of settlement had been made amounting to €1 million compensation for injuries in a car park accident and that James was prepared to accept it.

The judge approved the €1 million settlement – saying it was a good one in the circumstances as there was a risk that, if the case proceeded and the defendants´ contention was accepted, James might not receive such a substantial settlement of compensation for injuries in a car park accident.

Compensation for Child Killed in Car Accident Awarded to Mother

January 23rd, 2015. By Compensation News.

A settlement of compensation for a child killed in a car accident has been approved in the Circuit Court for the mother of a toddler who was run over by a neighbour.

Lily Rose O´Toole was approaching her second birthday when, on 3rd March 2013, she was in the front garden of her family home in Tallaght, Dublin with her mother Ruth. Ruth left her daughter unattended for just a few minutes as she chatted with a neighbour who was just about to leave in her car.

After saying goodbye to the neighbour, Ruth turned back towards her own garden and could not see her daughter. Ruth then heard a bang, and turned around to see her daughter on the floor behind the neighbour´s car.

Lily Rose managed to get up and walk a few steps towards her mother but, when Ruth picked her up, she noticed a graze on her daughter´s forehead. The toddler was rushed to Tallaght Hospital, but died shortly after of intra-abdominal bleeding caused by internal injuries.

Ruth sought legal advice and made a claim for compensation for a child killed in a car accident under the Civil Liability Act 1962 against her neighbour – Esther Dillon. Ms Dillon´s liability was accepted by her car insurance company and a settlement of €36,188 was agreed.

Because part of the compensation settlement included compensation for Lily Rose´s ten-year-old step-brother, the settlement of compensation for a child killed in a car accident had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be resolved.

Consequently, the case was brought before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court, who was told the circumstances of Lily Rose´s tragic accident. The judge was told that the settlement of compensation included €20,394 for Ruth´s mental distress and €10,794 for fees and funeral expenses – the other €5,000 being awarded to the step-brother, Patrick.

Judge Groarke approved the settlement of compensation for a child killed in a car accident and expressed the court´s deep sympathy – saying that the loss of a child was a terrible thing to happen to any mother.

Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for being Attacked by a Dog

January 15th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A High Court judge has approved a €150,000 settlement of compensation for being attacked by a dog in favour of a twelve year old girl.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard how Lauren Kelly from Abbeylara in County Longford was playing “hunting the wren” with family and friends on 26th December 2011, when she came across a Rottweiler that had escaped from its home by jumping over a wall and was roaming the streets.

The Rottweiler attacked Lauren – causing her to sustain neck and shoulder injuries and twenty-six puncture wounds to her upper right arm. Lauren escaped worse injury when her mother and friends jumped on the dog to stop it “tossing Lauren around like a rag doll”.

Lauren was taken immediately to hospital, where she was treated for her injuries. Lauren subsequently had to undergo multiple skin grafts surgeries, which have left her permanently scarred, and she now has to wear a protective medical sleeve whenever she goes swimming to prevent infections.

Lauren made a claim for compensation for being attacked by a dog through her parents – Michael and Marcella Kelly – claiming that the owner of the Rottweiler – William Crawford also of Abbeylara, County Longford – had been negligent by having inadequate measures in place to stop the dog from escaping.

The claim for compensation was initially contested, but a settlement of compensation for being attacked by a dog was subsequently agreed amounting to €150,000. As Lauren is still a legal minor, settlement of her claim had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of the attack and the injuries that Lauren had sustained. He heard how Lauren had suffered nightmares after the attack and was still scared of big dogs.

The judge approved the €150,000 settlement of compensation for being attacked by a dog, which will be held by the court in an interest-bearing account until Lauren is eighteen years of age. Lauren´s patents will be able to access the settlement by application to the court if Lauren requires further medical attention as a result of the attack.

Pedestrian Injury Compensation Reduced by 60% due to Contributory Negligence

December 29th, 2014. By Compensation News.

An award of pedestrian injury compensation has been reduced by a High Court judge in Belfast due to the plaintiff´s contributory negligence.

On 26th September 2010, Stacey McCaughey (24) was walking home with some friends along the Carrickmannon Road in Ballygowan after an evening out at the nearby Chestnut Inn. Due to the volume of alcohol that had been consumed, the group swayed and staggered along the unlit road unaware of any potential danger they may be in.

A car driven by Brian Mullan suddenly appeared in front of the group and, due to their confused state, they were unable to move out of the vehicle´s path. Mullan swerved to avoid hitting the group of friends but hit Stacey – sending her over the roof of the car and back onto the road.

Stacey was rushed to hospital where she remained in intensive care for four days while receiving treatment for a frontal lobe contusion, a spinal injury and multiple fractures. Since her discharge from hospital, Stacey suffers from headaches, moods swings and memory loss, and has significant facial scarring.

Stacey made a claim for pedestrian injury compensation against Mullan, claiming that he was driving too fast to avoid hitting her. Mullan disputed the claim on the basis that the group had been wandering aimlessly across the road with no regard for their own safety.

A forensic engineer verified Mullan´s version of events that he hit Stacey as he swerved to avoid other members of the group, while police who attended the scene confirmed that the driver had been sober at the time of the accident.

The claim for pedestrian injury compensation went to the Belfast High Court, where it was heard before Mr Justice O´Hara. The judge found in Stacey´s favour on the grounds that Mullan had been driving too fast along the unlit road, but also found Stacey negligent and partly responsible for her injuries.

Delivering his verdict, the judge said that Stacey had failed to look after her own safety “by walking in the middle of a dark, unlit road while drunk and incapable of being alert to traffic”. He said that had she not contributed to the cause of her injuries, he would have awarded her £110,000; however he was reducing the award of pedestrian injury compensation by 60 percent to £44,000 to account for her contributory negligence.

Investigations Launched into Care Home Abuse

December 10th, 2014. By Compensation News.

Nine staff from the Áras Attracta care home – the intellectual disability centre featured in Primetime´s “Inside Bungalow Three” documentary – have been suspended while investigations are launched into allegations of care home abuse.

The staff were suspended prior to the showing of the RTÉ documentary, in which secretly shot footage showed care home abuse to three women with intellectual disabilities, after a preview of the broadcast had been shown to officials from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Four investigations have been launched in total – two by the HSE, one by the Gardaí and one by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) who are responsible for monitoring the standard of care in Ireland´s care homes.

“Inside Bungalow Three” was filmed by an undercover reporter posing as a work experience student after Primetime investigators had been tipped off about the care home abuse by a former employee after her complaints to senior management were ignored.

The program showed distressing scenes of physical and verbal abuse – the residents being force-fed, slapped and kicked – and scenes of psychological abuse – such as when a 75-year-old resident is kept seated in the same position for six hours.

The care home abuse was condemned by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who described the failure in the standard of care as “sickening”, and by Eamon Timmins – CEO of Age Action, who said “Age Action condemns the inhuman, degrading and abusive treatment highlighted in tonight’s Prime Time Investigates programme.”

Further condemnation of the care home abuse came from Hiqa´s Chief Executive Phelim Quinn, who said that he was “appalled” that such behaviour could occur in a centre housing “probably some of the most vulnerable in our society”, while Tony O´Brien – the Director General of the HSE – said that the level of care was “totally unacceptable”.

The HSE also publicly apologised to the residents and their families for the care home abuse. A statement said that the HSE did not wish to “pre-empt the findings of an independent investigation” but had taken immediate steps to ensure a caring a safe environment is now in pace for the residents of Áras Attracta.

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.”

Appeal Successful in Mortgage Interest Rate Increase Complaint

November 3rd, 2014. By Compensation News.

A mortgage interest rate increase complaint has resulted in a successful conclusion for a Dublin couple at the High Court.

Kenneth and Donna Millar of Portmarnock, County Dublin, made an appeal to the High Court after a mortgage interest rate increase complaint against their bank was rejected by the Financial Services Ombudsman. The Millars had complained to the Ombudsman that the Danske Bank (formerly the National Irish Bank) had increased the rate of interest on their six variable rate investment mortgages and on the personal mortgage for their family home.

The couple complained that their lender had raised the rate of interest to 4 percent in November 2011 at a time when the Central European Bank´s rates of interest were at a historic low. They believed that, under the terms of their mortgage agreements, the bank was only entitled to increase or decrease the rates of interest on their mortgages “in line with general market interest rates”.

However, when the Millars made a mortgage interest rate increase complaint to the Danske Bank, they were told that European Central Bank had no influence over what the bank could charge. The couple escalated their mortgage interest rate increase complaint to the Ombudsman, who rejected it on the grounds that their mortgage agreements stated the bank would alter the rate “in response to market conditions” and not “in line with general market interest rates”.

The Ombudsman said that the distinction in the phrasing of the clause was significant and indicated that the Danske Bank did not have to maintain rates of interest in line with those charged by the European Central Bank. The Ombudsman also agreed with Danske Bank that it did not have to release details of how risk assessments were conducted on Kenneth and Donna Millar.

The Millars were not prepared to give up on their mortgage interest rate increase complaint and appealed the Ombudsman´s decision to the High Court. There, before Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, they argued that the information given to them when they took out the first of their variable rate mortgages in 2009 was that “When interest rates go down your monthly payments do likewise. However, when interest rates rise, your monthly payments will increase too”.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan agreed with the Millars mortgage interest rate increase complaint and said that the text of the clause was ambiguous in the “general factual background against which the contract was entered into”. The Judge dismissed the Ombudsman´s decision on the complaint and instructed the Ombudsman to review it again “in a manner not inconsistent with this judgement”.

What the Case Means to Other Variable Rate Mortgage Holders

Approximately 207,000 mortgages in Ireland are variable interest rate mortgages like the Millar´s – and although Mr Justice Gerard Hogan did not rule that Danske Bank were in breach of contract, his verdict in the case offers the opportunity for other variable rate mortgage holders in Ireland to complain about any unjustifiable increases in the rate of interest, knowing that there is a precedent to support the complaint.

If you are one of the 30 percent of the Irish mortgage market that has a variable interest rate mortgage, and you would like to know more about making a mortgage interest rate increase complaint, contact our 24 hour helpline and speak with a solicitor in confidence. We cannot guarantee every mortgage interest rate interest complaint will have a successful conclusion, but we will be able to advise you of your options and whether you have a complaint which is worth your while to pursue.

Judge Orders Charitable Donation Settlement after Animal Injured Child at Zoo

October 16th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A judge at the Dublin District Court has ordered the Zoological Society of Ireland to make two charitable donations after an animal injured a child at the zoo in Phoenix Park.

On 8th August 2013, a party of adults and children were allowed into the Brazilian tapir enclosure in Phoenix Park Zoo under the supervision of a zoo-keeper. Unfortunately, while the party were inside the enclosure, one of the tapir´s became agitated and attacked a two-year-old toddler and her mother when she tried to defend her daughter.

The young girl was taken to Temple Street children´s hospital, where she was treated for stomach and arm injuries. Her mother also received medical treatment for injuries she sustained while trying to defend the toddler from the animal which injured her child at the zoo.

An investigation into the incident was launched by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) which revealed that the visit to the tapir enclosure should not have been allowed according to a risk assessment conducted in 2006.

The HSA prosecuted the Zoological Society of Ireland with a breach of the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, to which the Society pleaded guilty when the case came before Judge John O´Nell at the Dublin District Court.

The judge heard a statement read out in court by a representative of the Zoological Society of Ireland, in which the zoo apologised for the injuries sustained by the toddler and her mother, and which informed the judge of health and safety measures that had been implemented to prevent a repeat of when the animal injured the child at the zoo.

Judge O´Neill said that he would put the Zoological Society of Ireland on probation, provided that it made two charitable donations to LauraLynn Children’s Hospital and the Jack and Jill Foundation of €2,500 each. Subject to the payments being made by December 8th, the judge said that no conviction would be recorded against the Zoological Society of Ireland.

It is understood that the parents of girl hurt in the incident do not intend to make a claim for injury compensation against the Zoological Society of Ireland.

Compensation Claim for Slip and Fall on Wet Stairs Resolved during Hearing

October 9th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A compensation claim for a slip and fall on wet stairs has been resolved during a High Court hearing after the plaintiff agreed to an undisclosed settlement of his claim.

The compensation claim for a slip and fall on wet stairs was brought by William Busteed (59) of Cork City, who was leaving his council-owned apartment on May 9th 2009 to catch a flight to Majorca when he slipped on a wet stair at the top of the complex´s stairway and fell awkwardly.

The taxi waiting to take William to the airport instead took him to Cork University Hospital, where William was treated for injuries to his face and left shoulder and a fractured left arm. William made a compensation claim for a slip and fall on wet stairs against the council, but liability was denied and William was given authorisation to take his claim to court.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Daniel Herbert heard arguments that Cork City Council were to blame for William´s injuries as they had failed to attend to a faulty smoke alarm. A fault in the smoke alarm had caused it to go off without reason twice a week, at which point vents above the stairway opened and allowed the rain to enter.

William´s solicitor claimed that William had reported the hazard to the council, but they had failed to attend to it, but in response the council´s legal representatives produced a record of all William´s complaints and how quickly they had been attended to. The council also claimed that he had been drunk at the time of the accident, and produced a medical report which showed alcohol and cannabis in his blood when he attended the Cork University Hospital.

William denied that he had been drunk on the day in question, and told Judge Herbert that he had drunk no more than two bottles of beer that day because he was aware that airlines could refuse boarding to passengers who were intoxicated. He also claimed that he had never smoked cannabis prior to his accident and said that he did not touch the drug because he did not like it.

At the end of the first day of the hearing, William´s compensation claim for a slip and fall on wet stairs was adjourned to be continued the following morning; but, before proceedings were due to commence, Judge Herbert was told that an undisclosed settlement of compensation had been agreed and that William´s claim could be struck out.


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