Personal Injury Compensation


Fingal Co Council Sued by Motorcyclist Who Crashed into Crowd-Control Barrier

January 20th, 2022. By Compensation News.

Fingal County Council is being sued in the High Court by a motorcycle driver who crashed into a crowd-control barrier, sustaining injuries, which he claims was placed on a road as part of a community festival by the event organisers.

57-year-old motorcyclist Des Kearns with an address at Wooddale Road, Rush, Co Dublin, is taking a legal action for compensation against Fingal County Council, event management company ALA Markets and Events Ltd, of Glasnevin, Dublin, and by order of the court, CFTB Rush Harbour Festival, the locally based volunteer organisers of the event.

In his action he claims that he sustained his injuries due to the negligence of the above named defendants. However, the defendants are refuting these claims and are arguing that Mr Kearns was guilty of contributory negligence as he was travelling at too great a speed and failed to maintain an adequate amount of caution.

When the accident occurred Mr Kearns was employed as a baggage handler at Dublin Airport. He sustained injuries including a fractured his elbow when he was thrown from his motorcycle in the collision with the 90cm high barrier as his was travelling to work on July 31 2016 at approximately 5am.

The plaintiff is alleging that the barrier, which was in place as part of the
Harbour Festival at Rush Co Dublin, was positioned in an oblique angle at the top of Kilbush Lane. Representing Mr Kearns in the High Court Declan Doyle SC, instructed by Stuart Gilhooly, informed Judge Justice Mary Rose Gearty that his client sustained serious and traumatic physical and psychological injury due to the accident.

Mr Doyle added that one of the consequences of the accident was that he was forced to leave his employment at Dublin Airport as a baggage handler due to the physical exertion involved.

His private life wa also impacted as he could no longer drive his motorcycle due to the pain his injuries caused when using the clutch. In addition he had been an enthusiastic amateur guitar player before the incident but now plays very little due to the pain he suffers from. Mr Kearns is married with a teenage daughter.

During the hearing Mr Kearns described how the accident unfolded. He said he clipped the barrier, which was placed on the road was at an angle, as he tried to to avoid it when he was navigating a bend. He was thrown into the air from his 600cc Kawasaki motorcycle. He added that he believed he was travelling at a speed of approximately 35kph when he appear to have struck the legs of the barrier.

Following the incident Mr Kearns was brought by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital for medical attention. He was was diagnosed with a fractured elbow which was placed in a plaster. He was advised to attend the hospital a few days later for a surgical procedure on his injured elbow.

Mr Kearns informed the Court that the pain in his elbow persisted and caused him sleep difficulties and anxiety. He attended a counsellor due to this psychological impact.

Due to the injuries he sustained he was unable to attend his job for 11 months. Upon returning to work he found his duties now involved heavy lifting which caused him great stress. When he made this clear to his employers, Swissport, they told him that they could only treat him the sames as his co-workers. Due to this he applied for, and was hired to, a role with Aer Lingus in airplane catering. He remained employed in this position until the advent of the COVID19 pandemic when his employment contract came to and end. He felt he was unable to return to the role, due to his injuries, when the role became available again in 2020.

When he was cross examined by Micheál Ó’Scanaill SC, represented Final Co Council, Mr Kearns said he did not accept that he was speeding or failing to maintain an adequate look out. He said he did not agree that the road barrier was clearly visible. He (Mr Kearns) also disagreed with David Nolan SC, legally representing Rush Harbour Festival defendant who put to him that, as suggested by the damage to the barrier shown in a photograph provided to the court, Mr Kearns must have been driving at “one hell of a speed” and “hit it at some whack”.

Mr Kearns responded saying: “I can guarantee you I was not speeding, you are trying to suggest I was speeding and I was not”.

The case continues.

€1.2m Swine Fly Vaccine Compensation Settlement for Boy Suffering with Sleep Disorder

October 27th, 2021. By Compensation News.

A swine flu Vaccine High Court action has been settled for €1.2m in favour of a now 16-year-old boy who alleged that having the vaccine administered resulted in him developing a rare sleep disorder.

Just four years old when he received the Pandemrix vaccine in November 2009, the teenager, who cannot be named by order of the court,

developed narcolepsy along with cataplexy which involves loss of muscle control and he will require medication for the rest of his life according to his legal counsel, Jonathan Kilfeather SC.

Mr Kilfeather informed the court that his client experiences extreme fatigue and anxiety at heightened levels. He added that there is little prospect for the young boy to ever hope to obtain a full-time job in future.

This most recent swine flu vaccine compensation settlement came after the ground-breaking settlement for a 16-year-old boy in November 2020 – a compensation settlement that cleared the way for the resolution of 80 cases related to the Pandemrix vaccine.

The boy had, via his mother, taken legal action against the Minister for Health, the HSE, and Glaxosmithkline Biologicals SA (GSK) — the manufacturer of Pandemrix. However, The State has already allowed GSK an indemnity by the State in relation to any ill effects caused by the swine flu vaccine.

In court the Judge was informed that the boy’s parents are content with the settlement. It was added that the boy’s father believed that narcolepsy is a misunderstood condition and that leading a typical life is very challenging for those suffering with it.

Mr Kilfeather informed the High Court the €1.2 million settlement represented 50% of the full value of the case. This is because it was agreed, under the terms of that settlement, that 50% of the settlement figure would be paid out.

Included in the settlement are educational supports, accommodation expenses for potential third-level education education, a “gold” level medical card and an allowance for the cost of childcare.

As he was giving his approval for the vaccine injury compensation settlement, Justice Paul Coffey remarked that it was at the higher end of the scale for a legal action such as this one.

Triathlete (46) Injured in Car Crash Awarded €60,000 Road Accident Compensation

April 3rd, 2021. By Compensation News.

At the Highe COurt in Dublin an elite-level triathlete and businessman has been awarded over €60,000 in road accident compensation due to the injuries he suffered in an car accident during 2013 which severely hampered his sporting activity.

The judge was informed that Trevor Murphy has suffered the injuries when his stationary vehicle was struck, while sitting in a line of traffic, from close to Tallaght Stadium. The accident in question occurred on October 6, 2013.

Mr Murphy was seeking personal injury compensation from Helen Palmer, the driver of the other vehicle. The compensation claim stated that Ms Palmer had been driving in a negligent manner.

Mr Murphy informed the judge that his interest in triathlons and mountain bike racing were “my life”.

Mr Murphy, the judge was informed, sustained soft tissue injuries to his mid/lower back which cleared up about six months subsequent to the accident. However he still experiences regular pain and headaches from injuries to his neck and upper back.

In addition to curtailing his sporting activity, Mr Murphy said the injuries also impacted negatively on his business career prospects and relationship with his family.

In assessing the incident, injuries and arguments made in the case Justice Bernard Barton said that the defence had presented “a full frontal assault” on the veracity of Mr Murphy’s claims in relation to his injuries even though it had withdrawn a plea made at the beginning of the case which argued that the force of the car crash was minimal and incapable of causing injury.

The judge remarked how the photographic evidence provided clearly showed that there had been significant impact damage caused to the vehicles involved in the incident. He added that the defence did not provide its own medical expert in relation to records on Mr Murphy’s pre- and post-accident performance times in triathlons to allow a fair assessment of the impact of his injuries to be completed.

The respondents sought to have Mr Murphy’s claim struck out, claiming that he had intentionally given false and misleading evidence as his injuries were not as serious or profound as he had alleged. Lawyers for the defendant said Mr Murphy had not informed the court that he had finished a half Ironman in August 2015 and the Dublin City Marathon in 2015 and 2016 which he had completed in just over four hours.

However, lawyers for Mr Murphy said he had candidly addressed all sporting events in which he had participated when asked in relation to them. Mr Murphy told the court that, while he returned to competitive running, said he experience issues when he tried to resume swimming and cycling. He added that, despite completing the a half-Ironman event, he said had to be pulled from the water at the end of the swim and got sick at the end of the run.

The judge assessed Mr Murphy’s injuries at the higher end of the moderate to severe range of damages and awarded him €50,000 in general damages for pain and suffering plus special damages of €10,613 for physical therapy treatment.

€2m Compensation for Couple Exposed to Toxic Insulation Chemicals

January 20th, 2021. By Compensation News.

A married couple who were accidently exposed to toxic chemicals following the installation of spray foam insulation at their Donegal have been awarded compensation of approximately €2m.

In relation to suffering they experienced following inappropriate communication during the 2016 installation of the insulation at their house located in Annagry, the Duffys family were awarded the sum by Justice Kevin Cross. Justice Cross said that he felt the couple, Patrick and Anita Duffy, sustained “their life-altering serious injuries as a result of exposure to chemicals”.

He went on to say that, based on the facts presented to him, that the most likely cause of these injuries was the installation of the foam insulation into the roof of the house. The Duffys’ injuries were inflicted upon them and it was beyond a reasonable doubt that the the exposure to the insulation product used by the company performing the installation was to blame for this.

He found that the insulation installed, McGee Insulation Services, has not properly warned the Duffys to remain away from their dwelling for a minimum period of two hours after the spraying was completed. He added that the company had not made them aware of the potential danger of returning to the house before this time period had elapsed.

Justice Cross went on to say that the insulation foam product itself is “essentially safe” if installed appropriately and guidelines are adhered to by all parties and that the injuries in this case were like due to exposure rather than negligence in relation to the actual installation.

The Duffys now reside in a mobile home and all three family members. All three family members have become very sensitive to some products and basically “now live in a bubble”. They initiated the compensation legal action against the company that completed the installation on February 18 2016 – Brendan McGee, trading as Largenreach from Downings, Co Donegal. Additionally they filed a legal action for compensation against the provider of the spray foam insulation material – GMS Insulations, of Legga, Moyne, Co Longford.

The action claimed that the family were exposed to dangerous fumes and toxic chemicals while and their young daughter could no longer reside at their dream home near the sea in Donegal because as she no longer feels safe there.

The defendants refuted all of the allegations made in the compensation action.

In delivering his ruling Judge Justice Kevin Cross stated: “I have no doubt whatsoever had they been so appraised that Mrs Duffy would have left the house with her daughter before the spraying commenced and none of the Duffys would have returned until they were assured it was safe to do so.”

HSE Pays €68,000 Alleged Negligence Compensation Settlement to Family of Deceased Woman

December 15th, 2020. By Compensation News.

An €68,000 alleged negligence compensation settlement will be paid by the HSE to the family of a woman who died of sepsis due to peritonitis.

In the action the family of 72-year-old Rose O’Malley, who had a history of pancreatitis, alleged her death was caused by a Peg feeding tube moving and causing there mother to experience septic shock.

Alistair Rutherdale BL represented Catherine O’Malley, of Latchford Green, Clonee, Dublin in Dublin. Ms O’Malley is a daughter Rose and took the case on behalf of her family. The case claimed that there was negligence in relation to the placing, monitoring and application of a Peg tube which resulted in Mrs O’Malley’s passing.

Mrs O’Malley had previously suffered with cholecystitis, inflammation of the gallbladder and had a surgical procedure at Mayo General Hospital in October 2012. The Court was informed that a decision to leave gall stones in place allowed a risk of additional issues such as acute pancreatitis.

Mr Rutherdale said the family were claiming that Mrs O’Malley should not have been discharged on December 30 – having attended the Blanchardstown hospital on December 27, 2014 suffering with symptoms including vomiting. She was taken back to hospital on January 5 when she was diagnosed with pancreatitis and pneumobilia.

Counsel said their case was that a Peg feeding tube inserted on March 13, 2015 to aid her slow recovery, had moved and lead to peritonitis and, subsequently, was the main case of Mrs O’Malley’s death.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons approved the settlement which includes the full €35,000 solatium – the statutory payment under the Civil Liability Act – €8,402 in special damages, and the rest of the €68,000 settlement is accounted for in legal costs.

Playschool Compensation of €20,000 for Girl who Allegedly Injured Finger in Fire Door

October 13th, 2020. By Compensation News.

A young girl who is alleged to have gotten her finger trapped in a fire door at her playschool has been awarded a High Court compensation settlement of €20,000.

10-year-old Brooke Weldon was aged three at the time she sustained a crush injury to her right ring finger tip.

Via her mother Nikita Weldon Brooke Weldon, Seagrave Court, Finglas, had sued Poppintree Early Education Centre Ltd, Poppintree Community Centre, Ballymun, Dublin due to the injuries she sustained in the accident on the playschool premises on January 13, 2014.

The legal action claimed there was an alleged failure to properly supervise the toddler at all times and an alleged failure to see to it that the door which led to the toilets did not shut on the child’s fingers, causing an injury. Additionally there was a claim that an alleged failure to ensure the fire door would not close on the young girl’s finger tip.

The claims were denied by the defendant.

Presiding Judge Justice Garrett Simons was informed that playschool was refuting claims. In court CCTV footage was presented which seemed to support the playschool’s claims that the child emerged from a bathroom with the injured finger.

Legal representatives for the plaintiff informed the High Court heard tthat brought attended the Children’s Hospital Temple Street to have her injuries tended to. Here it was recorded that she had suffered crush injury to her right fingertip. Due to this she underwent a surgical procedure to repair the tip. Over the next month she had further appointments for additional required dressings.

As a result of the accident Brooke now uses her left hand to write and do things on a daily basis. She sustained some scarring on the fingertip, the court heard. However, she has no memory of the incident.

In approving the settlement Mr Justice Garret Simons commented that there were significant issues on liability in this legal action. He said that, typically, the full value of such a case would be €40,000. However, due to the the fact that the child has no memory of the accident, along with the dispute events and CCTV footage, had lead to a 50% discount. This brought the overall playschool injury compensation settlement to €20,000. In addition to this Justice Simons awarded the pay-out of €250 so that Brooke can celebrate the end of the case.

He said that he was of the belief that this represents a good, sensible settlement.

Rugby Fan Awarded in €6,000 Compensation Following Level Crossing Accident

September 20th, 2020. By Compensation News.

A €6,000 personal injury compensation has been awarded to a rugby fan who was struck on the head after a level crossing barrier collided with him as he was walking towards the Aviva Stadium in 2018.

Dublin Fire Brigade paramedic Rod Hayden walking among a crowd of supporters on his way to the Leinster v Munster match on October 6, 2018. When he was waiting for the the automated barrier gates of the Dart crossing at Serpentine Avenue, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, to rise and open.

When the gates opened he had proceeded to walk forward but, before he got completely across the gap, he was struck on the head and he he fell to the ground in pain.

Mr Hayden, despite feeling dizzy, became aware that there were some other individuals still standing on the tracks between the shut barriers and that there was someone in a high-vis coat at the level crossing. Due to the dizziness he could not remember anything that was said by anyone present at the time of the accident.

Mr Hayden he attended his local GP as he was experiencing headaches following the incident. His GP diagnosed him with whiplash and prescribed him a course of pain killing medication. Following two further check up appointments, Mr Hayden’s symptoms were not longer noticeable during January 2019.

Brendan Savage, legal counsel for Iarnród Éireann questioned Mr Hayden to ascertain if he had been aware of the warning buzzer or lights as he was crossing the tracks as the barriers went up. Mr hayden said he had not been conscious of this at the time. Video footage captured by CCTV was presented to to the judge.

Expert witness engineer Neil O’Carroll investigate the area that the incident took place. In his findings he said that there was a six second gaps between the first barrier going up and the second barrier coming back down but that the crowd had been moving moved slower than this. He added that the loudness of the warning signal was low and possibly inadequate for a match day crowd.

Iarnród Éireann, according to Judge Deirdre Gearty, had failed in its duty of care and was liable for the injuries Mr Hayden experienced. At Dublin District Court she awarded €6,000 plus legal costs, medical and witness expenses to Mr Hayden.

Car Crash at Roundabout Leads to €3,500 Compensation for Driver

August 11th, 2020. By Compensation News.

In Cork €3,500 roundabout accident compensation has been awarded to an individual who was forced to leave his employment due to the injuries that he sustained in the incident.

Isaac Cosmin Cirpaciu from Powerscourt had to give up his new role at a meat processing plant and go back to his previous employment at a fast food outlet as a result of the car crash that happened at a roundabout in Mallow. Mr Cirpacia informed presiding Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said he experiences discomfort and pain through his right shoulder, neck, back, chest as a result of the accident

he took the action against the other driver in the incident Barry Maas.

The court was informed that Mr Cirapciu had come to a stop prior to entering the roundabout when Mr Maas’s car collided with his. He alleged that he was struck by the vehicle driven by Maas when it entered the left lane. However, Mr Maas claimed that Mr Cirpaciu had come across in to the lane that was driving in.

Mr Cirpaciu sustained hip injuries in the collision when his chest hit the steering wheel. Immediately after the incident the plaintiff went to his Doctor for treatment and, subsequent to this attending two physiotherapy treatment and a specialist consultancy.

He stated: “For around three or four weeks I went to my GP and he kept giving me painkillers.”Defence barrister Deirdre Keane asked Mr Cirpaciu about a previous accident in September 2016 for which he received compensation and asked what the reason was for not sharing that that he also suffered a right shoulder injury in that crash. Mr Cirpaciu’s legal representatives countered that a medical report concerning that accident had been furnished. Ms Keane argued that there was only information relating to other previous injuries given.

Forensic engineering specialists represented both parties in the case.
Speaking for the defence, forensic engineer Seamus Walsh referred to the marks on the front left wheel of Mr Maas’ car saying that this were indicative of a car that was turning right.

ON behalf of the plaintiff engineering specialist Michael Byrne stated that the evidence suggested to him that Mr Maas was travelling faster and had entered the left lane of the roundabout. .

Judge Ó Donnabháin described the accident as mild and the injuries as minor and awarded the plaintiff €3,500, together with costs.

Waitress Awarded €50,000 Compensation for Broken Glass Injury

July 23rd, 2020. By Compensation News.

A woman who was working as a waitress when she sustained a hand injury as the glass she was polishing broke has been awarded €50,000 compensation at the Circuit Civil Court.

Daniela Tricolici (24) was, according to Judge John O’Connor, not given adequate safety training prior to polishing wine glasses for her then employer Ravellos Restaurant in Clonsilla in 2015.

Judge O’Connor deemed that the employer, ABE Restaurant Limited, Weaver’s Row, Clonsilla, had been negligent by not providing proper training for Ms Tricolici.

Ms Tricolici, with at an address at Ravenswood Road Clonsilla, is now employed in a bank. The court was informed that the woman punctured
er left little finger when the stem of the glass she was polishing broke. The incident took place on September 18, 2015.

Speaking in court, forensic engineer Conor Murphy advised the Judgethat Ms Tricolici had given him a demonstration of how she was polishing the glass with a towel when the accident occurred. He said that training should have been provided to show Ms Tricolici how to do so safely. Instead, according to Mr Murphy, Ms Tricolici had held the base of the wine glass in one hand while polishing the bowl with her other hand. She polished the glass in a twist and turn fashion when the stem had broken.

Barrister for the plaintiff, Conor Kearney, argued that the waitress had clearly been polishing the glass in the correct fashion and should have been stopped by her employer and shown how to do it correctly.  He said that if Ms Tricolici had been grasping the bowl of the glass in one hand while using the polishing cloth with her other hand it was more than probable that the glass would not have broken and injured her as it did on the day in question.

Legal counsel for the defendant claimed this that there is no dedicated provision in legislation or a manual focused on safe glass polishing. Along with this it was claimed that it would be placing a huge burden on an employer to ask them to train someone when there was no accepted official training regime or accepted pattern of training available on how a particular task should be completed.

After the incident the woman was taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, for the wound to be medically assessed and treated. Here it was found that she had been left with a small wound and that damage to a nerve in her finger had not properly rehabilitated. She still experiences hypersensitivity in the area of the injury.

Judge O’Connor awarded Ms Tricolici €25,000 personal injury compensation, saying: “I am satisfied on the balance of probability that the defendant in this case was negligent. There was no training provided and it should have been.”

Compensation Claims Likely for Scouting Ireland Fear Child Abuse Incidents

June 7th, 2020. By Compensation News.

Recent reports have indicated that Scouting Ireland was aware, as far back as 2018, that it could face financial ruin due to compensation claims linked to the sexual abuses cases that were detailed in the publication of a report last month.

Aisling Kelly, who was chair of Scouting Ireland board on December 10 2018 informed a room of senior volunteers that there was a chance that legal actions submitted against the organisation linked to “extensive, prolonged, and at times organised child sexual abuse”. In addition to this she said that such legal actions could “sink the organisation” if large numbers of abuse victims sought compensation from Scouting Ireland.

She based this claims on the likelihood of huge compensation settlements in other countries that were linked to child abuse in scouting organisations.

It has recently been revealed that Scouting Ireland has set aside a fund of €2.5 million to cover the costs of legal claims and cases from abuse survivors. This comes in the aftermath of a report being published in which child protection expert Ian Elliott revealed the outcomes and recommendations following the review he was commissioned to complete by Scouting Ireland. It brought to public attention the extent of the historic abuse at the scouting groups and described how the act to protect the interests of the young members.

In addition to the publication of the report, Scouting Ireland released a public apology to the victims. Scouting Ireland ChairAdrian Tennant claimed that since learning of the abuse scandal Scouting Ireland had attempted to “own” responsibility for facing up to the past failings.

The report made reference to the culture of the scouting groups in Ireland showed widespread “cronyism” and a lack of appropriate governance. This, it claimed, resulted in instances of child abuse not being reported to the proper bodies. Scouting Ireland was labelled a “seriously dysfunctional organisation”, with “sex offenders dominating the leadership for decades”. The report said that there was a “systematic failure” of the organisations to maintain appropriate records of reports of alleged child abuse allegations.

There are also reports that the Government is now reviewing the situation to see if a statutory inquiry into the past abuse is required.

Work Trauma Preliminary Settlement of $52m for US-based Facebook Content Moderators

May 14th, 2020. By Compensation News.

In a ruling that could have a huge impact for some Irish-based social media content moderators Facebook has agreed, in a preliminary settlement filed in California), to pay $52 million to current and former moderators as a result of the psychological trauma that they endured arising from the content that they were expected to view and the lack of an adequate support system to help them deal with it.

In addition to the compensation, Facebook has announced that if will be setting up additional counselling for those employed to complete content moderation tasks. The preliminary settlement will be available for class members who have been employed at locations in California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida since 2015. Final approval will be considered later in 2020, following a period of time for class members to review the preliminary settlement sufficiently.

Some of the amendments to the work change practices for content moderation going forward include audio being muted by default and videos will be displayed in black and white. In addition to this support systems will be enhanced and one-on-one sessions with a mental health professional will be an option. Access to workers suffering extreme mental health issues as a result of the work will be given access to a counsellor in less than 24 hours.

A similar action is currently being taken in Ireland has been submitted for Facebook content moderators employed in Ireland. claiming that they (the moderators) suffered from “psychological trauma” due to unacceptable work conditions and lack of an adequate support system to assist them in dealing with the strain of the role.

There are 11,250 moderators included in the class action in the US. Each moderator may be entitled for extra compensation of up to $50,000 based on the suffering they experienced. The legal action was initially submitted by former Facebook moderator Selena Scola in a California in September 2018. After it was submitted numerous other former Facebook content moderators joined the action. This led a number of reports in different media outlets of the severe conditions and lack of support that the employees had to endure during their time working with Facebook.

Facebook released a statement which said: “We are grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone. We’re committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future.” Last July Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially dismissed the multiple stories of moderators developing PTSD, referring to them as “a little overdramatic”.

In a statement, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Steve Williams said: “The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe. So the fact that we got some real, meaningful relief going forward just feels really good.”

Car Accident Compensation Case Settled

March 22nd, 2020. By Compensation News.

A car accident compensation case that left a woman involved in a road traffic collision “partially incapacitated” has seen a settlement approved.

Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth, aged 41, submitted the car accident compensation claim against another driver, Max Mulpeter, in relation to the accident that occurred in 2013. Ms Smythinfmred the Judge that she was left with “serious personal injuries” as a result of the crash and her car was written off.

Mr Mulpeter, a 26-year-old construction worker, Mr Mulpeter admitted full responsibility for the car crash that happened at Carrickboy, Co Longford, in November 2013.

Ms Smyth had been travelling along the main road in her car and had the right of way when the car crash occurred. In the crash she suffered facial scarring and a deep cut on the left side of her forehead. The cause of the crash was described as Mr Mulpeter pulling out too far while emerging from a secondary road.

The case was expected to go to a full trial but the Court was informed beforehand that a compensation settlement agreement had been possible. Due to this the issue was deemed settled and struck out by the High Court.

The precise figure in the compensation settlement was not made public initially and Ms Smyth said that stipulation of the settlement that the amount was to be confidential between the parties. Mr Mulpeter also opted to make no reference or comment in relation to the car accident compensation settlement.

However, the Irish Independent reported that Mr Mulpeter’s insurers, Asgard, cost in relation to the accident are around €184,000 – a figure which takes in to account third-party property damage and personal injury, Ms Smyth’s legal expenses and the insurance company’s legal and administrative costs.

Previously, Mr Mulpeter had been convicted of careless driving and fined €250 by the District Court. He now live in Australia .

Ms Smyth issued a statement on the car crash compensation action which said: “In my case, liability was accepted by the driver and his insurance company. He was convicted of careless driving.”

Accenture Asks Social Media Moderators to Sign Disclosure Agreements

January 26th, 2020. By Compensation News.

Accenture, a professional services company that provides external professional services around the world, has issued disclosure forms to new hires and existing staff  which state that they are completely aware that the content they must view as part of the duties may lead to them suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to reports in the US and the UK.

The Financial Time and The Verge have both revealed that the disclosure statement reads: “I understand the content I will be reviewing may be disturbing. It is possible that reviewing such content may impact my mental health, and it could even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

Accenture contractors are employed as outside moderators for social media sites. These moderators take over the tasks that include deleting any inappropriate content from the platform. In order to do so they must view and listen to disturbing posts of a violent or sexual in nature. A normal day’s work would involve these moderators looking over the inappropriate nature of objectionable materials and review disturbing images.

This step, to send out the disclosure statement, comes as Facebook is braced for legal actions taken by former content moderators that were initiated due to the PTSD they are experiencing as a result of the content they had to view. Legal actions have been initiated in California and Ireland.

Disclosure statements were sent out to Accenture employees in the United States and Europe to sign and return. Current staff members sent the disclosure statement in the form of an update. Accenture has three content moderation offices for Facebook in Europe based in Warsaw, Lisbon and Dublin. As these offices are located in the European Union they are subject to some of the stricest workplace safety rules possible.

The wording of form says that “no job is worth sacrificing my mental or emotional health” and that “this job is not for everyone” and suggests that people who are prone to mental health struggles due to work might not be a good match for Accenture. There is no provision made, in that statement, to say that Accenture is prepared to, as required by federal law in the US, make reasonable accommodations to individual who become disabled due to their job targets and tasks.

Facebook and Google, YouTube’s parent company have both shared public statements which say that they were not asked to approve or review Accenture’s new disclosure statement. They did say that they direct their professional service partners to have in place psychological support for content moderators.

Accenture included details of support services that are provided on the disclosure forms, such as a hotline and a wellness coach. These services are not provided by professional trained staff and Accenture included the line in the disclosure agreement that they “cannot diagnose or treat mental disorders”.

On the statement Accenture has said that the wellbeing of its contractors is is a “top priority” and went on to say that only new joiners were being asked to sign the forms, whereas present members of staff employees were being sent the form as an update. The statement said: “We regularly update the information we give our people to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the work they do”.

It is important that Social media moderators do not sign this statement until they consult with a lawyer familiar with with work injury law and employee rights.

Facebook Moderator Court Case Submitted in Dublin

December 4th, 2019. By Compensation News.

A Facebook moderator court case has been submitted in Dublin by a former external contractor for Facebook who was employed, by an agency, to review ‘extremely disturbing, graphic and violent content’ on a daily basis.

The man, 53-year-old Chris Gray is seeking compensation to the psychological injuries he claims he suffered from due to his work duties. Mr Gray today filed submitted his legal action to the High Court against the Irish subsidiary of Facebook and the agency he was employed by, CPL Solutions.

He alleges that he suffered psychologically injuries as a direct result of the “very disturbing” photographs and videos, including executions, lethal beatings, stonings, whippings, the abuse of children, animal torture and extreme sexual content” that he had to view during his time moderating Facebook content. An example of the content given is video of the large-scale and coordinated abuse and murder of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, massacres in the Middle East and the torture of migrants in Libya.

Facebook’s network of content moderators includes 15,000 individual based around the globe. This network must filter through all content published on the platform in order to remove inappropriate graphic content. They are expected to achieve a 98% accuracy rating in relation to making the correct decision.

Representing by Coleman Legal Partners, and supported by UK not-for-profit group Foxglove, Mr Gray claims he identified a “slow creep” which involved “personal and political views were becoming increasingly influenced by the insidious content he was required to view.”

Part of the suffering he experienced included trouble with sleeping resulting from the nature of what he had views as part of his working day and the pressure to make the correct decision regarding the suitability of the content for publication. He said he would often wake during the night “with a fright, concerned not by the content, but by whether or not he had marked it correctly during his shift”.

The lack of appropriate training was criticised as inadequate and compounded by the lack of support to help moderators deal with “what seemed like a relentless flow of extreme and graphic material”. Mr Gray said that he was unable to communicate his distress to his superiors due to he irrational mood, caused by viewing the content.

Lawyer Cori Crider, a director of Foxglove said: “In a few years’ time we are going to look back on these conditions and see them the way that we now see early unsafe factory work in a steel mill or a meat-packing plant in the early 20th century.”

CPL was unavailable for comment today but a spokeswoman for Facebook said that the social media giant are providing training and support but remain conscious of the fact that moderating “certain types of content can sometimes be difficult”. They are, she said, allowing for thorough training and full-time support to moderators along with technical solutions to restrict the amount of graphic material they must view.

Boy (2) Wins €22,000 Personal Injury Compensation after Pharmacy Accident

November 29th, 2019. By Compensation News.

Following an accident at a Dublin pharmacy, when he cut his eye off a shelf, a two year old boy has been awarded €22,000 personal injury compensation.

Ross Pickering of Merrion Park, South Hill Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, had been at Bradley’s Chemist with his mother on 14th July, 2014, when the unfortunate accident took place, Judge John O’ Connor was informed.

Representing the young boy who sued through his mother Marie-Claire Greenan, Barrister Samantha Cruess- Callaghan informed the judge that Ross had been taken to the Emergency Department of Crumlin Hospital for medical attention following the accident.

Ms Cruess- Callaghan informed the Judge that medical team treating Ross for a laceration to his right upper eyelid, measuring approximately three centimetres. It had been cleaned by applying antiseptic and was found to be found to be only superficial. Two weeks later the child was checked once more to have his steri-strips removed, there was no bleeding or signs of infection to Ross’s injury at the time and the wound had rehabilitated well. She informed the court that the child’s mother was that if there had been any concerns nine months after the accident occurred, then Ross could seek advice from a specialist plastic surgeon.

During Ross’ one year-check a plastic and reconstructive surgeon noted that Ross had a scar measuring 1cm by 3mm above his right eye, slightly red in colour and visible from a close distance away. His opinion had been that the scar had was still immature and would go on healing in the next 18 months when it would turn white in colour.

The boy’s family was taking the action against Siofra Limited and L’oreal (Uk) Limited trading as La Roche Posay due to the injuries he sustained during the accident.

When the accident occurred at the pharmacy the child had bent down to pick something up from the floor . However, when he had stood up he caught the bottom of his right eye on a sharp item located on a La Roche Posay display shelf.

Ms Cruess- Callaghan told the court that she recommended the proposed child injury compensation settlement €22,000, saying that it was her belief that this figure represents the value of Ross’s legal action.

Judge O’ Connor said that he gave his approval for the compensation settlement offer from Siofra Limited and L’oreal (UK) Limited trading as La Roche Posay (third party).

€30,000 Sexual Harassment Compensation Award made to Catering Company Employee

October 16th, 2019. By Compensation News.

A facilities group has been ordered to pay €30,000 compensation to a female catering assistant who had her bottom touched by a chef/manager in a number of sexual harassment incidents involving the senior male member of staff.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer, Catherine Byrne, revealed in her ruling: “As an instance of sexual harassment, a pinch on the bottom may not be at the extreme end of the scale, but it is well within the definition of unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature. It was also at the end of a continuum of incidents including a punch in the ribs, being sniffed at, constant unwanted touching and making offensive sexual remarks about the complainant to her husband.”

The €30,000 award is the equivalent of 18 months income for the employee. The company supplies catering services at the offices of a government department.

The Polish worker filed an official complaint of sexual harassment in relation to the bottom pinch to her employer on the day the incident took place, February 1 2018.  The chef/manager denied the allegations and explained that he was holding a sanitiser bottle in his hand and that the bottle brushed up against the female.

After an official investigation by the employer the chef’s claims were accepted, along with his explanation of  other issues filed by the female worker and by the entire team in the group.

As part of her ruling, Byrne stated that she believed the catering assistant when she claimed that the chef/manager pinched her bottom. She commented: “It is my view that the effect of the sexual harassment suffered by the complainant was compounded by the failure of the respondent to give any credence to her evidence and I find that, of itself, this demonstrated a lack of respect for her. To compensate for this treatment, I decide that the respondent is to pay the complainant compensation of €30,000, which is equivalent to 18 months’ wages.”

Public Service Card Data Breach Could Result in Compensation Claims

September 4th, 2019. By Compensation News.

It appears probable that the State will face a number of compensation claims in the aftermath of revelations that the collection of data during the issuing of Public Services Cards (PSC) was not legal.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has released a report which ruled that the holding of information collected during the application process was not legal, in addition to the obligation on the general public to have the card in order to be in receipt of certain State services and benefits.

The card was first introduced in 2011 in order to help with the processing of social welfare payments. After this, it was required for a number of other services including first-time adult passport applicants, replacement of lost, stolen or unusable (due to condition) passports issued prior to January 2005, where the person is resident in the State, citizenship applications, driving test and driver licence appointments.

Already there have been a number of civil society groups who have said that they are considering filing a class-action style case. At the time that the card was introduced advocacy groups in including Digital Rights Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Age Action objected to its introduction.

After the DPC investigation concluded, it was deemed that the operation of the PSC scheme does not adhere with the transparency obligations of the data protection acts due to the inadequate manner of information handed over, by Department of Social Welfare, to those who were having their data processed. The result of this is that he data stored on more than three million card holders must now be deleted and data processing by the Department, rather that the public body providing the service, must be ended. These tasks must be finished by a specified date or some enforcement measures may be sanctioned against those to blame.

In a statement about the investigation the DPC revealed “Ultimately, we were struck by the extent to which the scheme, as implemented in practice, is far-removed from its original concept.

“Whereas the scheme was conceived as one that would make it easier to access (and deliver) public services, with chip-and-pin type cards being used for actual card-based transactions, the true position is that no public sector body has invested in the technology capable of reading the chip that contains the encrypted elements of the Public Sector Identity dataset. Instead, the card has been reduced to a limited form of photo-ID, for which alternative uses have then had to be found.”

This does not mean that the PSC is no longer a relevant form of identification and it will still be valid for a range of specific services. Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon stated: “Any cards that have been issued, their validity is not in question by anything we’ve found in this report. They can continue to be used in the context of availing of free travel or availing of benefits that a person is claiming from the department.”

She added that this does not mean that it will be impossible, in future, to issue a single card, or possibly a national identity card that can be used for all interactions with the State.  She commented: “No, we’re not saying that at all. We’re saying that if that’s what’s intended or required, there isn’t a lawful basis [as currently set up]. It can’t be the case that a national identity card automatically offends EU charter fundamental rights or EU data protection law because they exist all around Europe. It is a possibility, by carefully laying down the lawful basis for such a card.”

Social Media Moderator Employees Entitled to Compensation as Rights Not Respected

August 20th, 2019. By Compensation News.

A BBC documentary has unveiled the working duties of social media moderators that results in psychological trauma and may lead to a barrage of social media moderator compensation awards.

The Storyville report spoke with Shawn Speaglem in relation to his time working as a Facebook content moderator. Shawn was employed by Cognizant, a third party contractor located in Florida. He (Shawn) advised the documentary makers, despite his non-disclosure agreement, about the traumatic video and picture material that he had to review in line with Facebook’s moderation policies and processes.

He commented: “One of my first videos that I remember looking at was two teenagers grabbing an iguana by the tail and they smashed it onto the pavement while a third person was recording it. And the iguana was screaming and the kids just would not stop until the iguana was just pasted on the ground. I’ve seen people put fireworks in a dog’s mouth and duct tape it shut. I’ve seen cannibalism videos, I’ve seen terrorism propaganda videos.”

Shawn described how he experienced massive stress, gained considerable weight and suffered from psychological injuries as a result of the material he was expected to moderate and the absence of any support from his company or Facebook. He said: “I felt like I was a zombie in my seat. It really gets to you because I don’t have that bystander syndrome where I’m OK just watching this suffering and not contributing any way to deter it.”

This is not the first time Facebook has been the subject of a documentary in relation to staff working conditions. In March this year a report titled The Internet’s Dirtiest Secrets: The Cleaners showed how staff based in the Philippines had to make themselves familiar with everything from terrorist logos to sex toys so that they could fulfill their daily moderation goals.

A legal action is expected to be submitted soon in Ireland, where the European Union headquarters of many social media platforms are based, in relation to their the working conditions of social media content moderators.

This is not the first legal action to be registered in relation to this issue.
Selena Scola, a former content moderator with Facebook in California, initiated a lawsuit against the social media giant in September 2018 as a result of the traumatic online content that she had to view and the lack of support provided to her. She claimed, as part of the action, that she began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during the time that she was working with Facebook. Since she began her case, she has been joined in her action by two more former Facebook content moderators who had similar claims.

Ongoing and constant viewing of traumatic content is part of a moderator’s daily duties and can lead to psychological injury and traumatic mental impact. It can be a massive toll for an individual to take on board depending on what the content seen contained, what support they were given by their employer and what the level of output was expected to be carried out on a daily basis. The employer is legally obliged to have a duty of care to allow for a safe place of work, a safe system of work and to avoid unnecessary suffering being felt by their staff.

Anyone who believes that they may have experienced trauma as a result of their working duties should tend to after their own health and seek help as soon as they can. Following this it is important to get in touch with a knowledgeable solicitor to consider all legal options available.

Compensation for Creche Mistreatment following RTE Hyde & Seek Expose

July 25th, 2019. By Compensation News.

An RTÉ Investigates’ expose has revealed a number of significant shortcomings in the management and supervision of crèches are still prevalent despite a previous investigation highlighting creché mismanagement two years ago.

‘RTÉ Investigates’ sent in two undercover childcare workers to crèches managed by the Hyde and Seek chain and showed serious violations breaches of good practice and safety procedures. Despite 11 inspections being conducted by Tusla since September 2017, children in various facilities in Dublin belonging to the company were being ill-treated and left at serious risk in the event of fire.

Footage in the documentary showed babies being left in high chairs for lengthy periods of time, causing them to become highly traumatised and being left alone in a room with the door closed for misbehaving. There were also some concerns raised in relation to food quality, and staff to child ratios.

Some of the other serious issues encountered by the undercover reporters included:

  • Workers not being Garda vetted prior to taking up employment.
  • Babies being left to sleep on bouncers, despite Tusla warning against this practice in previous reviews.
  • Insufficient space being allowed between cots to allow staff to check sleeping babies

Child protection agency Tusla has committed to completing an investigation and taking the necessary action, up to and including criminal prosecutions and removing Hyde & Seek creches from the register so they can no longer do business. A statement released by the agency said: “We recognise and share the serious concerns the programme raises about the quality of care within these crèches, but more importantly the impact of concerning adult behaviours on children.”

A representative for the Hyde & Seek group said: “We know we need to work to rebuild, retain and enhance the trust our parents have in us. We have spoken to many of them in recent days and would urge others with concerns to contact us. We are available to talk to and meet parents at any time. We note that while the programme made criticisms of aspects of our service, it praised our childcare staff whose dedication, professionalism and kindness are central to the care we provide.”

The statement said that the RTE investigation that highlighted “some real issues for us and we will deal with them quickly” but that it “does not reflect who we are”. It committed to the group reviewing the matter and addressing all issues quickly.

This controversy comes less than three years following a tightening of the laws governing 4,500 childcare facilities following a previous RTÉ expose on the management of crechés called ‘A Breach of Trust’. The economically successful Hyde and Seek chain of crechés is family-run and consists of four crèches in the Dublin area.

Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs released a statement to say how saddened she was at the treatment of the children in the creches featured while Alan Farrell , Fine Gael TD and chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children said: “I am absolutely appalled by the mistreatment of children and clear lack of standards revealed on Primetime’s investigation last night.”

He went on to say: “The disregard of fire safety, the prioritisation of staffing needs over children and the wanton disregard for child:adult ratios have deeply shocked the nation. The documentary revealed a complete failure to adhere to Tusla guidelines and instructions, poor management and unbelievable mishandling of children.”

It is likely that the Hyde and Seek group will now be facing a number of personal injury compensation actions from parents of the unfortunate children.

Man Injured in Car Accident Awarded €40,000 Road Traffic Accident Compensation

June 29th, 2019. By Compensation News.

A individual has been awarded just under €40,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court in relation to a road traffic accident that happened as he had been driving to his place of work along the M50 on December 21 2015

The Court was informed that Kieran Brennan of Monastery Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, had come to a halt at the Northwood exit when he was struck from behind by a car driven by Dylan Duffy.

He informed his barrister, Fiona Pekaar that he had, initially, experienced shoulder and neck pain but this had soon improved. Brennan said he had been left with constant lower back pain that had stopped him from taking part in the same standard of active lifestyle he had previously, including being unable to train for and enter a similar amount of marathon running and soccer matches as he had before the accident took place.

Medical testimony was presented in court to indicate that Brennan had a pre-accident degenerative condition. However Judge Groarke said that that condition had not been an problem prior to the accident and he believed it had been caused by the M50 incident.

In delivering his ruling, the Judge stated that Mr Brennan had been suffering with a bulging disk in his back and although most medical reports had suggested this had not been due to the accident, he could not ignore the report. He said that it had clearly been one of the outcomes of the accident.

Legal counsel for the defendant pointed to the fact that Mr Brennan had taken part in the ‘Hell and Back’ obstacle course in Bray, Co Wicklow in October 2016 which was a difficult assault course involving various activities and obstacles to be tackled.

However, Judge Groarke said Mr Brennan still trains for and enters a number of marathons and plays soccer once a week and the court did not believe his level of physical activity was at the same level as it had been before the accident happened.

Judge Groarke said he was sympathetic to Mr Brennan and awarded him road traffic accident compensation of €35,000 and special damages of €4,424.82 against Mr Dylan Duffy, however a stay was granted on his award on condition Mr Brennan was paid out  €20,000.

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