Personal Injury Compensation

Archive for December, 2014

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.

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