Personal Injury Compensation

Care Home Injury Compensation

If you are related to a person who suffers an injury or an avoidable deterioration of an existing condition while in the care of a state or private home, it may be possible to claim care home injury compensation on their behalf. Your role in a claim for care home injury compensation will be as a “next friend”, which will make you responsible for contacting a solicitor, seeking legal advice and deciding if it is worth your while to proceed with a claim.

Depending on your relationship with the injured person and the care facility, you may also be able to make a compensation claim for a breach of contract if the facility has failed to provide an acceptable standard of care. You can discuss this with a solicitor by calling our Legal Advice Centre free of charge any time of the day or night.

Please note: Your eligibility to claim care home injury compensation on behalf of a minor or another person unable to legally represent themselves is not restricted to injuries that are sustained in long-term residential care. If your child has been injured in a crèche or early learning centre due to a breach in the duty of care, it may still be possible to claim care home injury compensation on their behalf.

Ombudsman Concerned over Standards of Care in Children´s Residential Homes

August 7th, 2015. By Compensation News.

The Ombudsman for Children has expressed concerns on the standards of care in children´s residential homes and has called for HIQA to take over monitoring.

Niall Muldoon was speaking on RTE´s “Morning Ireland” radio program when he commented that the standards of care in children´s residential homes – particularly voluntarily and privately run homes – may not be being met because of “inconsistencies and discrepancies” in monitoring standards.

It was explained on the broadcast that there are two agencies responsible for monitoring the standards of care in children´s residential homes – the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), which monitors state run homes, and TUSLA (the HSE´s Child and Family Service) which monitors voluntarily and privately run homes.

Mr Muldoon´s primary concerns were that the ten monitoring standards of care in children´s residential homes – including management, staffing levels, children´s rights and environment – had not been met in a number of locations, and the reason for this was that staff shortages had led to delays in the assessment of children´s residential homes.

An investigation conducted by the Ombudsman between January 2012 and August 2013 found that it often took up to fourteen months after the registration of a children´s residential home for an inspection to be carried out. The statutory period within which an inspection is supposed to be conducted is six months.

Mr Muldoon said that the delay in monitoring the standards of care in children´s residential homes was leaving the children in a “vulnerable situation”. He added that his office has engaged with TUSLA to create a “solid action plan” that would amalgamate the monitoring of standards of care in children´s residential homes under one national quality control mechanism run by HIQA.

The 2009 Ryan Report – which recommended that all children´s residential homes were inspected by HIQA – was also mentioned on the broadcast. “We know why the Ryan report was set up” the Ombudsman commented. “We wanted to make sure that children in our care have been looked after to the highest level of standard.” Mr Muldoon added he hoped negotiations with HIQA would result in “independence and proper standards being clearly implemented” in the inspection of care homes.

A spokesperson from TUSLA said the organisation supports the transfer of inspections of voluntarily and privately run children’s residential homes to HIQA, but warned this could take up to two years.

Judge Refuses to Approve Settlement of Compensation for Psychological Injuries at a Crèche

July 23rd, 2015. By Compensation News.

A judge has refused to approve a settlement of compensation for psychological injuries at a crèche, saying that the case should go to a full court hearing.

Emilie Kiely (4) from Sandyford in Dublin started attending the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, Dublin, in 2011 when she was eight months old. The following September – when Emilie was moved to the “Toddlers Room” – she started showing signs of distress as she was being prepared to go to the crèche.

In May 2013, RTE broadcast the Prime Time documentary “A Breach of Trust” – a program which exposed the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre as one of three crèches at which children were mistreated. Emilie´s parents reacted to seeing one of their daughter´s carers screaming at children by withdrawing Emilie from the crèche.

Emilie´s father sought legal advice and – on behalf of his daughter – claimed compensation for psychological injuries at the crèche. In his legal action John Kiely claimed that Emilie had suffered psychological injuries such as stress, emotional upset and terror due to the mistreatment she had received at the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre.

The owners of the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre contested the allegations, but made an offer of settlement amounting to €15,000 without admission of liability. As the offer of settlement related to a claim made on behalf of a child, it had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Emilie´s best interests before the offer could be accepted.

At the hearing before Judge James O´Donohue at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, James Kiely told the court that his daughter would cry “No crèche! No crèche!” before going to the childcare facility and was clearly distressed. Judge O´Donohue ruled that the proposed settlement of compensation for psychological injuries at a crèche was insufficient for the level of injury it was claimed that Emilie had suffered.

The judge said that it would be in Emilie´s best interests if the claim for compensation for psychological injuries at a crèche was heard by another judge at a full court hearing. Judge O´Donohue´s ruling will have implications for up to twenty-five other claims that have been made on behalf of children attending the crèches featured in the Prime Time documentary.

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.

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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