Personal Injury Compensation

News

Court Awards Compensation for Car Accident Brain Injury

January 31st, 2016. By Compensation News.

A young man from Longford has been awarded a settlement of compensation for brain injuries he sustained in a car accident when he was a just eighteen.

The car crash occurred on the 27th January 2009, when Francis Smith – of Edgeworthstown in County Longford was driving along a road undergoing roadworks. Yet when he was driving, a vehicle was coming directly towards him and in order to avoid a collision, Mr Smith had to swerve out of the way. However, though this action avoided that crash, it caused Mr Smith to collide with a parked lorry just ahead of him. This crash left him with severe and extensive physical and cognitive injuries.

After the accident, Mr Smith was rendered reliant on his mother – Martine Dempsey – for round-the-clock care and assistance. At the time of the accident, he was employed in a local factory, but his injuries and inability to act independently meant that he had to leave this employment. Acting on behalf of now disabled son, Ms Dempsey filed a claim for compensation against the Longford County Council.The claim alleged the motorists driving along the road were not made sufficiently aware of the ongoing roadworks because of a lack f signposts and bollards. Additionally, there was no flagman at the site to make drivers aware of oncoming vehicles. In her claim, Ms Dempsey also stated that the lorry with which her son collided was parked too far out onto the road, and combined with the nearby road works was a serious risk to drivers.

Longford County Council denied any responsibility for Mr Smith’s injuries, counteracting Ms Dempsey’s claim by stating Mr Smith he had been negligent and driven too fast for the conditions of the road, and as such was largely accountable for his fate.

By the time the case was heard in Dublin’s High Court, the parties had negotiated a €750,000 settlement of compensation – which equates to approximately 25% of the original claim’s value. Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw proceedings in the High Court, and approved the settlement. In his closing remarks, Judge Cross said he wished Mr Smith well in his future.

Teenager Compensated for Emotional Trauma

December 22nd, 2015. By Compensation News.

A fourteen year old boy has been awarded a five-figure settlement of compensation for emotional trauma inflicted upon him when a fire broke out in his family home.

When a Hotpoint dishwasher caught fire in the evening of the 26th June 2010, the house owned by the Monds family in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath was destroyed. Luckily, each of the family’s four children were successfully and safely removed from the burning house by their parents, though they could not live in their family home until spring 2011

Aaron, the nine year old son of the couple, was severely unsettled by the fire. Already known to suffer from mild intellectual disabilities, the fire in his house caused him to develop a phobia of all fires and triggered obsessive compulsive disorder for years after the event, with symptoms including repeatedly checking that electrical appliances are unplugged.

As Aaron was not of legal age, he made a claim for compensation through his father Henry Monds for the emotional trauma he sustained in the house fire against the manufacturer of the dishwasher, Indesit UK Ltd.. An investigation into the circumstances of the blaze was attributed to the appliance, and as such liability was admitted by the company. The claim then proceeded to the High Court.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton oversaw proceedings at the hearing, and was given accounts of Aaron’s night terrors concerning fire and burning, years after the event occurred. The judge was also told that therapy was alleviating the condition, though he still suffered from anxiety attacks that it would happen again.

The judge accepted the evidence that Aaron was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the fire. Aaron was awarded a €51,244 settlement which the court ordered to be paid into court funds until Aaron reached eighteen.

Widow Compensated for Failure to Diagnose Husband’s Meningitis

November 24th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A woman, whose husband was told that he was constipated when he was infact suffering from meningitis, is going to be compensated for the misdiagnosis, which resulted in her husband’s death.

Philip Morrissey, aged thirty nine from Kilkenny, visited his general practitioner on the 26th May 2010 with symptoms including a high temperature, an earache and a headache. The GP referred him to the Accident and Emergency Department of St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny. His symptoms progressed to include a high pulse rate and light intolerance.

A few hours after his admittance to the hospital, Mr Morrissey was confused and disoriented. Gail, Mr Morrissey’s wife, told medical staff attending her husband of her concerns, but was told that the symptoms her husband were presenting with were because he was constipated. However, the next morning, the patient was found slumped in his bed. He had had a cardiac arrest during the night, triggered by his undiagnosed streptococcal pneumonia meningitis.

Mrs Morrissey sought legal counsel, and proceeded to make a claim for compensation for her husband’s misdiagnosis – which resulted in his death – against the Health Service Executive (HSE). In her claim, Mrs Morrissey stated that her husband was not seen by any medical staff in the hospital since 3:40pm on the day before his cardiac arrest and death. She also alleged that there was a failure on the part of the hospital to properly consider her husband’s symptoms, which lead to the misdiagnosis and failure to treat the streptococcal pneumonia meningitis.

An investigation was launched by the HSE into the circumstances of Mr Morrissey’s death. After this, the HSE admitted liability for the misdiagnosis and the two parties negotiated a settlement of €455,000. However, before the case could be concluded, the case had to be presented in the High Court due to the nature of Mr Morrissey’s death.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna oversaw the proceedings in Dublin’s High Court, where the details of Mr Morrissey’s death were presented. He proceeded to approve the settlement of compensation, adding that it was a “huge tragedy” for the family, and that though no amount of money could compensate for their loss, it was the best that could be offered by the law.

Out-of-Court Settlement for Dunnes Stores Glass Injury

October 11th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A student has been awarded a settlement for compensation after negotiations settled a claim made for a injured hand.

The accident occurred on the 13th September 2013 as Amy Holden, aged twenty-two from Ballybrack in Co. Dublin, was eating pre-marinated pork chops that she had bought in the Cornelscourt branch of Dunnes Stores in Dublin. However, when she began chewing the meat she felt something hard and upon inspection found several shards of glass contained in the product.

As Amy had several cuts to her mouth, and a noted risk of internal injuries if she swallowed any of the glass, she was brought to St Colmcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown. After receiving a tetanus jab to prevent any possible infection, an x-ray was carried out that fortunately showed no evidence of internal damage. Though Amy was advised to seek medical attention if she started to vomit, the only later complication was a sore throat.

In light of her injuries and hospital visit, Amy made an application for assessment to the Injuries Board, but the retailer contested the allegations she made. The Injuries Board then gave Amy authorisation to proceed with her claim for her injuries through the courts.

Amy was seeking a compensation settlement of €60,000, and as such the case was scheduled to be heard in the High Courts in Dublin. However, just before the hearing was due to start, the judge was informed that an agreement had been reached between the parties regarding the injury compensation. Few details were released concerning the arrangement, though it was made public that Dunnes Stores never admitted liability.

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.

Claim for an Injury from Eating Food at Dublin Airport Resolved at Court

August 4th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A claim for an injury from eating food at Dublin Airport has been resolved at a hearing of the Swords District Court in favour of the plaintiff.

On 23rd March 2013, Shane McQuillan (32) from Swords in Dublin went to the Gate Clock Bar in Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport and purchased the ingredients for a sausage and bacon sandwich. Shane constructed the sandwich and then bit into it, fracturing his upper right back molar on a crispy piece of bacon rind.

Shane alleged that the rasher of bacon should not have been sold to him as it had been allowed to get stale due to it being left on display for a number of hours. He made a claim for an injury from eating food at Dublin Airport, liability for which was denied by the owners of the Gate Clock Bar.

As the Injuries Board did not receive the consent it needed to process Shane´s application for an assessment of compensation, Shane was issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim for an injury from eating food at Dublin Airport through the court system. The case was heard last week by Judge Patricia McNamara at the Swords District Court.

At the hearing, the manager of the Gate Clock Bar gave evidence that the food is changed every ninety minutes, but she was unable to support her claim with documentary evidence. It was also argued by the bar´s legal representatives that, if Shane believed the food to be inedible, he should not have put it in his sandwich. Shane told the judge that he believed the food had been allowed to become stale due to being left on display for a number of hours.

Judge McNamara found in Shane´s favour on the grounds that there was no evidence to contradict his argument. After hearing that he still suffers occasional pain from the fractured tooth and experiences discomfort from drinking cold drinks, the judge initially awarded Shane €6,500 general damages and €2,500 special damages in settlement of his claim for an injury from eating food at Dublin Airport.

However, the judge then said that she was attributing Shane 50 percent contributory negligence and – commenting that he “should have been careful of a crispy rasher rind” – reduced the award of compensation by half to €4,500.

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.

Pensioner Awarded Compensation for a Trip and Fall in Dunnes Stores

July 10th, 2015. By Compensation News.

A seventy-seven year old pensioner has been awarded €137,000 compensation for a trip and fall in Dunnes Stores at the High Court in Cork.

Bernadette O´Leary´s accident happened on 2nd July 2013 while she was shopping at her local Dunnes Store in Clonakilty in Cork. Bernadette was looking for a waterproof canopy in the store that would protect her stall from the rain at the weekly farmers market where she sold homemade cakes.

Bernadette found a gazebo in the store that she thought might be suitable and she asked a shop assistant whether or not the gazebo was waterproof. The shop assistant did not know, but said he would find out and asked Bernadette to follow him.

As Bernadette followed the shop assistant into the next aisle, she tripped over a fold-up deckchair that had been left on the floor waiting to be placed on a display shelf. Bernadette broke her hip when she fell and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

When she had recovered sufficiently to be allowed home, Bernadette made a claim for compensation for a trip and fall in Dunnes Stores – alleging that the fold-up deckchair left in the aisle presented the risk of a trip and fall injury and was contrary to Dunnes Stores´ own safety policy.

The company denied liability for Bernadette´s broken hip and argued that she was not entitled to compensation for a trip and fall in Dunnes Store because she should have taken more care when she entered the aisle and looked where she was going.

Because of the denial of liability, the Injuries Board was unable to assess Bernadette´s claim, and she was issue with an “Authorisation” to pursue compensation for a trip and fall in Dunnes Store in court. The case was heard at the High Court in Cork this week by Mr Justice Henry Abbot

Judge Abbot was shown a CCTV video of Bernadette´s accident and agreed with Bernadette´s counsel, who said “the defendant had invited the plaintiff into the path of a hazard on which she fell and was injured”. The judge found in Bernadette´s favour and awarded her €137,000 compensation for a trip and fall in Dunnes Stores.

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.


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