Personal Injury Compensation

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Claim for a Brain Injury Caused by Hydrocephalus Resolved in Court

March 5th, 2015. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medical Negligence Claim against Kerry General Hospital Heard at High Court

February 18th, 2015. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Approves Compensation for Injuries in Car Park Accident

February 2nd, 2015. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compensation for Child Killed in Car Accident Awarded to Mother

January 23rd, 2015. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for being Attacked by a Dog

January 15th, 2015. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pedestrian Injury Compensation Reduced by 60% due to Contributory Negligence

December 29th, 2014. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Investigations Launched into Care Home Abuse

December 10th, 2014. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daughters Share Six-Figure Settlement of Claim for Mesothelioma Compensation

November 18th, 2014. By Compensation News.

Two daughters of a man, who died from exposure to asbestos, are to share in a settlement of his claim for mesothelioma compensation almost a year after his death.

73-year-old Peter McCormack from Whickham in Tyne and Wear passed away last December after fighting mesothelioma cancer for eighteen months – mesothelioma cancer being a cancer for which there is no known cure that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres and develops in the lining of the lungs.

Before his death, Peter had started a claim for mesothelioma compensation against two of his former employers who had failed to protect him from exposure to asbestos and, after he died, the claim was continued by his daughter Elke (41) on her behalf and on behalf of her sister Natalie.

In the claim for mesothelioma compensation, it was alleged that EON UK – for whom Peter worked from 1957 to 1962 as an apprentice and mechanical fitter – had allowed Peter to work alongside laggers whose role it was to mix and apply asbestos to new pipes and other mechanical fittings.

From 1965 – 1997, Peter had worked at OSG Ship Management (formerly W A Souter Ltd), where it was alleged he had to repair pipes containing asbestos lagging without protection against the deadly fibres. It was also claimed that asbestos dust was left on surfaces until it was disturbed and entered the atmosphere to be inhaled by employees of the company.

Eventually the claim for mesothelioma compensation was resolved without the need for court action. An undisclosed six-figure settlement of the claim was negotiated, after which Elke commented: “Hopefully, this settlement will highlight to employers the need to protect people from exposure to asbestos, so other families do not have to watch their loved ones deteriorate so quickly.”

She continued “It was heartbreaking to see my dad suffering with mesothelioma for 18 months and the effect the chemotherapy he underwent had on him. He lost all his appetite, was often exhausted, and was suffering with nerve pain in his shoulder. The diagnosis also caused him severe distress and anxiety for his future.”

Appeal Successful in Mortgage Interest Rate Increase Complaint

November 3rd, 2014. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the Case Means to Other Variable Rate Mortgage Holders

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

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

Judge Orders Charitable Donation Settlement after Animal Injured Child at Zoo

October 16th, 2014. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 9th, 2014. By Compensation News.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irish Times Article Warns of Offers of Compensation Settlements from Insurance Companies

September 18th, 2014. By Compensation News.

An article in the Irish Times has warned accident victims to be wary of offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies.

The author of the article – Brian Byrne – provided an interesting analysis of injury compensation settlements, and reported a 22 percent increase in the value of compensation claims settled in the first 6 months of the year – up to €144 million from the same period in 2013.

Byrne´s analysis shows that, although the average compensation settlement of a personal injury claim made to the Injuries Board remained practically unchanged at €22,000, the number of claims increased significantly within the categories of claims handled by the independent body.

According to the figures from the Injuries Board ´s six-month report which were used to compile the article, motor liability claims increased by 24 percent, the number of public liability claims rose by 30 percent, and claims made against an employer for an injury at work were up 10 percent on 2013.

The large increases were attributed to a spike in claims made during last year which were resolved within the first six months of 2014. However, despite the higher number of claims being resolved through the Injuries Board process, Byrne warns accident victims to be wary of offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies.

According to the article, an estimated 40 percent of personal injury claims which could be resolved through the Injuries Board process claims are settled “behind closed doors”. He says that private agreements made between plaintiffs and insurance companies have the potential to result in a lack of competitiveness, higher insurance premiums, and the potential for false or exaggerated claims to be settled without a proper investigation of the claim.

However, the Irish Times article omits to comment on the growing trend for “third party capture” – an industry term for when an insurance company talks an injury victim into a compensation settlement lower than what they might have been entitled to in return for a fast settlement.

Offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies can result in financial hardship for the injured victim if they is accepted and subsequently too low to cover medical expenses and living costs. Meanwhile the insurance company may have made a significant saving in its financial liability and can enjoy higher profits.

One potential solution for this situation is to construct a register of settled personal injury claims based on figures coming from the government´s new “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme”. As insurance companies now have to obtain a certificate of benefits from the Department of Social Protection before settlements of personal injury claims can be paid, it should be possible for the Department of Social Protection to record the value of the claim and start to compile a register.

In this way, there would be visibility of how much compensation each claim is settled for, so that concerns about a lack of competitiveness, higher insurance premiums, and the potential for false or exaggerated claims could be eliminated. Accident victims would also have a point of reference if they receive offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies.

While such a register does not exist, it is advisable for plaintiffs who receive offers of compensation settlements from insurance companies speak with a solicitor to ascertain whether the offer being made to them represents a fair and accurate settlement of their claim.

Injury Compensation for Refuse Lorry Accident Awarded in Court

August 22nd, 2014. By Compensation News.

A County Wicklow man has been awarded almost €5 million injury compensation for a refuse lorry accident which left him with a fractured skull.

Padraig Hearns (39) – a former Mr Ireland – was having a night out in Dublin on 23rd April 2007, when he was attacked in the city´s Temple Bar area and left lying in the road on Sycamore Street. As Padraig lay on the cobbled street, he was run over by a Dublin City Council refuse lorry and suffered a fractured skull, broken arm and eye injuries.

Padraig from Hollywood in County Wicklow was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he was put into an induced coma. He remained in hospital for several months and underwent several surgeries for his injuries; however, due to the brain damage he suffered in the accident, Padraig – who used to work for British Airways as a first class air steward – will never be able live an independent life or work again.

On Padraig´s behalf, his parents made a claim against Dublin City Council for injury compensation for the refuse lorry accident. Dublin City Council denied its liability for Padraig´s injuries and said that the refuse lorry operators could not be held responsible for Padraig being attacked or lying in the road in front of their lorry.

With no agreement reached, the case went to the High Court where it was heard before Mr Justice Michael Peart. Judge Peart was told that Dublin City Council had broken its own by-laws – implemented just three months earlier – by collecting rubbish in Temple Bar between the hours of 12:00pm and 6:00pm and that, had they not done so, Padraig would not have suffered such tragic injuries.

Judge Peart also noted that the operators of the refuse lorry had a duty of care to have one of their team outside of the lorry moved from premises to premises to ensure it was safe to do so. The judge considered that the refuse lorry operators had breached their duty of care by failing to do this and, if they had, they would have seen see Padraig lying in the path of their vehicle.

The judge awarded Padraig €4,885,888 injury compensation for the refuse lorry accident, which included €266,341 for loss of earnings, €350,000 for past and present pain and suffering, €155,230 for care expenses to date, and €3,485,000 for care expenses in the future. Legal costs were awarded against Dublin City Council.

Claim for Negligent Prescription of Steroids Allowed to Go Ahead

August 7th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A High Court judge has given his permission for a claim for the negligent prescription of steroids to go ahead after denying an application to dismiss the case.

Lorna Savage (43) from Cobh in County Cork was given permission to proceed with her claim for the negligent prescription of steroids after an application to dismiss her claim by the steroids manufacturer – Pfizer – was denied by Mr Justice George Birmingham at the High Court.

Lorna had initially been prescribed the steroid Deltacortril by her GP when she was twenty-seven years old in order to treat the skin disorder vasculitis – a condition in which damaged blood vessels group together and form an irritable and unsightly rash.

After taking Deltacortril for several years, Lorna developed the condition Avascular Necrosis – a known but uncommon adverse reaction to the steroid – a disorder which prevents blood from reaching specific bones, so that the bone tissue dies and the bone eventually crumbles away.

By the time Lorna was thirty-one years old, she had one hip and both knees replaced and her condition had worsened to such a degree that she was confined to a wheelchair and was taking morphine to manage her pain.

Lorna made a compensation claim for the negligent prescription of steroids against her GP – Dr. Michael Madigan – and her consultant doctor at Cork University Hospital – Dr. M Molloy – who continued to prescribe Deltacortril after Dr. Madigan´s death in 1999.

In her claim against the GP, Lorna alleged that Dr. Madigan had not sufficiently investigated her vasculitis disorder and had negligently prescribed Deltacortril tablets when he was (or should have been) knowledgeable of the potential risks of taking the steroids.

Lorna´s claim for the negligent prescription of steroids alleged that Dr. Molloy had continued to prescribe the steroids after Dr. Madigan´s death and that he had failed to identify the symptoms of Avascular Necrosis despite her deteriorating condition.

Lorna also included the Pfizer in her compensation claim – alleging that manufacturer of the steroid  had neglected to warn people taking Deltacortril that continued use of the steroids could result in Avascular Necrosis. Lorna also claimed that neither her doctors nor Pfizer gave any warnings against drinking alcohol while taking the tablets.

Pfizer, Dr. Madigan´s estate, and the HSE (on behalf of the Cork University Hospital and Dr. Molloy) each denied negligence. Pfizer applied to have Lorna´s claim for the negligent prescription of steroids dismissed on the grounds that there had been an “inexcusable delay” in bringing the case to court.

However, after hearing arguments from Lorna´s solicitors and the defendants, Mr Justice George Birmingham decided that the delay was “excusable” because the delay in bringing the case to court had been due by Lorna having to undergo more operations in the recent past.

The extended recovery period from the operations, Judge Birmingham said, had prevented Lorna from instructing her solicitors and was a valid explanation for the delay. The judge denied Pfizer´s application to dismiss the case – and ordered that Lorna´s claim for the negligent prescription of steroids be listed for a hearing in the High Court later in 2014.

Wrongful Death Compensation for Medical Negligence Approved

July 30th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A settlement of wrongful death compensation for medical negligence that led to the death of a sixty-year-old mother of six has been approved at the High Court

Patrick Malone from Carlow brought his claim for wrongful death compensation due to medical negligence after his wife – Helen – had waited in pain for an operation to be performed on her bowel at St Luke´s General Hospital in Killarney.

Helen´s surgery eventually went ahead on 8th January 2006, but four days later she tragically died due to systemic sepsis and multiple organ failure brought on by a perforated bowel. An inquest into Helen´s death determined that had she undergone surgery when she was first admitted to the hospital she would have most likely survived.

After the Irish Medical Council had found consultant George Nessim guilty on four charges of professional negligence related to Helen´s death, Patrick made his claim for wrongful death compensation due to medical negligence against Dr Nessim, St Luke´s General Hospital and the HSE – claiming that he and his six children had suffered mental anguish due to Helen´s avoidable death.

Despite the findings of the Irish Medical Council, the HSE denied liability for Helen´s death, and court proceedings were initiated by Patrick´s solicitor. Only shortly before a scheduled hearing was to take place did the HSE acknowledge that there had been failings in the standard of care provided to Helen, and a settlement of €165,000 was negotiated.

Due to the nature of Patrick´s claim, the settlement of wrongful death compensation for medical negligence had to be approved by a judge; and the case came before Mr Justice Ryan at the High Court. Judge Ryan and members of the Malone family heard an apology for Helen´s death read out in court by a representative of St Luke´s General Hospital, after which the judge approved the settlement – commenting that it had been “a difficult, painful and tragic case”.

Claim for Injury in Nightclub Accident Resolved after Court Hearing

June 26th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A woman´s claim for an injury in a nightclub accident has been resolved after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

Rita Walsh (64) from Tallaght in Dublin made her claim for an injury in a nightclub accident after tripping over a step as she made her way to the toilets as the Level 4 Nightclub at the Abberley Court Hotel in Tallaght was closing at 2:00am on the morning of 4th April 2010.

Rita claimed in her action against White Bay Limited – which trades as the Abberley Court Hotel – that as soon as the DJ stopped playing music, all the lights had gone out and she could not see a dimly illuminated step. Rita tripped over the step and fell heavily – badly injuring her shoulder.

White Bay Limited denied their liability for Rita´s shoulder injury, and said that the club was adequately lit; however, a forensic engineer gave evidence at the court hearing that the overall lighting was inadequate to clearly identify the step in question, and that recessed lighting in the step only made it visible from the opposite direction in which Rita was walking.

Judge Alan Mahon accepted the forensic engineer´s evidence of the lighting as accurate, and although not agreeing with Rita´s allegations that the nightclub was “pitch black”, he said it was more likely that the management of the Abberley Court Hotel had only illuminated the nightclub after her accident and not while patrons were leaving as had previously been claimed.

The judge also said that Rita must take some of the responsibility for her accident, as she had been drinking alcohol with her daughters at the nightclub and previously at a local Chinese restaurant. He assigned Rita 20% contributory negligence and reduced the settlement of her claim for an injury in a nightclub accident from €22,000 to €17,600.

Woman to Receive Compensation for Soft Tissue Knee Injury at Work

June 9th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A kitchen assistant who was formally employed by Dunnes Stores in Clonmel has been awarded compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work.

29- year-old Dorota Michalowska from Clonmel in County Tipperary had been clearing tables in the canteen of her local Dunnes Store, when – on 14 July 2011 – as she was returning to the kitchen with a trolley stacked up dirty dishes, she slipped on a frozen chip that had fallen to the floor and fell heavily – suffering a soft tissue knee injury.

Dorota´s injury was so severe that she was immobilised for six months and unable to work for a further three months. After undergoing physical therapy to ease the pain in her knee, Dorota took legal advice from a solicitor and made a claim for compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work against her employers – Dunnes Stores – alleging that the company had not provided her with a safe environment in which to work.

Dunnes Stores contested Dorota´s claim for a soft tissue injury at work, and denied its responsibility for her slip and fall accident – arguing that she had been preparing food in the kitchen throughout the day and she was most likely the author of her own misfortune as it was most likely that she had dropped the frozen chip on the floor and failed to notice the hazard,

Dorota´s compensation claim for a soft tissue knee injury at work proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. After hearing evidence from both parties, Judge Irvine found in Dorota´s favour on the grounds that, if Dorota had dropped the frozen chip herself – and then performed a circuit of the canteen to clear away the dirty dishes – the chip on the floor would have defrosted and no longer have been frozen by the time Dorota slipped on it and sustained her injury.

The judge commented in her summing up that two other employees were working in the canteen on the day of Dorota´s accident, and that “on the balance of probabilities” it was likely that one of Dorota´s co-workers had dropped the frozen chip, and either neglected to pick it up or not seen the hazard at all. Judge Irvine ruled that Dunnes Stores were therefore the liable party in Dorota claim due to the negligence of its employees.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine awarded Dorota €82,750 compensation for a soft tissue knee injury at work – a sum which included €20,000 for future pain and suffering, as the judge believed there would be a strong likelihood of Dorota suffering from arthritis as she grew older.

Girl´s Claim for a Head Injury in Tesco Resolved after Court Hearing

May 14th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A girl´s claim for a head injury in Tesco due to a slip and fall on a wet floor has been resolved after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

Nine-year-old Angela Prendergast from Kilcoole in County Wicklow was shopping with her mother in the local branch of Tesco Express in September 2010, when she slipped on a wet floor and fell – banging her head against a metal freezer cabinet and sustaining a cut to her forehead.

Angela – who was only six years old at the time of the accident – received First Aid from a member of staff, before her mother – Ann Prendergast – took her to hospital where the wound was cleaned and stitched with glue. Despite the prompt attention to her head injury in Tesco, Angela still has a 2-centimetre scar on her forehead.

Through her mother, Angela made a compensation claim for a head injury in Tesco; and Tesco Ireland Ltd made an offer of €18,000 in settlement of the claim after admitting their liability for Angela´s accident. However, before the claim could be completely resolved, the settlement had to be approved in court as the claim had been made on behalf of a child.

Consequently, Mr Justice Matthew Deery at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin heard the circumstances of Angela´s accident and the offer of compensation in settlement of Angela´s claim for a head injury in Tesco. After inspecting the scar on Angela´s forehead, Judge Deery approved the settlement.

Student to Receive €9 million Compensation for being Hit by a Bus

May 6th, 2014. By Compensation News.

A student from Spain is to receive €9 million compensation for being hit by a bus after an assessment of his settlement was approved in the High Court.

Carlos Tesch was just twelve years of age when, on 4th February 2009, he was walking along Herbert Road in Bray, County Wicklow, with some fellow Spanish students. A group of youths who had previously been verbally abusive approached the students, and Carlos ran across into the street in order to avoid them.

As he ran out from the pavement, Carlos was hit by a bus coming up the road from behind him, and he suffered serious head injuries including a fractured skull. Due to his catastrophic injuries, Carlos is now unable to speak and can only walk a few steps unaided.

Through his father – Hans Tesch – Carlos claimed compensation for being hit by a bus against Dublin Bus – – the operators of the Bray service. Dublin Bus denied their liability for the boy´s injury, arguing that the driver of the bus could not have foreseen the teenager running out from the pavement.

However, a High Court ruling last year found Dublin Bus 70% liable for Carlos´ injuries as the driver had been distracted by talking with a passenger shortly before the accident occurred. The High Court verdict was appealed to the Supreme Court; but judges upheld the original decision and the compensation claim for being hit by a bus was returned to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that a €9 million settlement of compensation for being hit by a bus had been agreed, and the case was before her for the approval of the settlement. The circumstances of Carlos´ accident were related to the judge, and she also heard how Hans Tesch had given up his full-time job to care for his son.

After hearing that Carlos´ father had twice taken him to China for stem cell treatment, and that Carlos was able to attend the Spanish Institute during school hours, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement; stating that she was aware of the sacrifices made by parents when their children are catastrophically injured.

Judge Approves Compensation for Fall from Height at Work

May 6th, 2014. By Compensation News.

The High Court has approved a settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from the roof of a house left a fifty-year-old man with permanent brain damage.

Paul O´Brien was working on the roof of a house in Bray on 18th July 2012 – his first paid employment since he lost his construction job in 2008 – when he went to descend from the roof as it started raining.

Paul attempted to exit the roof from a ladder which had been propped up against the side of the building; but, as he stepped onto it, the ladder slipped on the wooden decking it had been placed on, and Paul fell to the ground.

As a result of his accident, Paul suffered a significant head trauma and now has limited short-term memory. Through his wife – Sandra O´Brien of Glenealy in County Wicklow – Paul made a claim for brain injury compensation after a fall from a roof against his employer – Sean Lyons of Clondalkin, Dublin.

Paul claimed in his action that Lyons had failed to provide a safe environment in which to work and had been negligent by failing to provide suitable scaffolding or fall protection to enable him to work safely.

It was also claimed that the ladder provided was unfit for the purpose of descending from the roof safely, that it had not been fastened to the building, and that the combination of an unsuitable, unfastened ladder and the wet wooden decking on which it had been placed resulted in a dangerous hazard.

An out-of-court settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from a roof was negotiated by Sandra and Paul´s legal representatives; but, because of the nature of Paul´s injury, it had to be first approved by a judge.

Consequently, the details of the accident were related to Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court, who also heard that Sandra had taken a two-year sabbatical from her job to care for her husband.

The judge was told that the €1.5 million settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from the roof of roofer´s fall from height injury compensation had been agreed out-of-court and that the family were willing to accept it.

Judge Irvine approved Paul´s settlement – commenting that had the case gone to court, Paul´s contributory negligence may have been a factor in the amount of the settlement. The judge then closed the hearing, saying that she sympathised with the O’Brien family.


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