201706.02
0

Report Reveals Most Common Clinical Incidents in Ireland

The State Claims Agency has published a report revealing the most common clinical incidents in Ireland and the cost of settling clinical negligence claims.

The report – National Clinical Incidents, Claims and Costs – covers the period between 2010 and 2014. Its purpose, according to lead author Dr Dubhfeasa Slattery, is to help improve patient safety by analysing national data on clinical incidents in Ireland, and studying the results in order to develop a “learning health system” that provides safer care.

More than 206,000 clinical incidents in Ireland were reported to the State Claims Agency over the five year period – not all of which were attributable to medical negligence, and therefore not all resulting in clinical negligence claims. The incidents were divided into five main categories – Medicine, Surgery, Maternity Services, Disability Services and Care of the Elderly.

In the Medicine category – the category in which most clinical incidents were reported – the most common adverse outcomes were attributable to a delay or failure to diagnose and treat (most often in the emergency room), the incorrect medicine or dosage of medicine being prescribed or administered, and serious soft tissue damage – typically caused by bed sores due to a lack of nursing care.

Among the most common surgical clinical incidents in Ireland, the delay or failure to treat was again the leading cause of adverse outcomes. However the high percentage of adverse outcomes attributable to faulty equipment and missing or misplaced clinical records was also a cause for concern – both in the Surgery category and the Maternity Services category.

The leading clinical incidents in Ireland in the Maternity Services category were post-partum haemorrhages and perineal tears, while medication issues and serious soft tissue damage dominated the clinical incidents in the Disability Services and Care of the Elderly categories. A further 66,000 medical incidents were reported to the State Claims Agency during the period being investigated that were not regarded to be of a clinical nature.

In relation to the number of clinical negligence claims made during the period and the cost of settling them, the figures quoted in the report (2,873 claims and €288 million in settlement costs) are misleading as they included claims made during the period not settled during the period, and pre-2010 claims settled between 2010 and 2014. They were also inflated during 2012 by DePuy hip replacement claims, the Lourdes Redress scheme, and by the volume of claims made for unnecessary symphysiotomy procedures.

201705.25
0

Settlement of Creche Abuse Claim Approved after Second Court Hearing

The settlement of a creche abuse claim has been approved by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court after the approval of a previous proposal had been denied.

At the Circuit Civil Court last week, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the plaintiff on whose behalf the creche abuse claim was made was just two years of age when she started attending the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, County Dublin.

In September 2012, the young girl was transferred to the creche´s “Toddler´s Room”; after which, it was alleged, she started showing signs of anxiety. According to her parent´s testimony, the girl would cry “No creche. No creche” as she was being got ready each morning, and was often withdrawn and tired when she was collected each evening.

The girl´s parents discussed their concerns about the signs of anxiety and disturbed sleep patterns with her carer, but were told she was receiving an appropriate level of supervision. However, after watching the RTE documentary “A Breach of Trust” – in which their daughter´s carer was depicted being abusive to children in the same age group, the parents removed the girl from the creche and sought legal advice.

A creche abuse claim was subsequently made against the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre on the grounds that the girl had suffered emotional injuries. Liability was initially denied, but an offer of settlement was made amounting to €15,000 without an admission of liability. As the creche abuse claim had been made on behalf of a child, it first had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the girl´s best interest.

In July 2015, the circumstances behind the creche abuse claim were related to Judge James O´Donohue at the Circuit Civil Court. Judge O´Donohue ruled that the proposed settlement of the crèche abuse claim was insufficient for the level of injury it was claimed the girl had suffered and he refused to approve the settlement.

Following a period of negotiation, a further offer of settlement was made to the girl´s parents. On this occasion, the approval hearing was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The circumstances of the girl´s alleged emotional injuries were once again related to the court and, after Judge Groarke was assured that the girl had suffered no lasting psychological injury – he approved the settlement.

201705.20
0

Compensation for Car Accident Injuries Awarded in Court

A total of €37,500 compensation for car accident injuries has been awarded to two plaintiffs injured in the same accident by the Circuit Civil Court.

In November 2013, the two plaintiffs were travelling along the M1 in a recently-purchased Toyota, when the sun roof of their car blew off. Alarmed at the sudden noise – described as being “like a bomb going off in the car” – the driver of the Toyota braked sharply, causing all five adult occupants of the car to suffer whiplash-type injuries due to the sudden deceleration.

The driver of the car and her 72-year-old mother claimed compensation for car accident injuries against the company from which it had been purchased – Denis Mahony Limited of Kilbarrack Road in Dublin. They alleged in their legal action that their injuries were directly attributable to a fault with the sun roof that should have been identified in a pre-sale inspection.

The car dealership denied the sun roof was faulty and contested the claims for compensation for car accident injuries. However, at the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard from an independent car assessor, who found extensive corrosion of the remaining frame of the sun roof and testified the corrosion had made the car unsafe to drive and should have been identified before it was sold to the driver.

Judge Groarke also heard that the five adult occupants and two children in the car had been travelling to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition at the time of the accident. The driver had subsequently pulled in to an AppleGreen filling station and stuck a plastic sack over the hole in the roof, but the shopping trip had to be abandoned.

The judge said he accepted the sun roof flying off would have been a terrifying experience assuming that the car was travelling at 80-90kmph, and added he understood why the driver had applied the brakes so sharply. He found in favour of the plaintiffs and awarded the driver of the car €12,500 and her mother €25,000 compensation for car accident injuries.

201705.09
0

Unprotected Chemical Exposure Claims against the Defence Forces

New unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces, made by a former Baldonnel-based air corps mechanic, have been published in the Journal.

Working conditions at the Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, County Dublin, have been the subject of investigation since unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces were made in 2015 and 2016 by former air corps personnel, and as a result of a HSA inspection in October last year.

The current investigation is looking into claims that servicemen were exposed to high levels of dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks. The new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces are potentially more serious.

According to the Journal, a “whistle-blower” has alleged air corps servicemen were not protected against exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals at Baldonnel, and as a result at least twenty former servicemen have died due to neurological and cancer-related illnesses.

The former air corps mechanic also believes that the partners of personnel based at the aerodrome have suffered fertility issues, and that their children have been born with birth defects or development issues. Five children have allegedly died due to their parents´ exposure to toxic chemicals and, the “whistle-blower” claims, many more are living with life-changing illnesses.

The Journal reports the representative association for air corps personnel – PDFORRA – has been attempting to get attitudes towards health and safety changed for many years. The association´s general secretary Gerry Rooney told the Journal: “There’s a tendency in military organisations to focus on carrying out the operation at all costs. It´s fairly clear there was a problem with chemicals and their use.”

Attempts to get comments from the Defence Forces and Department of Defence about the new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces were unsuccessful, but Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh was heavily critical of junior Justice Minister Paul Kehoe. He told the Journal that previous chemical exposure claims had fallen on deaf ears, despite Minister Kehoe stating the health and wellbeing of members of the Defence Forces are a priority for him.

201704.26
0

Claims for Birth Defects due to taking Epilim

Claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant have been made in France on behalf of up to 4,100 children with foetal valproate syndrome.

Epilim is the trade name of an anti-epilepsy drug that uses the active ingredient sodium valproate to control electrical activity in the brain. Introduced in France in 1967, Epilim was passed for use in Ireland in 1983, and is now also often prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, migraine and chronic pain.

At the time it was introduced into Ireland, claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant were being investigated in France. It was alleged that the sodium valproate entered the bloodstream as valproic acid, which caused foetal congenital and development issues.

The evidence of birth defects due to taking Epilim was considered inconclusive, and the drug continued to be prescribed to pregnant mothers. It was only in 2006 that the manufacturers of the drug – Sanofi – warned that sodium valproate may have adverse effects and advised the medical profession to advise pregnant mothers of the potential risks.

Research conducted several years later by France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – found the majority of doctors and pharmacists were unaware of the risks associated with Epilim. The research prompted the inspectorate to conduct a small scale study in the Rhone-Alpes region last year, where a much higher than expected rate of birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant was discovered.

France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) looked deeper into the issue and researched the health of 8,701 children born between 2007 and 2014 whose mothers were known to have taken Epilim during their pregnancies. ANSM identified up to 4,100 children suffering from foetal valproate syndrome and discovered hundreds of Epilim-related stillbirths.

ANSM´s study has resulted in the families of those affected by the adverse effects of sodium valproate to form a class action in order to jointly make claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim. The families claim that Sanofi did not do enough to adequately inform the medical profession of the risks associate with the drug. It also claims the drug manufacturer failed to put adequate warning on its packaging.

In Ireland, the Disability Federation has called on the government to conduct an audit of children diagnose with foetal valproate syndrome. The organisation claims the scale of the problem in Ireland should be identified in order that adequate support measures are provided for families. If a member of your family has been affected by foetal valproate syndrome, and you would like to know more about claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant, you should speak with a solicitor.

201703.03
0

Broken Restaurant Chair Accident Claim Resolved in Court

A broken restaurant chair accident claim has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court in favour of a woman who suffered a soft tissue back injury.

In May 2014, the thirty-four year old woman from Finglas in Dublin was dining at the China Kitchen restaurant in Beaumont when a leg of the chair she was sitting on became detached from the body of the chair, causing the chair to collapse.

The woman manged to avoid falling onto the floor, but jolted to her right side to prevent her fall and twisted her lower back as the chair gave way. A waiter came to her assistance, but rather than replace the broken chair, he tried to repair it.

Due to the tenderness and pain across her lower lumbar region, the woman attended her GP and was prescribed painkillers. She also attended physiotherapy sessions, but continued to experience intermittent pain in her back after working in her job as a cleaner or after sitting for long periods.

The woman made a broken restaurant chair accident claim against the owners of the China Kitchen restaurant – Xwfx Limited – claiming that the restaurant had been negligent in providing her with a dangerous chair that constituted a trap.

The owners failed to respond to the Injuries Board request for consent to conduct an assessment, or attend a subsequent court hearing to defend the broken restaurant chair accident claim. The woman consequently obtained a judgement in her favour in default of appearance.

When the broken restaurant chair accident claim was presented to Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court, the judge was told that it was for the assessment of damages only. After hearing details of the woman´s accident and her subsequent injury, Judge Linnane awarded the woman €17,500 in settlement of her broken restaurant accident claim.

201702.25
0

Judge Awards Woman Compensation for an Injury in a Taxi Accident

A woman, described in court as a talented musician, has been awarded compensation for an injury in a taxi accident that prevents her practising the violin.

On March 8th 2012, the woman – a thirty-three year old musician from Ardnacrusha in County Clare – was a passenger in a taxi when it was rear-ended on Wexford Street in Dublin by another taxi. The woman suffered pain in her neck and right shoulder as a result of the accident and was prescribed painkillers for her injury by her GP when she sought medical attention the following day.

When the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim, the negligent taxi driver accepted liability for causing the accident and her injuries. However, the amount of the assessment was rejected by the woman, who claimed the proposed settlement of compensation for an injury in a taxi accident did not reflect the full consequences of her injury.

The Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the woman to pursue her claim in court and, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard how the pain in her right shoulder prevented the woman from practising her violin several hours a day. He was also told by the defendant´s insurance company that her injury was unrelated to the “insignificant” collision between the two vehicles.

Judge Groarke admitted that the medical evidence in the case was “very conflicting” and that on the balance of probabilities the woman had likely made a full recovery from her injury. However, while concluding that the injuries from the accident were “not particularly serious”, the judge acknowledged that the woman needed a perfect shoulder to practise her violin and as such it was an exceptional case.

Judge Groarke awarded the woman €25,000 compensation for an injury in a taxi accident, stating he accepted the plaintiff´s belief that the discomfort she suffers is related to the March 2012 accident.

201701.30
0

Man Awarded Compensation for Slipping on a Path at Work

A former sewerage plant employee has been awarded compensation for slipping on a path at work after a judge found him 40% responsible for his accident.

On 3rd February 2010, the former sewerage plant employee was working as a maintenance engineer at the plant in Templemore, County Tipperary, when he slipped and fell on sewerage that had overflowed from the flumes surrounding the inlet channels.

As a result of his slip and fall accident, the employee sustained a back injury that prevented him from returning to his job. He applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his claim but his employers – Templemore Town Council – refused to give its consent for the assessment to be conducted.

The Injuries Board issued the former employee with an authorisation to pursue his claim for compensation for slipping on a path at work in court. The hearing to determine liability took place last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam.

At the hearing, Judge Fullam was told that the employee worked alone at the now decommissioned plant, and his duties included cleaning the flumes and ensuring that the paths were free from hazards. It was argued that, by failing to fulfil his duties, the employee had contributed to the accident by his own lack of care.

Judge Fullam agreed that the employee should take some responsibility for his accident, and if he had needed additional tools to fulfil his duties, he should have asked for them. However the judge also accepted the employee´s evidence that there was an issue with the pumps at the time of the accident, and that he did not have the time to clean the paths.

The judge acknowledged that flumes surrounding the inlet channels were in a bad state on the day of the accident, but said that the employee had to take some responsibility for his accident and subsequent injury. He awarded the employee €79,000 compensation for slipping on a path at work, but reduced the award by 40% to €47,400 to account for his contributory negligence.

201701.27
0

Judge Orders Full Hearing of Claim for a Broken Leg at Play School

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke has said the proposed settlement of a girl´s claim for a broken leg at play school is inadequate.

In April 2015, the plaintiff was just three years of age when she climbed onto an open wardrobe at the Larkin Early Education Centre in Ballybough, Dublin, and fell – landing awkwardly. X-rays revealed that the young girl had fractured the tibia in her right leg, and she had to undergo a manipulation of her bones under anaesthesia.

She was discharged from hospital wearing a long leg cast, and had to wear a walking boot for several weeks afterwards. Despite the accident occurring almost two years ago, the girl continues to feel pain in her leg and, on her behalf, her mother made a claim for a broken leg at play school against the Larkin Early Education Centre.

The claim for a broken leg at play school was assessed by the Injuries Board and, once the assessment was completed, an offer of settlement was made by the school amounting to €31,000. The family´s solicitor advised the girl´s mother not to accept the offer and, as no improved offer was forthcoming, the case went to the Circuit Civil Court for evaluation

The hearing took place earlier this week before Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident and how the settlement of the claim for a broken leg at play school had been determined. He agreed with the family´s solicitor that the offer of settlement was inadequate and ordered that it go to a full trial at the Circuit Civil Court.

According to the recently revised Book of Quantum, the range of compensation settlements for a moderate lower leg fracture in which the bones have been displaced is €40,500 to €70,400. Considering that injuries to the tibia are considered to be more serious than those to the fibula, and that the young girl continues to experience pain in her leg, the final settlement of her claim for broken leg at play school is likely to be at the higher end of the scale.

201701.23
0

Woman Settles Injury Claim for a Trip and Fall in a Creche

A childcare worker has settled her injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche, during a hearing to determine liability at the Circuit Civil Court.

The 26-year-old woman worked at the Precious Minds childcare facility in Dublin when, in January 2015, she was asked to assist a superior with nappy changing duties in the babies room. Although she was looking after several one and two years at the time, the woman agreed – taking with several of the children in her care who were not sleeping.

The superior member of staff subsequently left the babies room to attend to other matters – leaving the woman to look after nine children. While she was attending to one of the children, she tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor and landed awkwardly on her back – sustaining soft tissue injuries to her lower back and upper leg.

Despite seeking prompt medical attention from her GP, the woman continues to suffer back pain as a result of her injury. Conscious that she may have to look for other work due to her injury, she made an injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche. Precious Minds denied their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment, and she was issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

The hearing took place before Judge Brian O´Callaghan last week at the Circuit Civil Court. The woman´s counsel claimed that Precious Minds had failed to have regard for the woman´s safety by asking her to look after so many children at the same time, and the allegations were supported by evidence from a forensic engineer, who testified that adult/child ratio was too high.

In its defence, the creche claimed it was among the woman´s duties to keep the floor clear from hazards and, by failing to do so, she was the author of her own misfortune. A short adjournment followed, after which Judge O´Callaghan was told that the injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche had been settled for an undisclosed amount without an admission of liability.

201612.13
0

Judge Approves Settlement of Claim against B&Q for a Finger Injury

A Circuit Civil Court judge has approved the settlement of a claim against B&Q for a finger injury, made by a Dublin man on behalf of his six-year-old son.

In November 2011, the man´s son was just sixteen months of age when he cut the base of his right hand middle finger on a fire purchased from B&Q. He was taken to the A&E Department of Crumlin Hospital where it was diagnosed that he had completely severed one tendon, and suffered damage to another as well as to an artery and a nerve.

The young boy underwent surgery under a general anaesthetic to repair the damage to his finger and was discharged from hospital wearing a cast. Despite the seriousness of the injury, the boy can now use his right hand fully without difficulty or pain, and the scars from his injury and the subsequent surgery are expected to disappear as he grows older.

Through his father, the boy made a claim against B&Q for a finger injury, and also included Focal Point Fires of London in the claim – alleging that the company was negligent in the manufacture of the wall-mounted fire. B&Q and Focal Point Fires admitted liability for the boy´s injury and made an offer of settlement amounting to €30,000.

The family were advised to accept the offer of settlement; but, as the claim against B&Q for a finger injury had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement first had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in the boy´s best interests. The approval hearing took place earlier this week at the Circuit Civil Court before Judge James O´Donohoe.

At the hearing, Judge O´Donohoe was told the circumstances of the accident and the medical attention that the boy subsequently received. He heard that the boy had recovered full functionality of his right hand and that there was a low possibility of a permanent cosmetic injury. After inspecting the boy´s hand Judge O´Donohoe approved the settlement of the claim against B&Q for a finger injury, stating that the settlement was adequate and appropriate.

201611.15
3

Customer Awarded Compensation for a Knee Injury in Tesco

A customer, who fractured their knee when tripping and falling over a six-pack of beer, has been awarded €42,000 compensation for a knee injury in Tesco.

The customer – a thirty-two year old female nurse from Dublin – was entering her local Tesco Metro store in Terenure in January 2014, when she tripped and fell over a six-pack of beer that had been left on the floor by a customer waiting to use the self-service check-out.

The woman was taken to St James´s Hospital by ambulance and her left knee x-rayed. The x-ray revealed a fracture and the woman – who had previously undergone reconstruction surgery of the same knee – had to undergo two further surgeries and two and a half years of physiotherapy treatment.

Consent to conduct an assessment of compensation for a knee injury in Tesco was denied by the store, and the woman was issued with an authorization to pursue her claim through the courts. The hearing to determine liability took place last week at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that Tesco´s was denying liability because the claimant had tripped over a brightly-coloured package of beer that had been placed on the floor just seconds before her accident. There was nothing that could have been done, Tesco´s argued, to prevent the accident.

However, the judge also heard that the layout of the Terenure branch of Tesco Metro meant that customers entering the store had to navigate through any customers waiting to use the self-service checkout. The judge commented that, if a better system of customer traffic control had been applied, it would have prevented this accident from occurring.

Judge Groarke found in the claimant´s favour, initially awarding her €60,000 compensation for a knee injury in Tesco, and then reducing the award by 20% to account for her contributory negligence. The judge said it had been an especially nasty fracture and it was still symptomatic almost three years after the accident.

201611.07
1

Former Dunnes Employee Awarded Compensation for a Head Injury at Work

A former Dunnes Stores employee has been awarded €15,000 compensation for a head injury at work after a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

The former employee was nineteen years of age when, in March 2012, she was asked to go into the storeroom of the Dunnes Store in Tallaght Dublin to fetch a trolley loaded with bread. As she starting pushing the two-metre high trolley towards the store floor, the tray on the top shelf fell out and hit the woman on her head.

The woman was knocked to the floor by the impact of the tray and was given first aid by a colleague. She then went to the emergency department of Tallaght Hospital, where no serious injury was detected but she was admitted overnight as a precaution. The woman alleges she still suffers headaches and neck pain as a result of the accident.

The woman claimed compensation for a head injury at work against Dunnes Stores, who accepted liability for her injury but contested how much compensation for a head injury at work she was claiming. A hearing of the personal injury claim was schedule for the Circuit Civil Court for the assessment of damages only.

The hearing took place last week, when Judge Terence O´Sullivan was told that the former employee is now twenty-three years of age and works as a hairdresser. The circumstances of her accident were described to the judge, who also heard both sides argue whether or not she had sustained a “significant injury”.

Counsel representing Dunnes Stores argued that the cause of the former employee´s ongoing neck pain was not her 2012 accident, but her current hairdressing job. Judge O´Sullivan noted that the former employee had not attended her doctor for three years or made any effort to seek physiotherapy, instead relying on painkillers.

Commenting that the woman had done a poor job of looking after herself if she had indeed suffered a significant injury, Judge O´Sullivan said it was the opinion of the court that the former employee “wasn´t that badly hurt”. He awarded her €15,000 compensation for a head injury at work and gave Dunnes Stores leave to appeal the award provided they pay €10,000 to their former employee immediately.

201611.02
0

Passenger Awarded Compensation for an Accident at Tara Street Station

A passenger, who fractured his shoulder in a fall between a train and the platform, has been awarded compensation for an accident at Tara Street station.

The passenger was travelling on an Irish Rail train from Dun Laoghaire to Connolly Street in Dublin on 2nd August 2012, when he mistakenly got off of the train at Tara Street. On realising his mistake, the passenger turned quickly to re-board the train, but slipped and fell through the gap between the train and the platform.

The passenger – a fisherman from Dun Laoghaire – was able to climb back up onto the platform, get on the train and continue his journey to Connolly Street. On his arrival at his destination, he reported the accident to a member of staff. The following day, he attended St Michael´s Hospital complaining of a pain in his right shoulder, and an x-ray revealed a triple fracture.

The passenger applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for an accident at Tara Street station. Irish Rail declined to consent to the assessment and the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the passenger to pursue his claim through the courts. The claim for an accident at Tara Street station was heard last week at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that, despite there being “probably more CCTV cameras at Tara Street Station than there are at Pinewood Studios,” there was no recording of the accident. He also heard Irish Rail argue they could not be liable for a passenger who injured himself because he failed to look where he was going.

Counsel for the passenger said once he had purchased his ticket, there was an obligation on Irish Rail to provide safe transit and that obligation had not been met. Drivers were supposed to warn passengers to mind the gap and, despite there having been eleven previous incidents of passengers falling between the train and the platform in the past five years, no warning was given.

Judge Groarke found in the passenger´s favour – commenting that Irish Rail had an “absolute requirement” to warn passengers to mind the gap. The judge added that, although the passenger may have been distracted by getting off of the train at the wrong station, he agreed the passenger should have taken more care for his own wellbeing. The judge awarded the passenger €50,000 compensation for an accident at Tara Street station, but reduced it by 50% to account for the passenger´s contributory negligence.

201610.31
1

Check-In Clerk Awarded Compensation for a Manual Lifting Work Injury

A former Ryanair check-in clerk has been awarded compensation for a manual lifting work injury after appealing the dismissal of her claim to the High Court.

The former Ryanair employee – a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin – claimed compensation for a manual lifting work injury after straining her back while lifting luggage onto a conveyor belt at Dublin Airport in July 2011.

The woman alleged there was no safe system of work for tagging the last piece of luggage to indicate to luggage handlers that check-in had closed. She also claimed that the check-in desk was an unsuitable site from which to lift bags onto the conveyor belt.

Her claim for compensation for a manual lifting work injury was originally dismissed by the Circuit Civil Court last November, when Judge Jacqueline Linnane expressed doubt about whether the plaintiff was standing or sitting – contrary to Ryanair´s training policy – at the time the injury occurred.

Costs were awarded to Ryanair and the staff recruitment company against whom the plaintiff had made the claim. However, the plaintiff was given leave to appeal the verdict – which she did – and the appeal hearing took place last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross found in the plaintiff´s favour. He ruled that, regardless of whether she had been sitting or standing, the company´s training for tagging the final piece of check-in luggage had not been “site specific” and consequently insufficient.

Judge Cross did however find that the plaintiff had contributed to her injury by twisting, rather than turning to lift the bag onto the conveyor belt. He awarded her €20,800 compensation for a manual lifting work injury, but reduced the award to €16,650 to account for her 20% contributory negligence.

201610.28
0

Appeal against Health Club Injury Compensation Award Dismissed

An appeal against a €30,000 health club injury compensation award, made in favour of a woman injured in a swimming pool accident, has been dismissed.

In November 2011, a thirty-two year old guest of the West Wood Health Club in Dublin broke her two upper front teeth when she dived into the health club´s swimming pool and hit her face on the pool´s shallow bottom. The woman claimed health club injury compensation and, in May 2015, was awarded €30,000 by Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court. The West Wood Health Club appealed the award, arguing that the plaintiff had contributed to her accident and injury through her own negligence.

The appeal hearing took place earlier this week before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, who was told the plaintiff had never visited the club before and had dived into the pool straight after coming out of the sauna. As the pool was a full-length 50 metre pool, she had assumed that – like most pools of that size – the depth of the water would be 2 metres. However, the pool had a single depth of just 1.35 metres.

The judge also heard there were no signs erected to warn guests at the club not to jump or dive into the pool. According to the plaintiff´s counsel, there was no reason for the plaintiff to believe that the pool was not safe. The club´s assertion that a lifeguard was present at all times was refuted by the plaintiff´s own testimony that she had to go to the reception area of the club to report her accident and seek medical assistance as there was nobody by the poolside to help her.

Dismissing the allegations of contributory negligence, Judge Noonan also dismissed the appeal. On hearing that the plaintiff had flown to Hungary to have crowns fitted to her two broken teeth, and that she would require replacement crowns every five to ten years, the judge increase t original award of health club injury compensation to €38,097, and commented the West Wood Club should consider itself fortunate that the plaintiff´s claim was not originally heard in a court of higher jurisdiction.

201610.12
0

Claim for Being Stuck in a Shopping Centre Lift Resolved at Court

A claim for being stuck in a shopping centre lift has been resolved at a High Court hearing with an award of €25,060 psychological injuries compensation.

In August 2012, fifty-four year old Marie Dicker was shopping at the Square in Tallaght, Dublin, when she and her son took the shopping centre lift down to the ground floor. However, soon after the lift started to descend, it stopped – trapping Marie and her son inside.

Marie pressed the elevator alarm button, but was unable to communicate with anyone via the intercom. She then started banging on the lift doors and calling for help and, several minutes later, the couple were rescued by a security guard who was able to prise the doors open and release the trapped shoppers.

Despite being trapped inside the lift for less than five minutes, Marie unfortunately suffered a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia. Due to feeling unsafe in rooms with closed doors, Marie sought professional medical help and was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder by a psychologist.

After starting treatment for her psychological injuries, Marie – a department store supervisor from Walkinstown in Dublin – sought legal advice. She subsequently made a compensation claim for being stuck in a shopping centre lift against Square Management Ltd and Pickering Lifts Ltd.

Both defendants acknowledged that Marie had suffered an avoidable injury due to the failure of the lift, but they disputed how much compensation Marie was claiming. They presented evidence from an independent psychologist who had examined Marie and failed to find any evidence of an anxiety disorder.

The claim for being stuck in a shopping centre lift went to the High Court in Dublin for the assessment of damages. At the hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told that Marie was undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy to deal with her claustrophobia and was responding well to the program. The treatment is expected to continue for twelve to eighteen months.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Barr commented he was satisfied that Marie had suffered a psychiatric injury as a direct result of the incident at the Square, and he awarded her €25,060 compensation in settlement of her claim for being stuck in a shopping centre lift.

201610.07
0

Judge Approves Settlement of Child´s Fall from Window Injury Claim

A Circuit Court judge has approved an Injuries Board assessed settlement of a child´s fall from window injury claim in favour of a five-year-old girl.

In August 2012, fifteen-month-old Róisín Byrne fell eleven feet onto an emergency fire escape from a window of her parent´s temporary accommodation in Blackrock, County Dublin. Róisín injured her head, punctured a lung and fractured a rib in the accident. Now five years of age, she still has a visible scar on her forehead.

Róisín´s parents – Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy – had previously complained to the caretaker of the property about the large Georgian sash window from which their daughter fell. They claimed that it presented a risk of injury due to opening just twenty-one inches from the floor and had asked for a security mechanism to be fitted so that the window could be locked shut.

The request was never attended to and, on Róisín´s behalf, Chloe applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of the child´s fall from window injury claim. The owner of the accommodation – Enda Woods – gave his consent for process to continue, and the Injuries Board assessed the injuries to Róisín as having a value of €46,000.

Both parties accepted the Injuries Board´s assessment but, as the child´s fall from window injury claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the proposed settlement first had to be approved by a judge. As the value of the assessment was in excess of €15,000, the approval hearing was held at the Circuit Civil Court before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the approval hearing, the circumstances of Róisín´s accident were related the judge, who was also informed about the scar on her forehead. Judge Groarke approved the settlement of the child´s fall from window claim, which will now be paid into court funds until Róisín is eighteen years of age.

201609.23
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New Book of Quantum to Bring Consistency to Personal Injury Awards in Ireland

A revised Book of Quantum is expected to bring consistency to personal injury awards in Ireland when it is published in the next few weeks.

The Book of Quantum is a publication used to assess how much compensation a plaintiff is entitled to for a physical injury sustained in an accident for which they were not to blame. The Book lists a comprehensive selection of physical injuries and assigns each a range of financial values according to their severity and permanence.

As it was first published in 2004, the Book of Quantum has been criticised in recent years for being out of date. Judges, solicitors and insurance companies have sometimes ignored the Book´s guidelines – or automatically defaulted to the highest value in the range – when calculating personal injury awards in Ireland, resulting in inconsistencies in compensation settlements.

Now, after lengthy discussions between the senior judges, the Courts Service and the Injuries Board – and research into 52,000 personal injury awards in Ireland during 2013 and 2014 – a revised Book of Quantum is due to be published within the next few weeks. Those involved in its preparations say the updated publication will bring greater consistency to personal injury awards in Ireland.

As well as updating the financial values assigned to physical injuries, the revised Book of Quantum includes more degrees of severity and permanence. This higher level of granularity will enable judges, solicitors and insurance companies – and, to a degree, the Injuries Board – to more accurately assess personal injury awards in Ireland.

Although the revised guidelines and greater consistency they will bring are to be welcomed, it should be noted that personal injury awards in Ireland are not solely calculated on the extent and permanence of a physical injury. If you have been injured in an accident for which you were not at fault, you may also be entitled to compensation for your emotional trauma or any deterioration in your quality of life. For this reason, you should always seek professional legal advice from a personal injuries solicitor.

201608.20
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Bicycle Courier Awarded Taxi Accident Injury Compensation

A bicycle courier has been awarded €30,000 taxi accident injury compensation after claims that he contributed to the cause of the accident were dismissed.

In March 2015, Rotimi Omotayo was cycling between carriageways on Custom House Quay, when a taxi driven by Kenneth Griffin pulled out from a line of stationary traffic, knocking Rotimi from his bike.

Fortunately, Rotimi escaped serious injury, but when he applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his injuries, consent to conduct the assessment was denied on the grounds of contributory negligence.

The Injuries Board issued Rotimi with an authorisation to pursue his claim for taxi accident injury compensation in court, and the case was heard recently by Mr Justice Bernard Barton at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barton heard witnesses on behalf of both parties testify how the accident happened – the significant issue being if Rotimi had been in breach of Road Traffic Regulations by cycling in the hatched area.

After hearing that Rotimi was delivering to the river side of the Quay, and had every entitlement to cycle in the outside lane before turning right, Judge Barton found in his favour. The judge said that Rotimi had the right of way and was sufficiently close to Kenneth Griffin to give the taxi driver a duty of care.

Judge Barton dismissed the claim of contributory negligence and assigned full liability to Mr Griffin for pulling out into bicycle courier´s path. However, when it came to assessing damages, Judge Barton said he was not going to rely on the Book of Quantum as it was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.

Instead the judge applied the principals of Tort law to award Rotimi €30,000 taxi accident injury compensation for his general damages. With regard to his claim for special damages, Judge Barton said there was insufficient evidence to justify Rotimi´s alleged loss of earnings due to his injuries. The judge allowed “properly vouched and agreed” special damages – including Rotimi´s legal costs.

201608.01
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Settlement of Claim for a Scar from an Accident in a Creche Approved

A boy, who cut his eye in a fall in 2007, has had the settlement of his claim for a scar from an accident in a creche approved at the Circuit Civil Court.

In July 2007, three-year-old Calum Lawless was playing at the Happy Days Creche in Clonee, Dublin, when he tripped on an uneven floor surface and landed on his face. Bleeding heavily from a cut close to his right eye, Calum was taken to the VH1 Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University, where he was treated for a three-centimetre laceration with glue and steri-strips.

Calum´s eye remained closed for a week after his accident, and the area around his eye remained bruised for almost a month. Now twelve years of age, Calum has a permanent visible scar by his eye that – due to its location – cannot be resolved by plastic surgery.

Calum´s mother – Lorraine Lawless from Dunshaughlin in County Meath – made a claim for a scar for an accident in a creche on her son´s behalf against the owners of the Happy Days facility. In her legal action, Lorraine alleged that the creche had failed in its duty of care to provide Calum with a safe environment in which to play.

Liability for Calum´s injury was admitted, and an offer was made to settle the claim for a scar from an accident in a creche for €45,000. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Calum´s best interests.

The case went to the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, where Judge James O´Donohoe was told the circumstances of Calum´s accident and its consequences. After hearing that the family were happy to accept the creche´s offer of €45,000 compensation, Judge O´Donohoe approved the settlement of the claim.

201607.14
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Judge Awards Maximum Circuit Civil Court Compensation to Pensioner

A pensioner has been awarded the maximum possible Civil Circuit Court compensation for an injury she sustained in a pallet trolley accident at Dunnes Stores.

In the summer of 2014, Christina O´Reilly (88) from Dublin was shopping at Dunnes Stores in the city´s Northside Shopping Centre, when an employee of the store accidently pushed a pallet trolley into her back due to the trolley being stacked above eye level.

Although Christina was not knocked to the floor, the accident aggravated an existing back condition – leaving the pensioner in constant pain and now unable to take part in many of the social pursuits she previously enjoyed.

Christina made a claim for injury compensation against Dunnes Stores. However the store declined to consent to an Injuries Board assessment and Christina was issued with an authorisation to seek Circuit Civil Court compensation. The hearing recently went ahead after a long delay caused by Dunnes Stores compiling its defence.

At the hearing, Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard that Dunnes Stores was willing to admit liability for Christina´s injury. In assessing the amount of Circuit Civil court compensation Christina was entitled to, the judge heard from members of her family, who testified that Christina was now unable to do her own shopping and relied on the family for support.

Judge Linnane awarded Christina the maximum amount of Circuit Civil Court compensation possible – €60,000 – allowing a stay on the award subject to an appeal. As a condition of the stay, Judge Linnane stipulated that Dunnes Stores should pay Christina €45,000 compensation immediately and decide upon an appeal quickly because of Christina´s age.

The maximum Circuit Civil Court compensation award for personal injury was increased in 2014 to €60,000 from €38,092 to relieve the pressure on the number of cases being heard by the High Court. The change was also intended to resolve personal injury claims in a shorter timeframe when a resolution could not be found through the Injuries Board process.

201607.08
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Claim for an Accident at Dublin Zoo Resolved at High Court

A woman´s claim for an accident at Dublin Zoo has been resolved following a hearing at the High Court and an award of €105,000 injury compensation.

In June 2011, forty-three year old Gwen Kane took her family to Dublin Zoo to celebrate the birthday of her youngest son. As she was pushing her son in his buggy alongside the sea lion enclosure, Gwen slipped on a manhole cover that was still wet from the previous night´s rain and fell, dislocating her right ankle.

Gwen – from Firhouse in Dublin – was taken to hospital, where her ankle was put into a plaster cast. The cast remained in place for seven weeks, after which Gwen was on crutches for a further nine weeks until her ankle had fully healed. Despite being able to discard the crutches, Gwen still experiences pain in her ankle.

Gwen applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation but, even though the Zoological Society of Ireland consented to the assessment, the Injuries Board figure was contested. Gwen was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim for an accident at Dublin Zoo through the courts.

At the subsequent hearing at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr heard that the Zoological Society of Ireland had agreed it had been negligent by failing to clear rainwater away from walkways and viewing and that, as a consequence of her accident, Gwen was unable to continue her hobbies of Breton folk dancing, cycling and long-distance walking.

Judge Barr awarded Gwen €105,000 in settlement of her claim for an accident at Dublin Zoo – commenting he was satisfied Gwen had given a fair and accurate account of the consequences of her accident. In addition to the settlement for her pain and suffering, the judge also awarded Gwen €9,988 special damages to account for the financial cost of her injury.

201607.04
1

Judge Approves Caravan Holiday Injury Compensation Settlement

A judge at the High Court has approved a €106,000 settlement of caravan holiday injury compensation for a girl who allegedly cut her leg on a protruding nail.

In August 2009, Shauna Burke was just ten years of age when she was playing with friends near her family´s mobile home at Slattery´s Caravan Park in Lahinch, County Clare. While she was running around near the mobile home, Shauna cut her leg on a nail that was allegedly protruding from a metal box attached to a pole.

Shauna suffered a deep laceration above her knee and, despite receiving medical treatment for her injury, now has a permanent 6cm visible scar. Through her father – John Burke of Corbally in County Limerick – Shauna made a caravan holiday injury compensation claim against Austin Francis Slattery – the owner of the holiday venue.

In the legal action, it was claimed that the nail represented a hazard that Slattery knew about or should have known about as it was located in an area frequented by holidaymakers. Slattery denied liability for Shauna´s injury, but an offer of €106,000 caravan holiday injury compensation was made to account for Shauna´s pain and suffering and the cost of future medical care.

As the caravan holiday injury compensation claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the offer of compensation had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was appropriate for Shauna´s injury. At the approval hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told how Shauna´s accident was claimed to have happened and of its consequences.

After inspecting the scar on Shauna´s leg, Judge Barr said that the offer of caravan holiday injury compensation was a good one and he was happy to approve it. As Shauna is now seventeen years of age – but not yet a legal adult – the settlement of compensation will be paid into court funds, where it will be held in an interest yielding account until Shauna is eighteen.

201606.24
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Judge Awards Injury Compensation for a Jogger Hit by Van Mirror

A High Court judge has awarded €134,000 injury compensation for a jogger hit by a van mirror after finding the driver of the van liable for the accident.

Forty-seven year old Donna Woods – a school teacher from Mullingar in County Westmeath – was jogging along the Ballynacarragy to Mullingar road in January 2013, when she was hit by the wing mirror of a van travelling in the opposite direction. Donna sustained a fractured wrist due to the impact of the van mirror and was treated at hospital for other injuries to her hand, elbow, shoulder and jaw.

Donna applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of injury compensation for a jogger, but the driver of the van – Joseph Tyrell – denied that he was totally to blame for Donna´s injuries and refused to give his consent for the assessment to take place. Donna was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court, and the hearing took place earlier this week.

At the hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that, on 22nd January 2013, Donna and her friend were jogging along the road against the oncoming traffic and that a tractor and trailer combination had just passed them on the far side of the road.

The two joggers had seen Tyrell pull over onto the grass verge alongside the road to give the tractor a wide berth, but believed he would return to the carriageway once the tractor had passed and continued running towards the van. However, Tyrell continued to drive along the grass verge – the wing mirror of his van hitting Donna and causing her injuries.

Defending the claim for injury compensation for a jogger, Tyrell alleged that Donna was guilty of contributory negligence because she and her friend had run two abreast against the traffic without wearing high-visibility clothing. The judge dismissed the claim of contributory negligence by noting that Donna had been wearing bright clothing on the morning of the accident.

Acknowledging that Donna had previously been a “very active lady”, and that the injuries she had sustained in the accident had prevented her from competing in physically demanding sporting activities, the judge found in Donna´s favour and awarded her €134,000 injury compensation for a jogger hit by a van mirror.

201606.13
1

UN Says State should Allow Terminations for Fatal Foetal Abnormalities

The United Nations´ Human Rights Committee has said that Ireland should revise the Eighth Amendment to allow terminations for fatal foetal abnormalities.

Under Ireland´s current abortion laws, the right to life of an unborn child is protected by the Eighth Amendment. New laws were introduced in 2013 to allow abortions when the mother´s health is at risk, but a ban remains on terminations for fatal foetal abnormalities and inevitable miscarriages, and when a pregnancy is attributable to rape or incest.

Due to the ban on terminations for fatal foetal abnormalities, 21-weeks pregnant Amanda Mellet was forced to travel to the UK for a termination after being told that her unborn child would die in the womb or shortly after birth. Amanda endured a traumatic experience due to there being little information available to her before undergoing the procedure and no bereavement support available to her on her return to Ireland.

After founding the organization “Termination for Medical Reasons” in order to campaign for a change to the law, Amanda made a complaint to the United Nations´ Human Rights Committee through the Centre for Reproductive Rights – claiming that Ireland´s ban on terminations for fatal foetal abnormalities was discriminatory, cruel, inhuman and degrading.

Last week the Committee found in Amanda´s favour – saying that Amanda´s physical and emotional well-being had been jeopardised by Ireland´s position on terminations for fatal foetal abnormalities, that Amanda had been subjected to unnecessary financial and emotional suffering, and that the State should compensate her for failing to allow an abortion “in the familiar environment of her own country and under the care of health professionals whom she knew and trusted.”

The Human Rights Committee also said that Ireland should introduce laws – or revise the Eighth Amendment as necessary – in order to provide “effective, timely and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination in Ireland, and take measures to ensure that healthcare providers are in a position to supply full information on safe abortion services without fearing being subjected to criminal sanctions.”

Speaking after the decision of Human Rights Committee had been announced, Leah Hoctor – the European Regional Director for the Centre for Reproductive Rights – said: “The Irish Government must now comply with this ruling, redress the harm Ms Mellet suffered and reform its laws to ensure other women do not continue to face similar violations.”

201605.25
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Claim for Slipping on Wet Leaves at Work Resolved in Court

A claim for slipping on wet leaves at work has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with the award of €25,879 injury compensation to a kitchen assistant.

On 19th November 2012, Ann Groves (58) was walking along a path towards the back entrance of the Baltinglass Hospital when she slipped on wet leaves and injured her ankle. Ann – who worked at the hospital as a kitchen assistant – was able to reduce the swelling with an ice pack and later attended her GP, who strapped Ann´s ankle for support after diagnosing a soft tissue injury.

Unfortunately the pain from the ankle injury continued. Unable to sleep, walk or stand for long periods, Ann sought medical attention from a number of specialists. She underwent sessions of physiotherapy and acupuncture before having a spinal cord stimulated surgically implanted in 2014; which although it helped with the pain, did not resolve the problem completely.

On her solicitor´s advice, Ann made a claim for slipping on wet leaves at work against her employer – the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE denied responsibility for Ann´s injury at work, contesting the claim on the grounds that a sage cleaning system was in place at the hospital, and that Ann had contributed to her accident and subsequent injury due to her own lack of care.

With no agreement on liability, the Injuries Board issued Ann with an authorisation to pursue her claim for slipping on wet leaves at work through the courts. The case was heard earlier this week by Judge Barry Hickson at the Circuit Civil Court, who was told that Ann´s accident had occurred early on a Monday morning after a particularly stormy weekend.

The judge found in Ann´s favour and dismissed the HSE´s claims of contributory negligence after hearing evidence from a maintenance engineer who testified that the maintenance team at the hospital started work after the kitchen assistants. The judge awarded Ann €25,879 compensation in settlement of her claim for slipping on wet leaves at work.

201605.07
1

Company Fined for Fatal Breach of Health and Safety Laws

A Dublin company has been fined €200,000 for a fatal breach of health and safety laws that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old warehouse supervisor.

On 28th November 2015, Robert Ceremuga – a warehouse supervisor at VF Coldstores Ltd – was killed instantly when racking supporting 36 tonnes of foodstuff collapsed on top of him. An engineer’s report following the accident concluded that the racking had collapsed due to the accidental impact of a forklift. It was found that the employee operating the forklift had been employed by VF Coldstores of Finglas, Dublin, just three weeks earlier and did not have the appropriate license to operate the vehicle.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for a fatal breach of health and safety laws, and last month a representative of VF Coldstores Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The court also heard a victim impact statement read by Robert´s widow – Maria – following which Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the hearing in order to “conduct a scientific approach” to ascertaining the fine.

The hearing was reconvened yesterday, when Judge Greally imposed a fine of €200,000 on VF Coldstores Ltd for a fatal breach of health and safety laws. Speaking after the successful prosecution, the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA – Brian Higgisson – said: “It is important that employers adequately manage and conduct work activities, in particular carrying out risk assessments before any major works, such as alterations to racking. These assessments should ensure that everyone has the necessary training, knowledge and experience to complete the work in a safe manner.”

201605.03
0

Final Delayed Delivery Compensation Settlement Approved in Court

A final delayed delivery compensation settlement has been approved in the High Court in favour of a sixteen-year-old girl who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Mary Malee was born at the Mayo General Hospital on 11th October 1999 after becoming distressed in the womb. Due to there being no consultant available to assist with the birth, Mary´s delivery was avoidably delayed by eighty minutes. By the time she was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, Mary had sustained brain damage due to a lack of oxygen and she now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Mary´s mother – Maura Malee from Swinford, County Mayo – claimed a delayed delivery compensation settlement from the Health Service Executive, alleging that there had been a failure by the Mayo General Hospital to ensure that a paediatrician was present after a deceleration of the foetal heart rate had been identified, and that the hospital´s negligence had led to the failure to deliver Mary in a timely manner.

In March 2014, an interim delayed delivery compensation settlement of €1.5 million was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who then adjourned the case for two years to allow for the introduction of a structured settlement system. As no system for the phased payment of compensation to catastrophically injured claimants has yet been introduced, Mary and her family returned to the High Court to hear the approval of a final delayed delivery compensation settlement.

At the hearing a statement was read to Mary by representatives of the Mayo General Hospital, who apologised for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth” and who told Mr Justice Peter Kelley that a final delayed delivery compensation settlement of €5.56 million had been agreed with the family.

After hearing from Mary that “the stress of ongoing engagement with the HSE and the courts is not what I want”, the judge approved the final delayed delivery compensation settlement. Judge Kelly also described Mary as “heroic” for the challenges she has overcome so far in her life and commended her for her ambition to become an advocate for people with disabilities.

201604.23
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Pony Trek Injury Claim for Compensation Settled during Court Hearing

A pony trek injury claim for compensation, made by a woman who alleged she was given an unsuitable pony to ride, has been settled during a court hearing.

On 15th July 2013, Maria Gray (35) from Belfast was one of a party of friends celebrating a hen weekend by taking a pony trek at Feeney’s Riding School in Thonabrocky near Galway City. After the group had done some trotting, the friends made their way down an incline.

It was at this point that the legs on Maria´s pony – “Chancer” – buckled, and Maria was thrown onto the tarmac. Maria suffered several injuries in the accident and received stitches for a cut to her chin, which have left a visible scar.

Maria – a dentist by trade – also suffered an injury to her wrist. The injury deteriorated and Maria had to wear a splint for eight weeks, during which time she was unable to work and had to undergo physiotherapy.

After seeking legal advice, Maria made a pony trek injury claim for compensation against the owners of the riding school – Gerard and Siobhan Feeney. In her claim, Maria alleged that the pony she had been given to ride was unsuitably small for a 10 stone 5lb woman, 5 foot 8½ inches in height and that it was “on its last legs”.

The Feeney´s denied that Chancer was too small for Maria to ride and contested Maria´s other allegation that she had been given no instructions on how to ride the pony. Due to the dispute over liability, the Injuries Board was unable to conduct an assessment and Maria was given an authorization to pursue her pony trek injury claim for compensation in court.

The case opened last week before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam at the High Court. However, prior to the second day of the hearing, Judge Fullam was told that the pony trek injury claim for compensation had been settled for an undisclosed amount and the case could be struck.