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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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.

201604.18
0

HSENI Issues Warning about the Dangers of Slurry Pits

Farmers have been issued with a fresh warning about the dangers of slurry pits by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and Fire Service.

The warning about the dangers of slurry pits was released jointly by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) – who, to date this year, have been called upon to rescue four animals that have fallen into uncovered slurry pits.

Although any loss of livestock can be devastating to the farming community, the warning about the dangers of slurry pits focuses on the risk of injury and death to farmers, farm employees and their families.

Slurry is one of the four main causes of death and serious injuries on Northern Ireland farms due to farmers and farm employees being overcome by the gas released from slurry during mixing and falling through slurry pit openings into the tank.

Malcolm Downey, who leads the farm safety team at HSENI, said “Before mixing slurry, always stop and think about the job ahead and make preparations to complete the entire task safely. You must cover all the openings and keep children and animals well away during the mixing process.”

He continued: “Stay out for 30 minutes after starting mixing or after moving or re-directing the pump and try to mix on a windy day. Do not take any chances when mixing slurry, you are risking your own life and the lives of others as well as putting your livestock in danger.”

Mr Downey´s warning about the dangers of slurry pits was echoed by Fergal Leonard – NIFRS´ Group Commander – who added: “For Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, public safety is our priority and the best course of action is through prevention”.

Mr Leonard warned: “At this time of year, slurry is being removed from the pits and used as fertiliser on the fields. This can be hazardous if the slurry pit is not properly ventilated during mixing operations and storage lids are not replaced immediately after filling a tanker. We would appeal for farmers to be vigilant in ensuring the access hatches into slurry pits are secure and well maintained”.

201604.09
0

Court Awards Compensation for a Waitress Hand Injury after Hearing

The High Court has awarded a woman €500,000 compensation for a waitress hand injury after finding jugs used in a hotel breakfast bar were unfit for purpose.

Sophie Caillaud (42) claimed compensation for a waitress hand injury after suffering a deep cut in her thumb when a glass jug she was filling at the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, County Leitrim shattered in her hand.

Sophie underwent surgery to repair the soft damage tissue in her thumb but, due to the thumb failing to regain its strength, Sophie has been unable to return to waitressing since her accident – the injury also affecting her ability to perform day-to-day activities.

After seeking legal advice, Sophie claimed compensation for a waitress hand injury against the hotel and the two companies that manufactured and supplied the glass jugs to the hotel – Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd.

The defendants contested the claim for compensation for a waitress hand injury due to the amount that was being requested and because, it was argued, that Sophie had contributed to the cause of her accident through her own negligence.

As the claim could not be resolved through the Injuries Board process or through negotiation, the case went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that staff members had previously reported injuries due to the glass jugs shattering.

Judge Cross also heard testimony from an expert, who explained that the rapid cooling and heating of the jugs when used in a dishwasher weakened the joint between the jug´s thick handle and its thinner body. The expert concluded that the jugs were unfit for purpose.

After hearing evidence from Sophie, the judge also dismissed the allegations of contributory negligence and suggestions that Sophie was exaggerating her injuries. Commenting he found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, Judge Cross awarded her €500,000 compensation for a waitress hand injury.

201604.05
0

Court Hears Injury Claim for an Industrial Saw Accident at Work

The High Court yesterday started hearing an injury claim for an industrial saw accident at work, made by a man who lost two fingers in the accident.

On April 23rd 2008, Antoni Jamroziewicz (52) – a Polish national with an address in Caherdavin, County Limerick – was working as a carpenter on the construction of the Limerick Tunnel. As Antoni was about to cut a length of timber from a 1.5 metre plank with an industrial saw, he lost his balance and fell. As he fell, Antoni´s left hand went into the saw and part of his index and ring fingers were severed.

Doctors were unable to reattach the severed parts of Antoni´s fingers and, due to a combination of his physical and psychological trauma, Antoni started drinking to excess. He was later able to find more work as a carpenter, but the loss of his fingers in the accident limited his ability and affected his confidence – both professionally and socially.

Antoni made an injury claim for an industrial saw accident at work against the recruitment agency O’Neill Brennan Ltd, and German contractor Strabag International GmbH. In his claim, Antoni alleged that the area on which the industrial saw had been placed was uneven and unsafe. The two defendants denied liability for his injury, and the case to determine liability started yesterday at the High Court.

At the hearing, Antoni told the court that he had stumbled on the uneven surface, and it was this that had led to his hand going into the saw. The defendants contested Antoni´s version of events. They argued that the surface on which the industrial saw had been placed was flat and that Antoni probably put his hand too close to the saw and lost his fingers due to his own carelessness.

Furthermore, it was argued, as an experienced carpenter, Antoni could have ensured a safe working surface by placing a plywood sheet beneath the saw before he had started using it. Antoni´s barrister told the court that the saw was already in situ and that Antoni had no responsibility for setting it up or ensuring it was safe to use.

The hearing into the injury claim for an industrial saw accident at work continues today.

201603.24
0

Cabin Crew Assistant Settles Injury Claim for a Slip on a Plane

A cabin crew assistant, who was injured on a flight from Palma to Dublin, has settled her injury claim for a slip on a plane for an undisclosed amount.

Gabrielle McGovern from Blanchardstown in Dublin was working as a cabin crew assistant aboard an Air IOM flight from Palma to Dublin when, on 26th June 2012, she slipped on a discarded plastic rubbish bag that had been left on the galley floor of the 737 aeroplane.

Gabrielle sustained injuries to her back and shoulder when she fell and has since had to undergo lumbar surgery to repair the damage to her back. Due to the pain she still experiences in her back, Gabrielle has been unable to work as a cabin crew assistant since her accident.

Following a discussion with a solicitor, Gabrielle made an injury claim for a slip on a plane against Air IOM Ltd and Air Contractors (Ireland) Ltd. She alleged in her injury claim that the defendants had not provided a method of safely securing the plastic rubbish bags to prevent the risk of injury.

Air IOM Ltd and Air Contractors (Ireland) Ltd denied their liability for Gabrielle´s injury and contested her injury claim for a slip on a plane on the grounds of contributory negligence. Consequently, the case went to the High Court to determine liability. The hearing took place last week before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam.

At the hearing, Judge Fullam was told that plastic bags had been introduced to store rubbish following the sealing of the rubbish bins as a security measure and the storage of the plastic bags – both when empty and full – was an issue that affected all the cabin crew working on Air IOM flights. He also heard that the plastic bags occasionally split open, allowing rubbish to spill onto the floor of the galley.

However, before Air IOM Ltd and Air Contractors (Ireland) Ltd had the opportunity to present their defence against the injury claim for a slip on a plane, Judge Fullam was told that Gabrielle´s claim had been settled for an undisclosed amount and the case could be struck.

201603.18
0

Farmer Fined for Injury to a Worker at a Dairy

A farmer from Killylea in County Armagh has been fined £1,000 by magistrates for a health and safety breach that led to an injury to a worker at a dairy.

In June 2015, the unnamed worker was helping to erect a fence on land owned by the farmer – David Murphy – when his left leg was impaled by one of the prongs of a silage buckrake that fell from the front of a telescopic materials handler.

An investigation into the accident and injury to a worker at a dairy revealed that there had been a breach of Article 4 of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978, and Murphy was prosecuted by HSENI inspectors.

At the hearing of Armagh Magistrates´ Court, Murphy pled guilty to the charge on causing an injury to a worker at a dairy and was fined £1,000. Following the hearing, Kevin Campbell – an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team – said:

“Farmers must ensure that proper systems are in place to prevent employees being injured. In addition, the correct equipment must be used and be maintained in good working order. Any misuse of equipment, or the wrong choice of machinery has the potential for things to go wrong, resulting in serious injury, as was the case in this totally preventable accident.”

201603.17
0

Court Awards €153,000 Compensation for a Workplace Manual Lifting Injury

A former picker at a Dublin distribution centre has been awarded €153,150 compensation for a workplace manual lifting injury by a judge at the High Court.

Forty-seven year old Slovakian, Salmovir Spes, made his workplace manual lifting injury claim after hurting his back while working at the Windcanton distribution centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Salmovir´s job at the distribution centre was to manually lift or “pick” goods from pallets and load the goods onto trolleys for transportation to twenty-four Supervalu supermarkets in the area.

Salmovir´s injury occurred on October 29th 2011 as he was lifting trays of yoghurts from a pallet. As he turned to place the yoghurts onto a trolley, Salmovir felt a sharp pain in his back. Although he went home immediately to rest his back, and then sought prompt medical attention, Salmovir was unable to return to work at the distribution centre. He remained on sick leave until 2014 when he was made redundant.

Salmovir claimed compensation for a workplace manual lifting injury, but Windcanton withheld their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment. Salmovir was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue compensation for a workplace manual lifting injury through the courts, and his case was heard recently at the High Court by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

At the hearing, Judge Barr heard that Salmovir was set a “pick rate” of 1,200 picks per seven-and-a-half hour shift. It was alleged by Salmovir that he had not been trained in the correct way of manually lifting goods in a safe way to meet his target, and that he was especially selected for heavy manual lifting because of his nationality.

The defence argued that Salmovir had not been treated differently than any other employee, that adequate training was provided and that workers were given refresher courses at regular intervals. It was suggested that Salmovir´s injury had been caused by his own negligence due to taking a short cut in the correct procedures.

Judge Barr found in Salmovir´s favour – commenting he was satisfied that Salmovir´s back injury was attributable to a lack of adequate training, unreasonably high pick rates and being forced to take short cuts to meet his target. The judge said there was no evidence to support Salmovir´s allegations of discrimination or the defence´s argument that Salmovir had contributed to his injury through his own lack of care.

The judge awarded Salmovir €153,150 compensation for a workplace manual lifting injury, saying he was satisfied that the plaintiff had suffered a significant injury to his lower back due to his employer´s negligence that not only rendered him “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life”, but also continued to cause him pain in his day-to-day domestic activities.

201603.15
0

Negligence Determined in Claim for a Workplace Accident at Dunnes

A High Court judge has found Dunnes Stores negligent in a claim for a workplace accident in Dunnes, made by an employee who fell down a flight of stairs.

Jean O´Reilly from Wexford was employed as a checkout operator at her local Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square, when – on 9th December 2011 – she lost her footing while reading the staff noticeboard and fell down a flight of stairs leading from the staff locker room to the ground floor.

Jean was taken to hospital by ambulance, where she was treated for soft tissue injuries to her neck and back. Jean had to wear a neck brace to support her head for the six weeks she was unable to work and also underwent a course of physiotherapy to help her recover from her ordeal.

After obtaining legal advice, Jean made a claim for a workplace accident in Dunnes against her employer –  alleging that the staff noticeboard was dangerously positioned too close to the top of the stairs and that, had there been a handrail of both sides of the flight of stairs, her fall could have been prevented.

Dunnes Stores contested the claim for a workplace accident at Dunnes and refused to consent to an Injuries Board assessment. Jean was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her workplace accident claim through the courts process and her case was heard at the High Court.

At the end of the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam found in Jean´s favour. Judge Fullam ruled that Dunnes Stores had been negligent in two respects – for the dangerous placement of the staff noticeboard at the top of the flight of stairs and for the lack of a handrail on both sides of the flight of stairs.

Judge Fullam awarded Jean €81,500 compensation in settlement of her claim for a workplace accident at Dunnes – €65,000 general damages for her pain, suffering and loss of amenity as a result of her accident, and €16,500 special damages for her loss of income and the costs she had incurred.