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.

201601.27
0

Settlement of Brain Injury Claim for Compensation Approved in Court

A settlement of a brain injury claim for compensation has been approved in the High Court in favour of a twenty-five year old man from County Longford.

On 27th January 2009, Francis Smith from Edgeworthstown in County Longford was driving along a local road when he had to manoeuvre out of the way of a car heading directly towards him. As Francis took evasive action to avoid a collision with the car, he crashed into the back of a council lorry that was parked ahead of some roadworks.

Francis, who was eighteen years of age at the time and who held full-time employment at a local factory, sustained devastating brain damage in the accident. As a result of his injuries, Francis has cognitive and physical issues. He is no longer able to work or live independently, and is cared for at the family home by his mother, Martina Dempsey.

On Francis´ behalf, Martina made a brain injury claim for compensation against Longford County Council. She alleged in her claim that the council had been negligent by failing to give adequate warning of the roadworks by means of bollards or warning signs, and that there was no flagman in place to warn oncoming traffic of the obstruction in the road.

While requesting a settlement of a brain injury claim for compensation, Martina alleged that the lorry into which Francis had crashed was parked in such a way that it protruded extensively into the road. Due to the proximity of the roadworks to a bend in the road, the lorry, it was claimed, was a danger to other road users.

Longford County Council denied its liability for Francis´ brain injuries. The council counter-claimed that Francis had significantly contributed to the cause of the accident by his own contributory negligence and had been driving too fast into the bend in the road. However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that a €750,000 settlement of the brain injury claim for compensation had been agreed between the two parties.

After noting that the settlement of the brain injury claim for compensation represented 25% of the full value of the claim, Judge Cross approved the settlement. The judge commented in his closing remarks that the settlement was a good one in the circumstances and he wished Francis all the best for the future.

201509.02
0

Man Settles Claim for a Brain Injury due to a Fall from a Ladder

A man who suffered life-changing injuries in uncertain circumstances has settled his claim for a brain injury due to a fall from a ladder.

On 22nd March 2011, Michael Brady (47) from Monasterevin in County Kildare had just started working for Philip Brady Building Contractors Ltd in Naas, when he was asked to clean some ivy from a gutter. Michael was working with his father that day – Philip Brady Senior (related to the owner of the company, but not the owner) – who left his son working at the top of a 16-foot ladder.

On Philip Brady´s return, Michael was found lying on the ground with the ladder still in position. Michael was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery. He has subsequently had to undergo neurosurgery and procedures to reconstruct his face. Due to his accident, Michael now has problems with his vision and needs full-time support for his daily living.

As Michael was not of a mental capacity to represent himself, a claim for a brain injury due to a fall from a ladder was made on his behalf by his father. Philip Brady Senior alleged that the ladder that had been provided for Michael was inadequate for the job, and that there had been a failure to provide appropriate support and safeguards to protect against a fall while the ladder was in use.

The construction company denied liability for Michael´s accident and prepared a full defence against the claim for a brain injury due to a fall from a ladder. However, shortly before a scheduled hearing was about to commence, the High Court was told that the claim had been settled for €1.5 million. After hearing the few details that are known about Michael´s accident, the settlement of the claim was approved and the hearing closed.

201504.22
0

Claim for the Failure to Treat Meningitis Resolved in Court

A young boy´s claim for the failure to treat meningitis has been resolved in court with the approval of a €3.7 million interim settlement of compensation.

Matthew McGrath was admitted to Wexford General Hospital on 27th May 2004 at the age of 17 months after it was noticed that he was uncharacteristically drowsy and vomiting fluids. Matthew was diagnosed with Haemophilus Influenza Type B – which is known to lead on to meningitis – and he should have been administered antibiotics.

Overnight, Matthew´s condition deteriorated and he was identified as being in shock. Despite medical guidelines recommending against it when a patient is in shock, Matthew underwent a lumbar puncture procedure to confirm suspected meningitis – due to which a compression of the spinal cord took place and Matthew is now permanently paralysed.

Due to the failure to administer antibiotics when Matthew was first admitted to the hospital, and the subsequent inappropriate lumbar puncture, Matthew cannot move his arms or legs and can only breathe through a ventilator. He spent the next two years of his life in hospital until his parents were eventually allowed to care for their son at home.

Through his mother – Cathy McGrath of Gorey in County Wexford – Matthew made a claim for the failure to treat meningitis against the HSE – alleging that, if he had been treated with antibiotics and given fluids at the time of his admission into Wexford General Hospital, he would not have suffered such devastating injuries.

After an investigation into the claim for the failure to treat meningitis, the HSE admitted liability and issued an apology to Matthew´s parents. An interim compensation settlement of €3.7 million was agreed, but first had to be approved by a judge before payment could be made.

Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, the circumstances of Matthew´s devastating and unnecessary injuries were related to Mr Justice Matthew Cross. Judge Cross approved the settlement, and adjourned the claim for the failure to treat meningitis for five years in order that reports into Matthew´s future needs can be conducted.

201504.15
0

Guidelines Could Prevent More Syntocinon Birth Injury Claims

The State Claims Agency has said that a consistent set of guidelines should be compiled for birth-inducing drugs to prevent more Syntocinon birth injury claims.

Syntocinon is the brand name in Ireland of oxytocin – a synthetic drug that is frequently used in maternity wards to induce labour and accelerate contractions. The benefits of Syntocinon are that the drug reduces the time spent in labour, prevents excessive bleeding and helps the womb to contract after childbirth.

However, when Syntocinon is administered, both mother and child need careful monitoring to observe any signs of an adverse reaction or foetal distress. Oxytocin is one of the top ten “high-alert medications” in hospitals, and the death of four babies at the Portlaoise Hospital has been attributed to the lack of adequate monitoring.

Children who survive the accelerated contractions have been known to suffer brain damage, and among a series of recent Syntocinon birth injury claims was one in February this year, in which an interim settlement of birth injury compensation amounting to €2.32 million was approved by the High Court.

The State Claims Agency – the authority that pays out when Syntocinon birth injury claims are resolved – recently conducted a study into the use of oxytocin in Irish hospitals, which showed that there is a lack of consistency in how the drug is administered and how the health of mothers and their babies is monitored.

The report revealed that staff at one maternity unit had no guidance on the drug´s use and that at another staff had to refer to a checklist. Thirteen hospitals had similar guidelines – although not entirely consistent, five hospitals had introduced protocols, three had introduced procedures and six relied on policies. Two of the hospitals provided no guidance at all on the monitoring of mothers and babies, and one failed to advise nursing staff on the dosage of oxytocin that should be administered.

Mary Godfrey – the clinical risk advisor at the State Claims Agency – said that the results of the survey were alarming and called for a consistent set of guidelines to be compiled for all birth-inducing drugs to improve outcomes for mothers and babies, and to prevent more Syntocinon birth injury claims being made against the state.

However Ms Godfrey failed to comment on an important area of the report which revealed “No service obtains explicit written consent from women prior to starting them on the drug.” Informed consent is a vital issue for the State Claims Agency to address if it genuinely wishes to prevent more Syntocinon birth injury claims.

201503.05
1

HSE Found Liable in Hydrocephalus Brain Injury Claim

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has been found liable in a hydrocephalus brain injury claim after a hearing at the High Court.

Ava Kiernan started displaying the symptoms of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) when she was just a few months old. In April 2008 – when she was three months old – Ave was examined by a public health nurse, who failed to act on her mother´s concerns or arrange a follow-up examination.

Hydrocephalus is caused by spinal fluid “pooling” in the skull because it has failed to drain from the brain. It is most commonly identified in children under the age of one year by a rapid expansion of the head´s circumference or “soft spot” bulges appearing around the skull.

A follow-up examination would have identified a rapid growth in the size of Ava´s head, but her skull was not measured again until September 2008, when the measurement – which would have been conducted in time to prevent Ava from suffering brain damage – was performed incorrectly.

Due to the nurse´s failure to act and the subsequent errors in the measurement of Ava´s head, the pressure from the spinal fluid resulted in Ava suffering brain damage. She now suffers from physical and mental disabilities and, on her behalf, Ava´s mother – Ruth Kiernan from Duleek in County Meath – made a hydrocephalus brain injury claim for compensation against the HSE.

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

Judge Cross continued to say that Ava´s hydrocephalus could have been diagnosed and treated before it resulted in permanent brain damage where it not for the public health nurse´s failure to act on Ruth´s concerns and the medical negligence in the second measurement. The judge adjourned the hydrocephalus brain injury claim so that an assessment can be conducted to determine Ava´s future needs and an appropriate damages settlement.

201412.29
0

Pedestrian Injury Compensation Reduced 60% by Judge

A High Court judge has reduced a settlement of pedestrian injury compensation by 60 percent to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence.

On September 26th 2010, Stacey McCaughey (24) was hit by a car on the Carrickmannon Road in Ballygowan as she was walking home with friends after an evening at the nearby Chestnut Inn. Stacey spent four days in intensive care and received treatment for a frontal lobe contusion, a spinal injury and multiple fractures.

Following the accident, Stacey suffered from headaches, moods swings and memory loss, and – despite not remembering the accident due to the amount of alcohol she had consumed – made a claim for pedestrian injury compensation against the driver of the vehicle that hit her; alleging that he was driving too fast for the road conditions.

The driver of the vehicle – Brian Mullan – disputed the claim; arguing that Stacey and her friends had been drunk and wandering aimlessly across the road. A forensic engineer confirmed that Mullan had probably hit Stacey as he swerved to avoid other members of the party staggering along the road, while the police verified that he had been sober at the time.

At Belfast High Court, Mr Justice O´Hara found in Stacey´s favour, stating that the onus had been on Mullan to drive at a speed suitable for the road conditions in order that he would be able to stop in time to avoid any obstruction on the road ahead. However, he also found Stacey negligent as being a road user who had responsibilities for her own safety.

Judge O´Hara said that Stacey had failed to look after her own safety “by walking in the middle of a dark, unlit road while drunk and incapable of being alert to traffic”.  Having assessed Stacey´s claim for pedestrian injury compensation at £110,000, the judge reduced the settlement by 60 percent to £44,000 to account for her contributory negligence.

201411.27
0

Judge Approves Compensation for School Bus Accident

A woman who sustained significant head injuries when she was ten years of age has heard her settlement of compensation for a school bus accident approved at the High Court.

On January 22nd 2001, Bernadette Nicholson from Milltown in County Galway was seated on the back seat of the school bus home from the Belmont National School in Milltown with several of her friends. On the journey home, the girls decided to stand up on the back seat and sway against the movement of the bus as it rounded corners.

Unfortunately for Bernadette and three of her friends, as the bus pulled away after dropping off another child, the glass in the back window crashed out of its frame and the four schoolchildren fell out of the bus and onto the road – Bernadette being knocked unconscious by the fall and taken to University College Hospital in Galway with severe head injuries. Bernadette was later transferred to the specialist unit at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

An enquiry into the accident discovered that the seal surrounding the window was broken and, in 2002, Bus Éireann was found guilty of being the owner of a vehicle with a defect that was a danger to the public and that could have been discovered through the exercise of ordinary care. The judge in the case – Judge Mary Fahy – disagreed with the bus company that the pressure exerted by the girls would have been enough to force the glass out of the window.

Bernadette – now 24 years of age – made a claim for compensation for the school bus accident against Bus Éireann and, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of the accident and Judge Fahy´s decision in 2002. Stating that Bernadette had made a remarkable recovery from appalling circumstances, the judge approved Bernadette´s €1.78 million settlement of compensation for a school bus accident and closed the case.

201408.20
0

Man Awarded Injury Compensation for Bin Lorry Accident

A man from County Wicklow, who suffered a severe brain injury when being run over by a Dublin City refuse truck, has been awarded almost €5 million injury compensation for a bin lorry accident.

Padraig Hearns (39) from Hollywood in County Wicklow had been enjoying a night out in Dublin´s Temple Bar area in April 2007, when he was assaulted in Sycamore Street. Dazed and confused, Padraig was lying on the street when he was run over by a bin lorry operated by Dublin City Council.

As a result of the bin lorry accident, Padraig – a former Mr. Ireland who had been working as an air steward for British Airways – suffered a fractured skull and severe injuries to his arm and eye. He remained in hospital recovering from his injuries for several months – the first week spent in an induced coma.

Due to the brain injury sustained in the accident, Padraig now lives at home – being cared for by his parents and siblings. He will never be able to live independently again nor be able to work in any meaningful employment.

On Padraig´s behalf, his parents made a claim for injury compensation for the bin lorry accident against Dublin City Council. The Council denied their liability for Padraig´s injuries on the grounds that it was not the operators of the bin lorry that were to blame for Padraig lying on the floor in front of the refuse truck.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Peart found in Padraig´s favour. The judge noted that Dublin City Council had ignored its own by-laws not to collect commercial waste in the Temple Bar area between 12:00pm and 6:00pm – implemented three months before the accident.

Judge Peart said “It makes complete sense from a public safety point of view that these large refuse trucks would not be permitted to try and negotiate their way through an area such as the narrow and crowded streets of Temple Bar when so many people are present”.

He added that the local authority had a duty of care to have a man outside of the refuse truck when it moved off to ensure that it was safe to do so. In the judge´s opinion, Dublin City Council had breached that duty of care by failing to notice Padraig lying in the street beneath the wheels of the lorry.

Mr Justice Michael Peart awarded Padraig €4,885,888 injury compensation for the bin lorry accident, which included €350,000 for pain and suffering, €266,341 for loss of earnings, €155,230 for care costs to date and €3,485,000 for future care costs. The judge added that he would be awarding legal costs in favour of Padraig as well. The proceedings were adjourned for mention until October 8th.

201407.31
0

Pedestrian Accident Brain Injury Compensation Approved in Court

A Dublin resident, who sustained life-changing injuries when hit by a car as she was crossing the road, has been awarded €1 million pedestrian accident brain injury compensation after a hearing at the High Court.

Elena Schiopu (60) was crossing Morehampton Road in Dublin on 9th September when she was knocked over by a vehicle whose driver had been attempting to undertake the car that had given way to Elena and her granddaughter, who Elena was pushing in a buggy at the time.

Although Elena had suffered cuts and bruises in the accident, she continued home with her unharmed granddaughter, but later developed slurred speech and weak limbs, and went to hospital for an examination.

Elena was admitted to hospital, and her condition deteriorated so rapidly that she remained in intensive care for seventeen days. Eventually Elena lost all powers of communication and was diagnosed with a quadriplegic brain injury. In 2012, Elena was transferred to a nursing home for specialist care.

On her behalf, Elena´s daughter claimed pedestrian accident brain injury compensation against Eamon McElwain of Donnybrook in Dublin – the driver of the vehicle that had knocked down Elena as she was crossing the road -.

In their action against McElwain, the family argued that McElwain had undertaken the stationary car when he should have known it might be unsafe to do so. McElwain contested the claim – arguing that he had not been speeding or driving dangerously, and that Elena had failed to look as she stepped out from behind the stationary car.

Eventually a €1 million settlement of pedestrian accident brain injury compensation was agreed upon and, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told of the circumstances of the accident and Elena´s tragic injury. The judge approved the settlement – commenting that it was such a distressing case – and extended her sympathies to the family.

201407.14
0

Hit and Run Injury Compensation Approved at Court

A settlement of hit and run injury compensation has been approved at the High Court in favour of a woman who was hit by a drunk driver when she was a twenty-one year old student.

Laura Byrne (now 26 years of age) was a veterinary student living in New Ross in County Wexford when – on June 20th 2009 – she was hit by a car driven by Karol Chrzan while talking to friends in the street.

As the car hit Laura, she was thrown into the air and landed on the bonnet of the vehicle, cracking her head against the car windscreen. She was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital and later transferred to Cork for specialist treatment of her injuries.

As a result of the accident Laura had to abandon the veterinary course she was studying at college due to ongoing problems with her balance and attacks of double-vision. She still suffers from her left arm being weaker than her right arm.

Chrzan panicked and drove off from the scene of the accident. He was later arrested by police, when he admitted to drinking six beers and some vodka before getting into his partner´s car, for which he was not insured.

He was charged with injuring Laura in the hit and run accident and sentenced to three years imprisonment for dangerous driving causing serious harm. He was also banned from driving for six years.

Laura made a claim for hit and run injury compensation against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) – the organisation that settles claims against uninsured drivers – and a €1.2 million settlement of Laura´s claim was negotiated to account for her injuries and lost opportunities.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of hit and run injury compensation – commenting that it was a very good one in the circumstances, and that although no amount of money could make up for the trauma Laura had suffered, the judge hoped that the extra money would make life better for her.

201405.07
0

Judge Approves Bus Accident Serious Injury Compensation

A Spanish student´s €9 million settlement of bus accident serious injury compensation has been approved by a judge after a hearing at the High Court.

On 4th February 2009, Carlos Tesch – who was then twelve years of age – was walking along Herbert Road in Bray, County Wicklow, with a group of friends, when he dashed out into the road in order to avoid other youths who had allegedly verbally threatened the young Spaniard and his friends previously.

As Carlos ran into the road, he was hit by a bus coming up from behind him, and Carlos suffered severe head injuries – including a fracture to the base of his skull – which has left him unable to walk or speak and reliant on his parents – Hans and Mar Tesch – for his primary care.

Through his father, Carlos made a claim for bus accident serious injury compensation against Dublin Bus. Dublin Bus denied its responsibility for Carlos´ injuries, stating that the driver had been travelling at 40Km/h in a 50 Km/h zone and that he could not have foreseen a child running out into the road.

An earlier High Court hearing had determined that Dublin Bus should be considered 70 percent liable for Carlos´ injuries because the driver had been distracted by a passenger shortly before the accident, and – after the decision had been upheld by the Supreme Court – the case returned to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

At the High Court, the circumstances of Carlos´ accident with the bus were related to Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who also heard how Hans Tesch had given up his managerial position to care full-time for his son and has twice taken him to China for stem cell treatment.

The judge was also told how Carlos attends the Spanish Institute during school hours and – approving the €9 million settlement of bus accident serious injury compensation – Ms Justice Mary Irvine said she was fully aware of what parents had to give up to maximise the situation for their children in cases of such catastrophic injuries.

201405.06
0

Court Resolves Injury Claim for Fall from Roof at Work

The High Court has approved the settlement of an injury claim for a fall from a roof at work, in favour of a County Wicklow man who suffered devastating brain injuries in the accident.

Paul O’Brien (50) of Glenealy, County Wicklow, was on the first day of a roofing contract on 18th July 2012, when he went to descend from the roof of the house in Bray as it had started to rain. As he attempted to get onto the ladder that was leant up against the side of the house, the ladder slipped on the timber decking floor it had been placed upon, and Paul fell to the ground.

Paul suffered a significant head injury in the accident, and now has limited short-term memory which will prevent him from ever working again. Through his wife – Sandra O´Brien – Paul made an injury claim for a fall from a roof at work against his employer – Sean Lyons of Clondalkin, Dublin – alleging that Lyons failed to provide a safe place of work or suitable scaffolding and ladders to enable him to carry out his work safely.

It was also claimed that the ladder that was provided to descend from the roof was unsafe and unfit for that purpose – it had not been fastened to the property on which Paul was working – and the combination of an alleged unsuitable ladder and the wet timber decking on which it had been placed presented a treacherous means of exit from the roof.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that – prior to being given this temporary roofing contract – Paul had been unemployed for a number of years following the collapse of the construction industry in Ireland. She also heard that Sandra O´Brien had taken a two-year sabbatical from her job to care for her husband; but an out-of-court settlement of Paul´s injury claim for a fall from a roof at work had been agreed amounting to €1.5 million.

Judge Irvine approved the settlement, stating that it was a good one when taking into account that Paul´s contributory negligence may have been a factor had the case gone to court. She added that she sympathised with the position of the O’Brien family and then closed the hearing.

201403.12
0

Man Settles Injury Claim for Fall Down Stairs of Pub

An eighty year old man, who suffered brain damage when falling down the stairs of the Stags Head in Dublin, has settled his injury claim for a fall down the stairs of a pub for €250,000.

Frank McHugh from Rathgar in Dublin had been enjoying an Easter meal with his family at the Stags Head pub in Dublin when, on April 24th 2011, he left the group to visit the bathroom.

As he descended the stairs to the toilets, Frank tumbled and fell – suffering a fractured skull and brain damage which left him in a coma. Due to the injuries sustained in the fall down the stairs of the pub, Frank has no recollection of the accident and will require permanent care for the rest of his life.

Through his son – Peter McHugh – Frank made an injury claim for a fall down stairs of a pub against Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd – owners of the Stags Head – alleging that there was a failure to provide a safe means of access to the toilets and that no warning signs of the alleged dangers were present in the stairwell.

Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd denied the claim made against the company – arguing that Frank had failed to descend the stairs in a safe manner and had fallen as a result of his own negligence. The company included in its defence CCTV footage of Frank taking the first step of the stairs and then tumbling forward.

At the High Court in Dublin Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that, although Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd contested the injury claim for a fall down stairs in a pub, the company had made an offer of settlement amounting to €250,000. The judge was told that the value of the settlement was a fraction of what a full compensation award might amount to, but the family had been advised to accept it.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine agreed that €250,000 would not go far in care costs, but approved the settlement on the grounds that it was unlikely Frank´s injury claim for a fall down the stairs of a pub would be successful if it went to a full trial due to a lack of evidence.

201402.14
0

Delayed Birth Injury Compensation Approved in Court

A €4 million settlement of delayed birth injury compensation has been approved in favour of a thirteen year old girl at the High Court in Dublin.

Katie Martin from Trim in County Meath was born at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin in November 2000 after her mother – Fiona – had arrived at the hospital very early in the morning complaining of having irregular contractions.

A CTG trace was performed on the expectant mother and – according to Katie´s solicitor – the trace produced abnormal readings that indicated Katie was being starved of oxygen in the womb. However, it was nearly an hour and a half before an emergency Caesarean Section was organised and, when Katie was born, she had suffered a cardiac arrest and displayed no signs of life.

The medical team were able to resuscitate Katie, but she had suffered severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen prior to her delivery which has left her requiring constant care for the rest of her life.

Katie made a claim for delayed birth injury compensation through her mother against the Coombe Hospital – which denied its liability for her injuries, and argued that Katie was starved of oxygen in the womb before her mother arrived at the hospital, and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent her brain damage.

However, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was informed that a €4 million settlement of compensation for a delayed birth injury had been negotiated without admission of liability from the hospital, and that the case was before her for approval of the settlement.

The judge was told the circumstances of Katie´s brain damage – and that the hospital had prepared a full defence against the claim – before approving the settlement and commenting that it was a good one considering that the Coombe Hospital had contested the claim.

201402.13
0

Car Crash Passenger Injury Compensation Approved in Court

A settlement of car crash passenger injury compensation, with a value of €10 million, has been approved by a High Court judge after a hearing in Dublin.

Lydia Branley (28) from Kinlough in Country Leitrim sustained devastating injuries in September 2010, when a car she was travelling in as a passenger left the N4 slip road  at Ballisodare at a speed of 150km/hour, crashed through two road barriers, hit a pole and ended upside down in a stream.

The driver – Martin Kearney from Balinoo in County Mayo – and a second male passenger were thrown clear from the vehicle as it crashed; but Lydia – who had been wearing a seatbelt – had to be cut from the wreckage of the BMW Coupe and was taken unconscious to Sligo General Hospital.

Lydia was later transferred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where she remained in a coma for nine months. When she came out of the coma, Lydia discovered that she had lost the use of her arms and legs and the ability to communicate by speech.

Kearney – who had just got his license back after a previous five-year driving ban – was convicted for dangerous driving causing serious harm, and in June 2012 given a six-year jail sentence and banned from driving for twenty years.

Through her father, Lydia made a car crash passenger injury compensation claim against Martin Kearney and his father Michael Kearney in his capacity as owner of the car. Liability was accepted and a negotiated compensation settlement of €10 million was agreed.

Because of Lydia´s condition, the settlement of car crash passenger injury compensation had to be approved by a judge and, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told the circumstances of Lydia´s injuries and how Lydia will require full-time care for the rest of her life.

Describing the €10 million compensation settlement as “excellent” as she approved it, the judge said “It does not give back Lydia her life. Nothing will, but it will provide her with the best care and hopefully bring back a degree of normality.”

201310.26
0

Claim for Compensation for a Head Injury at Work Resolved at High Court Hearing

A man, who suffered a severe life-changing trauma when a meat conveyor bench fell on him, has settled his claim for compensation for a head injury at work.

The plaintiff worked as a knife washer in the AIBP meat processing factory in Cahir, County Tipperary, when, in May 2007, he was instructed to assist a colleague who has loading a meat conveyor bench onto two trolleys in order to move it elsewhere within the processing plant.

As the employee and his colleague loaded the meat conveyor bench onto the trolleys, the bench slipped and fell on him while he was crouching beneath it; striking him on the head and causing a severe head trauma. The employee received hospital treatment immediately following the accident but, because of the nature of his injury, the High Court heard that he has not been able to work since.

A claim for compensation for a head injury at work was made by the plaintiff after seeking legal advice. It was alleged in the claim that he had been asked to perform a task for which he had not been trained or instructed adequately and, because of his employer´s negligence, he had suffered the injury.

AIPB denied its responsibility for the employee´s head injury and claimed that the accident had occurred because of his own lack of care. However solicitors representing the employee pursued his claim for compensation for a head injury at work and the case went before Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill at the High Court.

After hearing testimony from both parties, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill found in the plaintiff´s favour and said that he believed his account of how the meat conveyor bench accident had occurred. The judge commented that the accident had a major impact on the employee´s quality of life, but that AIBP had adopted an “antagonistic approach” to his situation.

The judge also criticised AIBP for recording a “trivialised and an inaccurate account” of the accident into the company’s accident reporting system and chastised the defence´s counsel for suggesting that the injured employee had been “malingering” since 2007. Awarding the plaintiff €257,000 in settlement of his claim for compensation for a head injury at work, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill commented that the defendants had got this case “completely wrong”.

201309.23
0

Families Can Claim Pandemrix Injury Compensation in the UK

Families in the UK have been told that they will be able to claim Pandemrix injury compensation for children who developed narcolepsy following the administration of the flu vaccine in 2009 and 2010.

Parents will be able to claim up to £120,000 Pandemrix injury compensation from the Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme which is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the UK, provided that they are able to show that their child has suffered a severe disability.

If their claim for Pandemrix injury compensation is rejected, the families will still have the option of court action, but a DWP spokesperson said “The Department for Work and Pensions has looked at some vaccine damage payments cases again in light of new information regarding swine flu and narcolepsy provided by the Department for Health”.

The news comes just days after Health Minister James Reilly was criticised for comments he made about Pandemrix injury compensation in Ireland during a radio interview. The minister claimed that – to his knowledge – the financial assistance that had been requested by families in Ireland whose children had developed narcolepsy as a side effect of the vaccine had been provided.

However, the support group SOUND (Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder) objected to his remarks – stating that the assistance that was being provided was only temporary and alleging that the government had reneged on a promise to approve a permanent solution last year.

SOUND committee member Eilish Plunkett – who has a son who developed narcolepsy due to Pandemrix in 2010 – said that her son (Sean) has a permanent illness which needs permanent support. She added that the personal services and financial Pandemrix injury compensation could be withdrawn at any time under the current arrangements.

She claims that James Reilly made a commitment to the support group to have the recommendations made in the official report Investigation of an Increase in the Incidence of Narcolepsy in Children and Adolescents in 2009 and 2010” approved by the government before the 2012 summer recess. The report is still waiting to be heard.

Almost one million doses of Pandemrix were administered to children in Ireland due to the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009. SOUND provides support for families which contain children who are suffering from the side effects of the flu jab.

201307.08
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Settlement of Passenger Brain Injury Claim Approved in Court

A woman, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when the car she was travelling was involved in a car crash, has had the settlement of her passenger brain injury claim approved in the High Court.

Rhona Murphy (34) was just twenty years of age when, in February 1999, she was travelling as a front seat passenger in a car which attempted to undertake a slower moving vehicle on the Galway to Headford Road.

Rhona, who comes from Newcastle in County Galway, was lucky to survive the crash after the driver of the car in which she was a passenger lost control of the vehicle and collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction.

As a result of the traumatic brain injury suffered in the car crash, Rhona had to abandon her studies which she hoped would lead to a career in teaching and now has to take heavy medication to help with her memory and balance. She has been cared for since the accident by her father.

Through her father, Rhona made a claim for passenger brain injury compensation against the driver of the car, alleging that the driver had been driving at an excessive speed in a reckless, dangerous or careless manner.

Liability for the passenger brain injury claim was admitted and, at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an offer of 3 million €uros had been made in settlement of the claim which the family were prepared to accept.

After hearing the circumstances of Rhona´s injury, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of her passenger brain injury claim, stating that it was a good offer considering there was a doubt that Rhona was wearing a seatbelt at the time and had knowingly entered a vehicle which was being driven by somebody who had consumed a significant amount of alcohol.

201306.07
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Court Approves Interim Cerebral Palsy Compensation Settlement

An interim cerebral palsy compensation settlement has been approved in the High Court for a thirteen-year-old boy who sustained irreversible brain damage during his birth.

Ryan Brennan from Cahir in County Tipperary was born at St. Joseph´s Hospital in Clonmel in January 2000; hours after abnormalities had been discovered in the foetal heart rate tracing. Following his delivery, Ryan had to be resuscitated and later in the day suffered seizures.

It was claimed by Ryan´s parents – Lorraine and Raymond – that Ryan suffered irreversible brain damage and cerebral palsy due to a failure to act by the hospital´s consultant obstetrician – Dr Brendan Powell – and that Ryan´s injuries could have been avoided if staff at the hospital had acted with greater diligence.

On behalf of their son, the Brennans made a claim for cerebral palsy compensation against Dr Powell and the Health Service Executive (HSE) for alleged negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract.

The two defendants denied responsibility for Ryan´s injuries but, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an interim cerebral palsy compensation settlement of €1.7 million had been agreed with the HSE without admission of liability and that the claim against Dr Powell could be struck out.

The interim settlement of compensation for cerebral palsy is for two years to allow for reports on Ryan´s future needs to be conducted and to allow for the possible introduction of a periodic payment system. After commenting that the settlement was ‘in the upper parameters of these types of cases’, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement.

201305.15
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Compensation for Catastrophic Birth Injuries Approved in Court

An interim payment of compensation for catastrophic birth injuries has been approved in the High Court for a ten-year-old boy who suffers from severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

In February, the Coombe Hospital was found liable in a catastrophic birth injury claim brought against it by Dr Fiona Murphy of Malahide, County Dublin, on behalf of her son Eoin.

Eoin had been delivered at the hospital in July 2002 suffering from near total acute hypoxic ischaemia, but was not ventilated until seventeen minutes later because a paediatric registrar was not available at the time. As a consequence of the avoidable delay, Eoin´s brain was starved of oxygen and he now suffers from dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

After finding the Coombe Women’s and Infants’ University Hospital liable for Eoin´s injuries, Ms Justice Mary Irvine adjourned the case in February for the assessment of damages, and  yesterday the family were back in court to hear Mr Justice Michael Moriarty approved an interim settlement of compensation for catastrophic birth injuries amounting to €2.9 million.

The settlement is intended to provide initial support and care for Eoin, with a further hearing scheduled for two years time, when a review of Eoin´s future needs will be conducted and by which time a structured compensation payment system may be in place. After approving the settlement, the judge said it had been “a harrowing, taxing and difficult case” for Eoin’s family and legal advisers.

As part of the settlement of compensation for catastrophic birth injuries, the Coombe Hospital is also to drop its Supreme Court appeal against the February decision which found the hospital liable for Eoin´s injuries.

201305.04
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Compensation Settlement for Cerebral Palsy Approved in Court

A ten-year-old boy, who alleged through his mother that he suffered foetal distress due to a hospital´s mismanagement of his birth, has had an interim compensation settlement for cerebral palsy approved at the High Court.

Jamie Patterson from Drimnagh in Dublin was born in November 2002 at the city´s Coombe Hospital after his mother – Teresa – had been administered the drug Syntocinon to help start her contractions.

However, the hospital allegedly failed to take into account that the administration of the drug could cause foetal distress without careful monitoring, and Jamie was born with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia.

Through his mother, Jamie – who is unable to talk and can only communicate through body language and facial expressions – made a claim for cerebral palsy compensation on the grounds that Coombe Hospital failed to exercise a proper standard of care for Jamie and his mother.

The claims were denied by the hospital but, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill heard that an interim compensation settlement for cerebral palsy of €1.58 million had been agreed between Jamie´s legal representatives and the Health Service Executive.

The judge also heard that the interim compensation settlement for cerebral palsy was made without admission of liability. Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill approved the settlement – saying that it was an extremely prudent settlement – and adjourned the case for two years while an assessment is made of Jamie´s future needs.

201304.24
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Claim for Birth Injuries due to Lack of Staff Resolved in Court

The family of a girl who suffered brain damage at her birth due to hospital obstetric negligence have had their claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff resolved at the High Court in Dublin.

Alex Butler (8) from Dunmore East, County Waterford, was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005; however, due to the hospital´s failure to have an adequate number of properly trained competent medical staff to deal with the Alex´s delivery, and to ensure that an adequate and properly competent obstetrician was available, Alex´s delivery was delayed by twelve minutes – during which time she suffered brain damage which led to permanent tetraplegic injury.

Through her mother – Sonya – Alex made a claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff at the hospital, alleging that her consultant obstetrician had been allowed to take leave at the same time as the hospital´s two other obstetricians and that the hospital had employed a locum obstetrician without ensuring that he competent. It was further claimed that Sonya´s pre-operative assessment was substandard and there was a failure to recognise the necessity for a Caesarean section.

The High Court heard that the Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability for Alex´s injuries, and the claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff against the consultant obstetrician – John Bermingham – and locum obstetrician – Mahmud Khbuli – were dismissed. A representative from Waterford read out an apology for the mismanagement of Alex´s birth and accepted that the mistakes that were made should never have happened.

The Court also heard that an interim settlement of Alex´s claim for birth injuries due to a lack of staff amounting to €1.4 million had been agreed upon between the HSE and Alex´s parents. The compensation settlement is to be reviewed again in two years when an assessment of Alex´s care needs for the future has been made, and by which time it is hoped that the option of a structured settlement is available.

201304.23
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Court Approves Compensation for the Wrongful Death of a Child

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for the wrongful death of a child after a statement was read out in court apologising for the death of the child due to a delayed diagnosis.

Kaiden Costello was admitted to Temple Street Children´s Hospital in April 2009 when he was just six months old, as his concerned mother – Kate – had noticed her son was off his food. Kaiden was diagnosed with a failure to thrive, but two months later was re-admitted and an MRI revealed that his condition was due to a brain tumour. Kaiden underwent surgery to remove the tumour in July 2009, but he died three days later.

Kaiden´s mother made a claim for the wrongful death of a child due to a delayed diagnosis against the hospital and HSE; alleging that, had an MRI been conducted when Kaiden was first admitted to the hospital and the tumour identified sooner, her son could have received chemotherapy treatment that would have extended his life by five to ten years or undergone surgery earlier to remove the tumour.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that liability for the failure to diagnose Kaiden had been admitted by Temple Street Children´s Hospital and a settlement of compensation for the wrongful death of a child had been agreed upon amounting to €180,000.

As part of the settlement agreement, an apology was read out by CEO of Temple Street Children´s Hospital – Mona Baker – who said that she understood that no apology or compensation arising from Kaiden´s death could negate the continuing heartache that the family must feel every day.

Judge Cross thereafter approved the settlement of compensation for the wrongful death of a child which comprised of €145,000 for Kate Costello´s nervous shock as a result of the death of her son and €35,000 relating to the wrongful death due to a delayed diagnosis.

201303.13
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Settlement of Quadriplegic Injuries Compensation Approved

A man left with quadriplegic injuries and with severe brain damage following a road traffic accident has had a €6.5 million settlement of quadriplegic injuries compensation approved in the High Court.

Alan Kavanagh (41) from New Ross, County Wexford, sustained his injuries when he and his daughter were involved in a head-on collision with a van errantly driven by Liam Toohey of Nenagh, County Tipperary in November 2004.

Having suffered multiple fractures and brain damage which left him in a quadriplegic condition, Alan is totally dependent on others for nursing care, is unable to feed himself and is confined to a wheelchair. Fortunately, the only injury suffered by Alan´s daughter in the accident was a broken finger.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Alan had made a claim for quadriplegic injuries compensation through his brother against Toohey and the owner of the van involved in the accident – John Heffernan, a haulage contractor, also of Nenagh, County Tipperary. Liability for Alan´s injuries had been accepted and the case was before the judge for assessment of damages only.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Alan was currently living in a nursing home for the elderly which was not suitable for his needs; however a settlement of €6.5 million had been proposed which would provide financial security for the rest of Alan´s life and enable him to have the level of care he required.

After hearing evidence from Alan´s partner and mother of his daughter – Loretto Power – that the family was happy with the settlement of quadriplegic injuries compensation, Ms Justice Mary Irvine gave the settlement her approval – saying that it was an excellent settlement which gave Alan the best chance of meeting his future needs.

201302.04
0

Coombe Hospital Liable in Catastrophic Birth Injury Claim

A High Court judge has found the Coombe Women´s Hospital in Dublin negligent in a catastrophic birth injury claim brought against it by a ten-year-old boy.

The claim for catastrophic birth injury compensation was made by Fiona Murphy of Malahide, County Dublin, on behalf of her son Eoin (10) following the events of his birth on 12th July 2002.

Eoin had been born suffering from near total acute hypoxic ischaemia which an investigation into the catastrophic birth injury claim determined had begun two or three minutes before he was delivered.

However, rather than resuscitating Eoin within minutes of his birth, a delay of seventeen minutes occurred due to a paediatric registrar not being available and, as a consequence, Eoin sustained irreversible brain damage and now suffers from severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy .

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said that, had the hospital acted with reasonable care for Eoin’s welfare, there was no reason why he should not have been effectively ventilated by the time he was nine minutes old which would have prevented his injuries from occurring.

Finding the Coombe Women’s and Infants’ University Hospital liable for Eoin´s injuries, the judge said “the delay was unacceptable and the hospital was negligent in failing to ensure the child received the type of intubation and ventilation mandated in the first 10 minutes of his life”.

Eoin´s catastrophic birth injury claim has now been adjourned for the assessment of damages.

UPDATE May 2013: Eoin was awarded an interim settlement of €1.9 million in compensation for catastrophic birth injuries in May 2013, with his case adjourned for a further two years when a review of his future requirements will be conducted.

201301.03
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Council Found Negligent in Road Crossing Accident Claim

Dublin South County Council has been found 100 percent responsible in a road crossing accident claim after a hearing at the High Court in Dublin.

The claim was brought by Linda Dargen Burgess from Tallaght, Dublin, on behalf of her son Brandon who – at the age of thirteen – was hit by a motorist at the junction of the Tallaght Bypass and Killinarden Way while trying to cross the road at a temporary crossing erected by the council.

Brandon suffered a serious head injury in the accident and fractures to his arms and legs, and missed a significant period of his education while he recovered from his injuries. As a consequence of his accident, Brandon has now left school without completing his Leaving Certificate.

Brandon´s mother made a claim for road crossing accident compensation against both the driver of the car – James Mulholland from Dundrum, Dublin – and Dublin South County Council, claiming that the way in which the temporary crossing had been set up made it extremely difficult for pedestrians to access the signal box.

It was further alleged that the placement of a Dublin South County Council vehicle at the crossing had obscured the lights on the central island and it was impossible to see whether the signal crossing man was at green or red. Both James Mulholland and Dublin South County Council disputed liability.

In the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine dismissed the road crossing accident claim against Mr Mulholland, after hearing that he had been driving within the speed limit with a green light ahead of him. Ms Justice Mary Irvine agreed with the defendant that even if he was keeping a proper lookout, he did not have a realistic chance of seeing Brandon before he stepped out in front of the car.

She also dismissed claims of contributory negligence made against Brandon by the council, who had alleged that Brandon had failed to take adequate care for his own safety before stepping out into the road. The judge said that in the circumstances she was satisfied that the positioning of the signal box and blocking of the lights on the central island amounted to negligence by the council and found them 100 percent liable for Brandon´s injuries.

Awarding compensation for a road crossing accident of €826,818, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said that, but for the accident, Brandon would have completed his studies at school and will now have a completely different type of future as a result of his injuries.

201211.23
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Compensation for Mild Cerebral Palsy Approved in Court

An award of compensation for mild cerebral palsy amounting to €1.35 million has been approved in the High Court in favour of eleven-year-old Shane Fitzgerald.

Shane, from Lehanaghmore in County Cork, had sued consultant obstetrician Dr David Corr and the Bon Secours Health System Ltd, trading as the Bon Secours Hospital, College Road, Cork City, through his mother Susan after alleged delays in Shane´s delivery on April 10th 2001.

It was claimed in Shane´s action that, due to an alleged delay in his birth, he suffered from a lack of oxygen to his brain and was born with a mild form of cerebral palsy. Had Shane been delivered earlier, it was claimed in his action, he would have been spared his injury.

Both Dr Corr and the Bon Secours Hospital denied their liability for Shane´s injury but, at the High Court, Mrs Justice Mary Irvine was told that an offer of settlement of €1.35 million had been made in respect of Shane´s claim for mild cerebral palsy compensation without admission of liability.

Mrs Justice Mary Irvine was told that, despite his condition, Shane is doing very well in school and is a “happy young man”. The judge approved the compensation for mild cerebral palsy settlement – noting that it was a good settlement, as there may have been issues concerning liability had the hospital negligence case been litigated in court.

201211.21
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Court Awards Compensation for Pedestrian hit by Truck

A student, who was hit on the head by the wing mirror of a council works vehicle, has been awarded €300,000 in compensation for his pedestrian hit by a truck claim at the High Court.

Ciaran Chestnutt (25) of Greystones, County Wicklow, told Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill at the High Court that he did not remember a great deal about the accident because of the injuries he had sustained, but had been told he was standing at pedestrian traffic lights on Paddy Brown’s Road, Waterford, on October 26, 2007 when he was struck by the mirror of a passing truck.

As a result of his accident, Ciaran suffered brain damage which reduced his memory capacity and caused him to lose his senses of taste and smell. He also suffers a permanent black spot in the vision of his right eye and will have a permanent scar on his forehead as a reminder of the accident. Because of his accident, he also lost a year at college where he was studying architectural technology.

Having sought legal advice, Ciaran made a claim for compensation for a pedestrian hit by a truck. However Waterford City Council – which owned the truck – and its employee who had been driving the truck at the time of the accident, Michael Coyne, denied their liability – claiming that Ciaran was the author of his own misfortune by walking into the truck.

After hearing evidence from witnesses representing both parties, Mr Justice Iarflaith O´Neill said he was satisfied the accident was caused by the negligence of the driver for whom the Council was vicariously liable. Awarding Ciaran €300,000 in compensation for a pedestrian hit by a truck, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill said Ciaran´s injuries have had a huge impact on his life, but he had done extremely well coping with his injury and had got his academic career back on track.

201211.13
0

Settlement of Stroke Injury Approved in Court

A man, who was left brain damaged and requiring 24-hour care following an assault by his girlfriend, has had a settlement of 3.84 million Euros approved at the High Court.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns heard how Jason Clarke (now 43) from Glencullen, Dublin, had been attacked by his then girlfriend – Jennifer Mayberry (33) of Foxrock, Dublin – after an argument had started between the two at the Blue Light pub on New Year´s Eve 2000.

The court heard that Ms Mayberry had thrown a bottle at Jason´s head; the impact of which caused a blood vessel to burst in his brain and initiate three strokes in quick succession. Jason lost consciousness in the third stroke – from which he did not recover for three months – and is now confined to a wheelchair, requiring 24-hour care which is currently provided by his family.

Ms Mayberry was arrested after the event and charged with assault – to which she pleaded guilty and was given a suspended jail sentence – and, in 2002, Jason made a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal who awarded him 3.84 million Euros from which to date his family have received just over 1 million Euros in interim compensation payments.

At the High Court, Jason´s father Frank Clarke – through whom the claim for criminal injuries compensation had been made – appealed to Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns to approve the full award and make Jason a ward of court as he believed the settlement was insufficient to provide Jason with the care he needed when his family were no longer able to look after him.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said it was a sensible decision as, if the case was to go before a new tribunal, there would be no guarantee that the award would be so high. The judge approved the settlement of criminal injuries compensation and noted that Jason may require more money to provide for his care in the future.