Injury Compensation News

Compensation for long term injuries can be a significant amount, and it is important that any compensation claim for long term injuries is accurately calculated to ensure that the claimant has sufficient funds to support themselves and their family, and be able to afford the medical care to enable their recovery. Compensation for long term injuries also has to take into account lost earning potential and other opportunities – such as leisure activities – that a person with long term injuries will not be able to enjoy. Therefore, if you feel that you are entitled to claim compensation for long term injuries, it is in your best interests to discuss your long term injuries compensation claim with an experienced personal injury solicitor.

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.

Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Brain Injury Compensation, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Doctor Negligence Claims, Hospital Death Settlements, Hospital Negligence Claims, Medical Negligence Claims, State Claims Agency - Comments Off

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.

Posted in Brain Injury Compensation, Children's Injury Claims, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Delayed Diagnosis, Medical Negligence Claims - Comments Off

Judge Awards Compensation for a Pedestrian Hit by Car

A judge at the High Court in Limerick has awarded €177,630 compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car to a man who had a similar accident once before.

On March 5th 2010, Edmund Quinlan (72) of Garryspillane in County Limerick was walking from his home to the local pub for a drink and a game of cards with his friends, when he was hit and knocked down by a car whose driver had failed to see him due to the low sun.

Edmund was taken to hospital with extensive leg fractures and spent ten weeks with his leg placed in balanced suspension. His recovery was especially complicated as he had broken the same leg six years previously and the bone supporting a metal plate that had been inserted was shattered in the accident.

On his discharge from hospital, Edmund sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car. Full liability for Edmund´s injuries was disputed by the driver that hit him, who claimed that Edmund had been drinking prior to the accident and that his intoxicated state contributed to his unsteadiness as he was walking along the road.

With issues over liability, the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for Edmund´s case to be heard in court. However, the day before the hearing was scheduled to get underway at the High Court in Limerick, the allegations of Edmund having been drinking were withdrawn and the case was presented to Mr Justice Paul McDermott for the assessment of damages only.

At the hearing, Judge McDermott heard from Edmund´s surgeon – Dr Thomas Burke – that his patient had made a near-miraculous recovery from his leg injuries, but due to his increasing frailty he now resided in a nursing home. The judge said that Dr Burke should be proud of what he had achieved in his treatment of Edmund, who himself had been very stoical in dealing with the injuries he had sustained.

The judge awarded Edmund €177,630 compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car, which comprised of €115,000 general damages for his injury and suffering, and €62,630 special damages to pay for Edmund´s medical and nursing home costs.

Posted in Car Accidents, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, InjuriesBoard.ie, Pedestrian Accident Claims - Comments Off

Interim Settlement of a Cerebral Palsy Claim Approved

An interim settlement of a cerebral palsy claim against the Kerry General Hospital has been approved in court in favour of a three–year-old girl.

Skye Worthington was born at the Kerry General Hospital on April 22nd 2011 after her mother – Colleen – had been administered with syntocinon to accelerate her labour. Colleen´s contractions thereafter became very strong, but a prolonged deceleration of Skye´s heartbeat went unnoticed and the baby was starved of oxygen in the womb.

Due the brain damage she suffered at her birth, Skye – now three years of age – now suffers from cerebral palsy. She has to be fed through a tube and can only communicate with her eyes. An investigation into the circumstances of her delivery revealed that if Skye had been born fifteen minutes earlier, she would have suffered no injury at all.

Through her mother, Skye made a cerebral palsy claim against the Kerry General Hospital – alleging that, were it not for the negligence of the maternity staff, she would not have suffered a devastating birth injury. The hospital and HSE admitted liability and an interim settlement of the cerebral palsy claim was agreed pending an assessment of Skye´s future needs.

At the High Court, Skye´s patents and Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard a statement read to the court in which the HSE South/South-West Hospital Group and the maternity department of Kerry General Hospital apologised unreservedly for the errors that led to Skye´s birth injuries – an apology which Mr Justice Kevin Cross described as “out of the ordinary and very meaningful”.

The judge then explained to Skye´s parents that he was approving a €2.52 million interim settlement of the cerebral palsy claim and adjourning Skye´s case for three years. This meant that once the assessment of Skye´s needs had been completed, they could either request a lump sum final settlement of the cerebral palsy claim or – subject to legislation being introduced – annual periodic payments.

Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Failure to Diagnose, Hospital Negligence Claims, Medical Negligence Claims, Structured Injury Settlements - Comments Off

Judge Denies Lump Sum Compensation Settlement

A High Court judge has denied a plaintiff a lump sum compensation settlement, saying that it would be catastrophic if he approved it and the money ran out later.

The plaintiff – Connor Corroon from Mallow in County Cork – had made his appeal to the High Court for a lump sum compensation settlement having twice previously received interim payments of compensation for birth injuries due to negligence.

Connor was born at the Cork City General Hospital in 1995 with cerebral palsy after having been deprived of oxygen in the womb. Now 19 years of age, Connor is permanently disabled, confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak.

Through his mother – Judith – Connor successfully made a claim for compensation against the hospital in 2010 and was awarded an interim settlement of €1.6 million. A second interim payment of compensation amounting to €475,000 was made last year while reports were being conducted into Connor´s future requirements.

Prior to this hearing, Judith had asked the court of her son´s behalf to approve a lump sum compensation settlement on the grounds that Connor had undergone more than twenty assessments in preparation for return visits to court, and that she wanted her son to be able to get on with his life and not have to continually undergo assessments.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Bernard Barton denied the application for a lump sum compensation settlement – stating that it would be catastrophic if the court authorised a final payment and the funds ran out. Instead, the judge approved a further interim payment of €1.45 million and adjourned Connor´s claim for another five years.

The judge explained his decision to the family by informing them that he – along with other judges presiding over this type of case – had just received a consultation paper from the Department of Justice relating to legislation for the introduction of structured periodic payments. A proposed Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill was hoped to be passed this year, but could become legislation within the next few months.

Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Hospital Negligence Claims, Structured Injury Settlements - Comments Off

Government Announces New Symphysiotomy Redress Scheme

The government has announced a new symphysiotomy redress scheme to compensate women who underwent symphysiotomy and pubiotomy procedures between the 1940s and 1980s.

Almost a year after the government´s U-turn on extending the Statute of Limitations for women who had undergone symphysiotomies and pubiotomies during childbirth, a new redress scheme has been announced for the estimated 350 survivors of the procedures.

The new symphysiotomy redress scheme consists of a three-tier compensation package which will pay damages to the survivors depending on the level of injury they sustained:

  • Women who can demonstrate that they underwent a symphysiotomy are entitled to recover €50,000.
  • Women who suffered significant disability as the result of a symphysiotomy will be able to claim €100,000
  • Women who underwent a symphysiotomy after giving birth by Caesarean Section are entitled to €150,000

Former High Court Judge Maureen Harding-Clark has been appointed to assess each claim and, to qualify for the new symphysiotomy redress scheme, victims have to apply before Friday 5th December (In exceptional circumstances, Judge Harding can extend the deadline by a further 20 working days).

Once a claim for symphysiotomy compensation is made, the women have twenty days to accept it; however, under the new symphysiotomy scheme, in order to receive the payment, the claimant must give up any High Court action that is in progress.

Currently there are more than 150 claims for symphysiotomy compensation before the High Court and, according to Marie O’Connor – chairwoman of Survivors of Symphysiotomy group – two dates for High Court hearings have already been fixed.

Ms O´Connor is not happy with the new symphysiotomy redress scheme and claims that the short time limit makes it “impossible for women to seek independent advice and to make a considered decision”. She recommends that the victims of symphysiotomy speak with a solicitor, apply for the maximum amount they entitled to under the redress scheme and continue with their legal action.

Mark Kelly – Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties – also expressed his displeasure with the proposals for symphysiotomy compensation. He said that the redress scheme falls short of what is required under Ireland´s human rights obligations.

Following a complaint by the Survivors of Symphysiotomy group to a UN Human Rights Committee earlier this year, Mr Kelly said the committee recommended that the “perpetrators of symphysiotomy” should be brought to justice and the victims should receive “fair and adequate compensation and rehabilitation on an individual basis”.

Mr Kelly alleges that the new symphysiotomy redress scheme fails to meet the criteria of the UN Human Rights Committee on two counts – that it does not address compensation on an individual basis, and that payments made under the redress scheme are made without admission of liability by the state.

Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Hospital Negligence Claims - Comments Off

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.

Posted in Brain Injury Compensation, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Injuries in Public Places - Comments Off

Woman Allowed to Claim for Adverse Reaction to Steroids

A Cork woman has been granted permission to pursue her claim for an adverse reaction to steroids against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer after a High Court hearing.

Lorna Savage (43) from Cobh in County Cork started taking the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 when it was prescribed for her by her GP Dr. Michael Madigan and her consultant Dr. MG Molloy to treat vasculitis – a condition which damages blood vessels and causes a rash.

After using the steroid, Lorna developed a more serious condition – Avascular Necrosis – which results in the interruption of the blood supply causing bone tissue to die and the bone to collapse. By 2001, Lorna had to have both knees and a hip joint replaced. She is now confined to a wheelchair and relies on morphine to manage the continual pain she suffers.

Having sought legal advice, Lorna made a claim for the adverse reaction to the steroids; alleging that its manufacturer – Pfizer – had failed to provide adequate warning in the literature accompanying the tablets that their continued use could cause Avascular Necrosis, and that the company had failed to warn her about drinking alcohol when taking the steroid.

Lorna also made a claim for an adverse reaction to steroids against the estate of Dr Madigan (who died in 1999) and the Southern Health Board – who employed Dr Molloy at the Cork University Hospital – alleging that both doctors were negligent in prescribing the treatment for her, had failed to investigate her symptoms appropriately or suspect that she was developing Avascular Necrosis.

All three defendants denied their liability for Lorna´s adverse reaction and, in a pretrial motion, lawyers representing Pfizer attempted to get Lorna´s claim for an adverse reaction to steroids thrown out on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing her claim.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice George Birmingham dismissed the application to strike out Lorna´s action – finding that the time lapse was excusable because Lorna had undergone multiple surgeries recently and had found it impossible to brief her solicitors. Judge Birmingham also noted that Avascular Necrosis is a well-established but rare side effect of Deltacortril and he said the case would be listed for a full court hearing later in the year.

Posted in Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Doctor Negligence Claims, Hospital Negligence Claims, Product Liability Claims - Comments Off

Interim Obstetrician Negligence Compensation Payment Approved

A High Court judge has approved a further interim payment of obstetrician negligence compensation in favour of an eight-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Luke Miggin of Athboy, County Meath, suffered brain damage prior his birth on 26th February 2006 at Mullingar General Hospital due to consultant obstetrician Michael Gannon failing to act on decelerations of the child´s heart rate recorded on CTG traces taken throughout the day.

Luke has cerebral palsy due to the obstetrician´s negligence, is confined to a wheelchair and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

Liability for Luke´s birth injuries was admitted by Mr Gannon and the Health Service Executive in 2010 and, in January 2011, an interim settlement of obstetrician negligence compensation was approved by Mr Justice John Quirke, pending the introduction of legislation to allow for a structure settlement to be put in place.

However, with no such legislation yet available, Luke´s mother – Emily – had to return to court to have a further interim payment of obstetrician negligence compensation approved; where she was commended for her patience by Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who apologised for successive Ministers of Justice failing to deliver on their promises of periodic payments.

The judge approved a second interim obstetrician negligence compensation payment of €580,000 to add to the €1.35 million interim payment Luke received in 2011. The payment is in respect of Luke´s care for the next three years, after which time Emily Miggin will have to return to court once again for a further interim payment of compensation or to have the terms of a structured settlement approved.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine expressed her frustration at not being able to approve a final settlement of obstetrician negligence compensation, and commented that the ongoing litigation prevents families such as the Miggins from getting on with their lives.

Posted in Birth Injury Claims, Children's Injury Claims, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Doctor Negligence Claims, Medical Negligence Claims, Structured Injury Settlements - Comments Off

Meningitis Medical Negligence Claim Resolved at Court

A County Wicklow teenager´s meningitis medical negligence claim for compensation has been resolved after a High Court hearing at which her settlement of compensation was approved.

Laura Kavanagh (18) from Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow had fallen ill on 29 January 1998 at the age of thirteen months with a high temperature and severe fatigue. Her mother – Simone – had telephoned the surgery of Dr Frank Malone and Dr Paul Crean in Greystones in County Wicklow to communicate her daughter´s condition and had been told to keep an eye out for a rash.

Several hours later, Laura´s condition had deteriorated and Simone Kavanagh rang the surgery again – on this occasion speaking with Dr Crean, who said he would make a house call after surgery due to Simone not having transport available.

Three and a half hours later, Dr Crean arrived at the Kavanagh´s home and diagnosed a bowel infection. He left two suppositories and told Simone to call him back in the morning if Laura´s condition had not improved. The following day, Simone called the surgery requesting a home visit, but later cancelled the call as Laura seemed to be looking better.

However, the next morning Laura once again was very ill, and Simone was able to get an on-call doctor to visit straight away. He immediately admitted Laura to hospital, where she was diagnosed with severe meningitis.

As a result of the illness, Laura lost her hearing, and through her mother she made a meningitis medical negligence claim for compensation against Drs Malone and Crean, alleging that Dr Crean had failed to diagnose meningitis and that there had been a failure to attend Laura in good time, ensure proper care or any continuity of care.

The two doctors denied Laura´s meningitis medical negligence claim, however agreed a €5 million settlement of meningitis medical negligence compensation without admission of liability.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that if Laura had been admitted to hospital when Dr Crean misdiagnosed her condition as a bowel infection, it was likely that Laura would not have lost her hearing.

The judge was also told that after Laura lost her hearing, she learned to communicate through sign language and lip reading – but has a moderate intellectual disability. Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of Laura´s meningitis medical negligence claim, saying that it would never give Laura the life she was meant to have.

Posted in Children's Injury Claims, Compensation for Long Term Injuries, Delayed Diagnosis, Doctor Negligence Claims, Failure to Diagnose, Medical Negligence Claims - Comments Off