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.

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.

201611.02
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.

201610.28
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

201603.17
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.

201602.13
0

Social Care Worker Injury Claim Resolved during Court Hearing

A social care worker injury claim, made by a man who broke his knee while running after a child in his care, has been resolved during a court hearing.

In June 2009, Joseph Kavanagh (54) from Enfield in County Meath was working in a Special Care Residential Unit for young people with behavioural problems when he was asked to accompany a teenager on a family visit. At the end of the visit, the teenager – who cannot be named for legal reasons – became agitated and ran away from his carer.

Joseph gave pursuit, but he twisted his knee as he ran after the child. Joseph fell and cracked his knee on the road surface – a later x-ray revealing that the knee was broken. Since the incident, Joseph has experienced ongoing pain from his injury that interferes with his daily activities and has a four centimetre scar from his fall.

After seeking legal advice, Joseph made a social care worker injury claim against his employer – the Health Service Executive (HSE). In his legal action, Joseph alleged that there had been a failure to carry out a risk assessment following earlier agitation prior to the visit. Joseph argued that a risk assessment would have shown that another member of staff should have accompanied him and the child.

The HSE denied liability for Joseph´s injury, and the social care worker injury claim went to the Circuit Civil Court where Joseph´s case was presented to Judge Francis Comerford. However, before the HSE could present its defence against the social care worker injury claim, the judge was told that a settlement had been agreed and the claim had been resolved.

Details of the settlement were not released to the court, but it is understood that liability for Joseph´s injury was shared on a 50/50 basis. Judge Comerford struck out the case after awarding Joseph his legal costs.

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.

201511.13
1

Judge Awards Compensation for a Slip on a Potato Wedge in Dunnes

A judge has awarded an injured shopper €22,900 compensation for a slip on a potato wedge in Dunnes following a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

In November 2011, sixty-year old housewife Anna Manning from Clondalkin in Dublin was entering the fish section of her local Dunnes Stores, when she slipped on a potato wedge that had been left on the floor following an earlier spill and fell onto the shop floor.

Anna landed on her hands and knees, but the following day attended her GP for treatment to pains that had developed in her back and neck. Anna also sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a slip on a potato wedge in Dunnes.

Dunnes Stores refused its consent for Anna´s claim to be assessed by the Injuries Board and she was issued with an Authorisation to pursue her claim in court. The claim for compensation for a slip on a potato wedge in Dunnes was recently heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing Judge Groarke was told that Anna´s slip and fall had aggravated an existing condition, and that she had also sustained a wrist injury that was having a negative effect on her quality of life. Dunnes Stores contested Anna´s claim, and argued that she had contributed to her injuries by her own lack of care.

Judge Groarke dismissed Dunne´s argument of contributory negligence and found in Anna´s favour. The judge commented that Anna was a “very poor candidate” to fabricate her story considering her previous medical history and he considered Dunnes Stores to have been negligent for failing to thoroughly clean up the previous spill.

Judge Groarke awarded Anna €22,900 compensation for a slip on a potato wedge in Dunnes, adding on the balance of probabilities that the potato wedge on which Anna had slipped had likely been a “brother or sister” of the wedges that had been spilled earlier in the day.

201510.14
0

Settlement of Electrocution Accident Compensation Approved in Court

A settlement of electrocution accident compensation has been approved in the High Court in favour of a boy who was severely burned while playing.

On July 3rd 2008, Kurt O´Callaghan from Wexford was playing in woodland near his home and making a camp with his friends, when he decided to put a “Keep Out” sign on an electricity pole. As Kurt nailed his sign into the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) pole, the nail went into an electricity cable and the force of the subsequent electric shock knocked him off the wall he had used to gain access to the pole.

A passing motorist rushed Kurt – who was just ten years old at the time – to a local hospital, from where he was transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin. Kurt spent the next three months undergoing multiple operations to treat burnt areas on his head, neck, shoulders, chest, and hands. Kurt may need further surgery or skin grafts in the future.

Through his mother – Denise – Kurt made a claim for electrocution accident compensation against the ESB, alleging that he had been exposed to a danger of electrocution which the ESB knew existed or should have known existed. It was further alleged that there had been a failure by the ESB to carry out an inspection of the wall Kurt used to access the electricity pole so as to detect the dangerous nature of the wall´s proximity to the electricity cables.

The electrocution accident compensation claim was supported by expert evidence that was critical of the ESB for not identifying the risk of danger. The expert´s report said that there was a statutory requirement to ensure that electricity poles were inaccessible to a height of three metres, and the ESB should have spotted that the pole was accessible if the wall was used to access it.

The ESB denied that it was responsible for Kurt´s injuries, and the electrocution accident compensation claim was scheduled for a full court hearing. However, before the hearing could take place, a negotiated settlement of the claim was agreed for €700,000. Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said that it was a good one in the circumstances, as Kurt may have been accused of contributory negligence if his claim for electrocution accident compensation had gone to a full hearing.

201508.03
0

Settlement of Claim for an Injury Caused by Eating Restaurant Food Halved by Judge

The settlement of a claim for an injury caused by eating restaurant food has been halved by a judge who said the plaintiff contributed to his injury.

Shane McQuillan (32) from Swords in County Dublin made his claim for an injury caused by eating restaurant food after fracturing an upper right back molar while eating a sausage and bacon sandwich at the Gate Clock Bar at Dublin Airport on 23rd March 2013.

In his claim Shane alleged that his injury was due to biting on a tough rind on a rasher of bacon that had been left on display “for a number of hours”. The owners of the bar denied liability for his fractured tooth, and the Injuries Board issued Shane with an authorisation to pursue his claim in court.

At the hearing at Swords District Court, Judge Patricia McNamara was told that the bacon in Shane´s sandwich was served from a steel tray over a pan of hot water from behind a glass display. It was claimed by the bar manager that the food is changed every ninety minutes – although she could not produce records to substantiate her claim.

The bar´s solicitor argued that, if Shane believed that the bacon was stale, he should not have put it in his sandwich – and therefore that Shane was responsible for his own injury, if the bacon rind was stale at all.

After hearing that Shane still suffers occasional pain from the injury and cannot drink cold drinks, Judge McNamara found in Shane´s favour – initially awarding him €6,500 in general damages for his pain and suffering, and €2,500 in special damages.

However, the judge said that she was only finding in his favour because the bar could not provide records to show that the food was changed regularly and that Shane “should have been careful of a crispy rasher rind”. Judge McNamara then said that she was assigning Shane 50 percent for the contribution he made to his injury – reducing the value of his claim for an injury caused by eating restaurant food by half to €4,500.

201506.08
1

Hit and Run Injury Claim Settled with Split Liability

A hit and run injury claim has been settled during a break in proceedings on the first day of a hearing after an agreement was reached on the division of liability.

Anthony Driver (25) from Enniskerry in County Wicklow made his hit and run injury claim after being run over by an unidentified car at the junction of Sidmonton Avenue and Meath Road in Bray on 2nd November 2012.

Anthony – who was on his way to meet a friend to get a lift home – remembers that the unidentified car pulled over after hitting him, but then drove off again without calling for help or offering assistance.

It was only when Anthony was found lying injured in the street by a Garda that he was taken to hospital where he was treated for a fractured spine, fractured ribs, a lacerated liver and various internal injuries.

Anthony remained in hospital for none days – four of them in intensive care. After his discharge from hospital he experienced difficulty eating for some time and he still suffers from pains in his back.

As the driver of the car that struck Anthony could not be traced, Anthony´s hit and run injury claim was made against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) – the body that are responsible for paying injury compensation when the owner of a vehicle cannot be traced or is uninsured.

The MIBI disputed liability for Anthony´s hit and run injury claim as the Garda who found Anthony had described him as “grossly intoxicated”, and the insurers´ bureau said that Anthony was likely responsible for his injuries due to his own lack of care.

As liability for Anthony´s hit and run injury claim was disputed, the Injuries Board issued Anthony with an authorisation to allow the option of court action. The case went to the High Court last week where it was heard by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns.

At the hearing, Anthony admitted to Judge Kearns that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The MIBI repeated their argument that, because of his condition, Anthony should accept some level of liability for his injuries.

Discussions regarding a negotiated settlement started as the court was adjourned for lunch. On Judge Kearns´ return, he was informed that Anthony had agreed to an undisclosed settlement of his hit and run injury claim after accepting 75% contributory negligence.

201505.19
0

Claim for a Fall in a Farmyard Barn Resolved at Court

A claim for a fall in a farmyard barn, in which the plaintiff lost his senses of smell and taste, has been resolved at the High Court with the approval of a €300,000 compensation settlement.

On 11th August 2008, Con Oxley – a self-employed electrician from Cullahill in County Laois – was rolling out electric cable in preparation of implementing a lighting installation in a farmyard barn in nearby Ballacolla.

As he stepped onto a plank suspended between two boxes to move from the first installation to the second, the plank snapped beneath him and he fell eight feet (2.5 metres) to the floor.

Con hit his head on the floor of the farmyard barn as he landed and suffered brain damage as a result. He now has no sense of smell or taste and is partially blind in his left eye.

After speaking with a solicitor, Con made a compensation claim for a fall in a farmyard barn against the owner of the farm – Mark Quigley – alleging that the planks he had been provided with were unsuitable for supporting his weight.

In addition to claiming that Quigley was negligent for providing materials unsuitable for the job, Con also claimed that Quigley had failed to ensure his safety by neglecting to put intermediary supports beneath the planks or any mechanism to arrest a fall.

Quigley denied his liability for Con´s injuries, and Con was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue his compensation claim for a fall in a farmyard barn through the court system.

However, before a hearing was scheduled, an agreement was made to divide liability on a 50/50 basis – with Con agreeing to a €300,000 settlement of compensation in return for Quigley not having to admit liability.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement of Con´s compensation claim for a fall in a farmyard barn – saying that the settlement was a good one in the circumstances.

The judge said that Con´s contributory negligence for failing to inspect the plank before stepping onto it would have counted against him had the claim for a fall in a farmyard barn gone to a full court hearing.

201505.13
0

Judge Awards Compensation for a Health Club Accident

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded a plaintiff €30,000 compensation for a health club accident after dismissing claims that the plaintiff contributed to the accident by her own lack of care.

Thirty year old Timea Babos – a supervisor at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin – was visiting the West Wood Club on a free guest pass when, on 13th November 2011, she decided to go for a swim after coming out of the health club´s sauna.

Only intending to swim a few lengths, Timea dived head-first into the swimming pool. However, the depth of the water in the pool was only 1 metre 35 centimetres (around four feet) and Timea hit her face on the bottom of the pool – breaking her two upper front teeth.

With nobody around the pool area to help her – Timea made her way to the club´s reception area still bleeding from the mouth to report her accident and complete an accident report form. Timea then went straight to her doctor´s surgery, where she was treated for her injuries and prescribed painkillers.

Two weeks after the accident at the health club, Timea flew to Hungary to have crowns fitted to her front teeth and, on her return, she sought legal advice before claiming compensation for a health club accident.

In her claim, Timea alleged that the health club was liable for her injuries as there were no signs warning of the shallow depth of the pool or a lifeguard on duty to prevent her from diving in. However, the West Wood Health Club denied its liability, and contested the claim on the basis that Timea had been negligent by diving into a swimming pool without first checking the depth of the water.

With liability contested, the Injuries Board issued Timea with an authorisation to pursue her claim for compensation for a health club accident through the courts; and the case was heard this week at the Circuit Civil Court before Judge Jacqueline Linnane.

Judge Linnane heard evidence from a forensic engineer supporting Timea´s claim that there were inadequate warnings around the perimeter of the swimming pool to indicate guests that it was unsafe to dive into the pool. He also told the judge that the swimming pool was unusual in design as it had a constant depth throughout with no deep end.

The judge dismissed the allegations by the West Wood Club that Timea had contributed to her injuries through her own lack of care, and awarded Timea €30,000 compensation for a health club accident.

201505.01
2

Dublin Airport Injury Claim Heard at Court

A pensioner´s Dublin Airport injury claim has been resolved at the High Court after the judge assigned the plaintiff 33% contributory negligence and reduced the settlement of her claim to €40,000.

On 2nd November 2011, Elizabeth Lavin (69) from Kilcullen in County Kildare arrived at Dublin Airport intending to fly to Manchester. As she was travelling up the escalator towards Terminal 2, the escalator juddered, causing Elizabeth to fall forward and hit her head on the moving stairway.

Elizabeth was taken to the Beaumont Hospital, where she received treatment for a head injury and minor lacerations. She subsequently has had to undergo orthopaedic treatment for pain in her head, arm, hip and knee – during which time she found it difficult to do household activities.

After seeking legal advice, Elizabeth made a Dublin Airport injury claim, alleging that Dublin Airport Authority PLC had failed to take reasonable care of her safety. Elizabeth also alleged negligence on the part of the Authority for designing the airport in such a way that the escalator was the only apparent practical means of access to the next floor for passengers with luggage.

Dublin Airport denied liability for Elizabeth´s injuries. They argued that Elizabeth had failed to hold onto the handrail of the escalator and had contributed to the extent of her injuries by placing her hand luggage in front of her, instead of behind her, as the escalator ascended. Furthermore, the airport claimed, Elizabeth had the option of using the lift.

When the Dublin Airport injury claim was heard at the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Hanna was told that Elizabeth was unaware that the option of a lift was available because there were no signs erected at the time directing passengers to the lift. The judge heard that these were not erected until 2013. Judge Hanna was also shown CCTV footage of Elizabeth´s fall.

After viewing the CCTV footage, Judge Hanna said that Elizabeth could not be considered to have contributed to her injuries for failing to hold onto the handrail or for placing her luggage in front of her, but she could have asked for directions to the lift from an airport assistant. He assigned her 33% contributory negligence and reduced the settlement of her Dublin Airport injury claim from €60,000 to €40,000.

201406.26
0

Woman Awarded Injury Compensation for Nightclub Accident

A woman has been awarded injury compensation for a nightclub accident at the Abberley Court Hotel in Dublin, but only after a judge ruled she must take 20% responsibility for her injury.

Sixty-four year old Rita Walsh from Tallaght in Dublin made her claim for nightclub accident compensation after tripping over a poorly-lit step as she made her way to the bathroom of the Level 4 Nightclub at the Abberley Court Hotel just as it was closing at 2:00am on the morning of April 4th 2010.

Rita injured her shoulder when she fell and, after seeking legal advice made a claim for injury compensation for a nightclub accident – alleging in her action against the Abberley Court Hotel that the management of the nightclub turned out all the lights as soon as the DJ stopped playing music, and that the step was impossible to see in the “pitch black”.

The Abberley Court Hotel denied its liability for Rita´s shoulder injury, and said that the lights had all been turned on as patrons left that evening. However, a forensic engineer giving evidence at court testified that the overall lighting was inadequate to clearly identify the step in question during normal club use, and that a recessed light in the step only made the step visible in the direction away from which Rita was approaching.

Judge Alan Mahon ruled that on the basis of the forensic engineer´s evidence, Rita was entitled to injury compensation for the nightclub accident; however he commented that he neither agreed with Rita´s allegations that the nightclub was “pitch black” nor that the management of the Abberley Court Hotel turned all the lights on as patrons left the club – saying it was most likely that management had only illuminated the nightclub after Rita´s accident.

The judge also told Rita that she must take some of the responsibility for her trip and fall injury, as she had admitted to drinking alcohol with her daughters prior to the accident. He assigned her 20% contributory negligence and reduced her injury compensation for a nightclub accident from €22,000 to €17,600.

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.

201307.08
0

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.

201304.29
0

Student Awarded Compensation for Hot Curry Burns

A Dublin student has been awarded €9,464 in compensation for hot curry burns after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

John Patrick Starrs (32) of Tallaght, Dublin, brought his claim for hot curry burns compensation after scalding his hand on sauce provided with a takeaway meal purchased from the Kings Garden Chinese restaurant on Main Street, Tallaght in June 2010.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, heard in court that Mr Starrs had purchased the meal to be shared between himself and some friends and, as he was being dropped off at his home, Mr Starrs placed his hand inside the brown paper bag to retrieve his share of the meal.

However, the hot curry sauce provided with the meal had leaked from the polystyrene cup it had been packaged in, and the heat from the sauce gave Mr Starrs a severe burn to the back of his hand. Judge Groake was told that, despite running cold water over the burn, the back of Mr Starrs´ hand had turned red and he had experienced difficulty sleeping that night.

The following day Mr Starrs visited his GP, who applied a cream and referred him to Tallaght Hospital. At the hospital, the plaintiff had dressings applied to the blisters which had developed on his hand and was given a course of antibiotics to prevent an infection from developing. Mr Starrs told the court that he attended the hospital´s wound management department on several further occasions and still experiences discolouration of the skin and pain in cold weather.

After seeking legal advice, Mr Starrs made a compensation claim for burns from hot curry sauce on the grounds that the Kings Garden restaurant had been negligent by providing him with a defective cup on which the lid had become loose. The restaurant denied their liability, but in court Judge Groarke found in the plaintiffs favour – initially awarding him €12,000 in compensation for hot curry burns, but reducing it by almost a quarter to €9,464 to account for Mr Starrs´ contributory negligence of not looking into the bag before placing his hand in it.

201303.14
0

Hotel Worker Finger Injury Claim Settled in Court

A cleaner at the Rivercourt Hotel in Kilkenny, who lost part of her little finger when it was severed by a door slamming shut on it, has resolved her hotel worker finger injury claim in the High Court.

Aneta Antoszcsyk (35) from Kilkenny made her claim for hotel worker finger injury compensation after losing the tip of her little finger on her left hand in a freak accident.

While Aneta was removing a wooden door-stopper which was keeping a door open in the hotel, the door shut with such force that it severed the top of her finger.

Unfortunately it was not possible to reattach the severed tip of the finger and Aneta – who was seven months pregnant at the time of the accident in April 2011 – will be left with a permanent disfigurement.

After seeking professional legal advice, Aneta made a claim for hotel worker finger injury against Gatehalf Limited (trading as Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel) claiming that, as her employers, the company had failed to provide her with a safe environment or safe system of work and had exposed her to the risk of injury.

It was alleged in the hotel worker finger injury claim that Aneta had never been trained on the safe removal of door stops and that – as she was seven months pregnant – she should have had the assistance of a co-worker to deal with the removal of the door-stoppers.

The Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel denied their liability for Aneta´s injury – claiming that she had contributed in whole or in part to her injury by placing her hand in a dangerous location while removing the door-stopper and displayed a lack of care for her own safety on this occasion based on her previous experience of carrying out the same task.

However, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith Ó Neill found in Aneta´s favour – stating that she had “sustained a most unfortunate injury” due to the negligence of her employers – and awarded her €50,000 in settlement of her hotel worker finger injury claim.

201301.16
0

Claim for Holiday Swimming Pool Injury Settled Out of Court

A young man, who suffered serious injuries when diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool while on a family vacation in Spain, has settled his claim for holiday swimming pool injury compensation out of court.

Robert O’Byrne (25) from Dublin was left quadriplegic and confined to a wheelchair following his accident in the Spanish resort of Torremolinos in 2005. Robert, who was aged just seventeen years at the time, dived into the shallow end of a hotel pool at night after having consumed alcohol during the day.

In June 2008, Robert initiated a claim for holiday swimming pool injury against Michael Stein Travel Ltd of Dublin – the travel agent through who the holiday had been booked – alleging negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract.

Michael Stein Travel contested the claim, and sought leave to issue a third party notice against Robert´s parents – alleging that they were in breach of their duty of care by allowing their son to drink alcohol contrary to the laws of Ireland and Spain, and by failing to supervise Robert´s actions which led to him diving into the shallow end of the swimming pool and sustaining his terrible injuries.

Robert´s parents argued that, at the age of seventeen, their son was old enough not to be under the continuous supervision of his parents and it was unreasonable to expect otherwise. They also produced evidence to show that alcohol was “sold indiscriminately” to young people by the bars within the hotel complex.

In December 2012, the Supreme Court dismissed Michael Stein Travel´s application to have Robert´s parents added to the case as defendants, and the claim for holiday swimming pool injury compensation was scheduled to be heard in the High Court.

However, when the case was called to be heard before Mr Justice Sean Ryan, the judge was told that the claim had been settled “on specific terms”. Details of the out of court settlement of compensation for a holiday swimming pool injury are to remain confidential.

201301.15
1

Cyclist Hit by Car Compensation Reduced due to Negligence

A man, who suffered kidney damage after being injured in a hit and run accident, has seen his settlement of cyclist hit by car compensation reduced to reflect his own lack of care.

Christopher O´Brien (33) of Ballymun, County Dublin, had been cycling home from a St Patrick´s Day party in March 2011 on a bicycle borrowed from a neighbour, when he lost control of the vehicle and fell onto the road.

As he was trying to remount the bicycle, Christopher was hit by a passing motorist who failed to stop at the scene. Christopher was taken to the Mater Hospital, where blood was found in his urine due to kidney damage resulting from the impact with the car. Christopher was hospitalised for five days due to his injuries.

CCTV footage was unhelpful in tracing the hit and run driver and, after seeking professional legal advice, Christopher made a claim for cyclist hit by car compensation against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).

Christopher admitted that he had been celebrating “enthusiastically” at the party and therefore the compensation claim for a cyclist hit by a car was heard in the Circuit Civil Court to assess the percentage contribution to his injuries Christopher himself was liable for.

At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Matthew Deery accepted that the seriousness of the kidney injury would have been caused by more than a fall from a bike. However, the judge added that “Mr O’Brien, in electing to cycle home at that time of the morning and having consumed so much alcohol had put himself in the way of injury “.

Judge Deery awarded Christopher €20,336 cyclist hit by car compensation but said, because of the situation he had put himself in at the time, he would deduct 30 per cent for contributory negligence – reducing the settlement of compensation to €14,235.

201301.03
0

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.

201202.23
0

Injury Compensation Claim against MIBI Approved in Court

A man, who suffered a severe brain trauma and now requires permanent care after being thrown from a car driven by an uninsured driver, has had his injury compensation claim against MIBI approved in court.

The man – who is a ward of court and cannot be named for legal reasons – was just 19 years of age when, in March 2008, he was a back seat passenger in a car which went out of control, left the road and ran into a tree. The victim, who was thrown from the car as it left the road, suffered a severe brain trauma which has left him requiring permanent nursing care and only able to communicate by means of thumb up or thumb down.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court heard that the driver of the car had been uninsured, and that an injury compensation claim against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) had been made. She also heard that an agreement had been reached between the man´s legal representatives and MIBI to award 4.25 million Euros to the victim – an amount which had been reduced by 20 per cent to account for the man´s contributory negligence of failing to wear a seatbelt.

The judge approved the settlement of the unnamed man´s injury compensation claim against MIBI, stating that it was an excellent settlement which would provide the car he required for the rest of his life. She also ordered that the foster mother who had been caring for the victim since his accident should receive an immediate lump sum payment of 544,800 Euros to cover the expenses and hospital bills she had already incurred.

201202.08
0

Compensation Claim Settled for Low Hanging Poster Injury

A woman who walked into a Dublin advertising poster, and sustained head and neck injuries, has settled her compensation claim for low hanging poster injury for 38,000 Euros.

Sandra Memery (48)  was leaving her local MacDonald´s restaurant with her daughter on 16th September 2009 when the accident occurred. Having turned back towards her daughter to give her a bag, she started walking forward again, and immediately hit her head on the corner of the low hanging poster campaigning on behalf of Fianna Fail for a “Yes” vote in the second Lisbon Treaty referendum.

After feeling unwell for a day, Sandra visited her doctor, where she was diagnosed with lacerations to her scalp, a swelling over her right temporal and soft tissue damage to her neck. Sandra, who is 5 ft 5 in tall (1.65m) made a compensation claim for low hanging poster injury, stating that the campaign poster should have a minimum of three metres clearance from the floor.

Contesting the claim, Fianna Fail and Executive Posters Ltd jointly claimed that Sandra was responsible for her own injuries through contributory negligence and should have paid more attention to where she was walking. However, shortly before Sandra´s case was about to be heard at Dublin´s Circuit Civil Court, her legal representatives announced to the court that a compensation settlement had been agreed upon in the amount of 38,000 Euros.

201007.04
0

Medical Professor Slates HSE for Stalinism

Professor John Crown, a consultant oncologist, writing recently in The Irish Independent, said that the HSE and Department of Health and Children together “comprise one of the least ethical organisations that I have ever dealt with”. Professor Crown goes on to describe the HSE as “secretive, self-serving, dishonest, incompetent and unintelligent.”  He concludes, with an interesting historical comparison, that the “corruption and incompetence” of the HSE is effectively a form of Stalinism.
These comments are interesting from the point of view of anyone trying to make a medical negligence claim or hospital negligence claim related to one of the HSE’s services.  The management problems that increase the likelihood of negligence are compounded by the way the HSE deals with its own negligence.  It’s really no surprise that the Injuries Board Ireland refuses to deal with cases against the HSE.

201006.20
0

Deaths of Children in State Care Raises Legal Negligence Questions

There have been many stories over the past few weeks in Irish newspapers about the deaths of children in state care.

The stories have been confusing, not least by the fact that factual information was simply not available when the story broke.  The Sunday Business Post was the first newspaper to focus on the story and produced estimates of as high as 200 deaths over the past 10 years. These numbers are based on extrapolating recent confirmed figures.  After multiple efforts to produce accurate information, the government finally released a figure of 188 deaths.

Opposition politicians have repeatedly used the word ‘negligence’ and Eamon Gilmore has blamed the “dysfunctionality in the HSE”.  The current budget for child and family services is €536 million, which is clearly a huge sum of money and points to management problems rather than lack of resources.  Indeed, the government has announced a new senior position within the HSE to help prioritise spending.

Did the authorities, especially the HSE,  have a duty of care for children that are placed in their care?

Clearly the answer is yes.

Is the HSE responsible for all of these deaths?

Certainly not.  Many of the teenagers were clearly troubled and short of placing them in prison, there was very little the state could do to prevent them from leaving their state-provided homes.

Is the HSE responsible for some of these deaths?

The Minister for Health Mary Harney clearly blames the HSE. The minister has recently written to the Board of the HSE to point out that the HSE is in breach of numerous statutory duties in relation to foster care services.  A copy of this letter would be very useful evidence in an case brought against the HSE.  At the very least, there’s probably a lot of cases where the HSE is guilty of contributory negligence.

The report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, known as the Ryan report, has already identified all the key measures required to reduce or prevent child abuse and neglect. The measured outlined by Justice Seán Ryan include providing a uniform approach to dealing with child protection; greater emphasis on preventive measures and family support; and ensuring all children in care are assigned a social worker and personalised care plan.

Do you or a family member have a negligence claim against the HSE?

Every single case will be different. The only way to determine if you have a case is to talk to a solicitor.