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.
A woman who suffered a dislocated wrist in a workplace accident has been awarded €25,000 compensation after her claim for a fall from a ladder at work was resolved at the Circuit Civil Court.
In February 2007, Nicola Starmer from Ballynakill Downs in Waterford was working at the Argos store in Great George´s Street, Waterford, when she went into the store´s stockroom to collect goods to deliver to a customer.
As the goods were stacked high on a shelf, Nicola (42) used a ladder in order to reach them. As she was descending the ladder with the goods under her arm, she fell backwards and landed on her right forearm.
Nicola was initially unaware that she had suffered an injury, but during the day a pain in her forearm developed and she attended the Accident & Emergency department of her local hospital where x-rays revealed a dislocated wrist.
Doctors stabilised the wrist injury by inserting pins and Nicola was discharged from hospital with an above-the-elbow plaster cast. Unfortunately Nicola´s injury prevented her from continuing in her temporary position as a front-of-house assistant.
Nicola sought legal advice and, after speaking with a solicitor, made a compensation claim for a fall from a ladder at work. The store denied its liability for Nicola´s injuries and the case went before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.
At the hearing Judge Groake was told by Argos´ legal representatives that Nicola had been trained on how to use a ladder and that the company should not be held responsible for her injuries.
However, Nicola´s solicitor told the judge that the ladder safety training had been conducted by Nicola being shown a DVD – rather than Nicola being given a practical demonstration – and that she had never been trained on safety procedures in the stockroom.
After hearing that Nicola attempted to collect the goods only because the store was short-staffed, the judge found in her favour and awarded her €25,000 in settlement of her claim for a fall from a ladder at work.
Vincent McGuinness, a fireman from Dundalk, County Louth, has settled a High Court compensation claim for a five-meter fall from a ladder while fighting a fire at a derelict house at Culhane Street, Dundalk, in February 2004. Mr McGuinness took the action against his employer Dundalk Town Council and the owner of the building that caught fire.
The case against the building owner was on the basis that he failed to secure the premises adequately and failed to ensure that a fire would not occur there. Mr McGuinness was injured while following a direct orders to climb a ladder that was placed by a superior officer against iron guttering, which later collapsed and moved the ladder. Mr McGuinness landed on his back while his breathing apparatus canister was still attached to his back, causing a vertebra injury. Mr McGuinness spent spent three days in hospital and wore a neck brace for three months. Mr McGuinness was unable to work for five months.
It was claimed that a hydraulic ladder that was available on the fire truck at the incident should have been used. The council argued that it had taken all appropriate measures, there was contributory negligence, and that the fire was started by a third party and therefore the council had no liability in law.
The case was settled before the jury made an award, presumably because the defendants were afraid of what a jury would award to a fireman injured while bravely fighting a fire.