201707.20
0

Making a Claim for a Hearing Loss at Work

To ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of compensation when you make a claim for a hearing loss at work, discuss your case with an injury solicitor.

When you make a claim for a hearing loss at work, there is a risk you will be undercompensated. Unlike most other physical injury compensation claims, it can be difficult to communicate to the Injuries Board the impact your injury has had on your quality of life and your emotional wellbeing.

If you do not tell the Injuries Board you are no longer able to listen to music or pursue hobbies in which hearing plays an important role, the assumption will not be made these factors affect you. Instead, the Injuries Board will assess your claim for a hearing loss at work solely on the information provided by your doctor.

Inasmuch as a work induced hearing loss is a substantial injury, the compensation for the injury alone is not going to be adequate to account for your loss of amenity and the deterioration in your quality of life. For example, you will likely not enjoy socialising so much, going to the cinema or even watching TV. These factors should be accounted for.

To ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of compensation when you make a claim for a hearing loss at work, it is recommended that you discuss you case and the consequences of your injury with an injury solicitor – or have somebody speak with an injury solicitor on your behalf if your hearing loss is total.

Before submitting your application for assessment, your injury solicitor will ask you to maintain a diary and record every time your hearing loss was a negative factor in your life. You will be surprised how often you are making new entries. The solicitor will then use this information to fully communicate to the Injuries Board the factors that should be considered in your claim for a hearing loss at work.

201705.09
0

Unprotected Chemical Exposure Claims against the Defence Forces

New unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces, made by a former Baldonnel-based air corps mechanic, have been published in the Journal.

Working conditions at the Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, County Dublin, have been the subject of investigation since unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces were made in 2015 and 2016 by former air corps personnel, and as a result of a HSA inspection in October last year.

The current investigation is looking into claims that servicemen were exposed to high levels of dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks. The new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces are potentially more serious.

According to the Journal, a “whistle-blower” has alleged air corps servicemen were not protected against exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals at Baldonnel, and as a result at least twenty former servicemen have died due to neurological and cancer-related illnesses.

The former air corps mechanic also believes that the partners of personnel based at the aerodrome have suffered fertility issues, and that their children have been born with birth defects or development issues. Five children have allegedly died due to their parents´ exposure to toxic chemicals and, the “whistle-blower” claims, many more are living with life-changing illnesses.

The Journal reports the representative association for air corps personnel – PDFORRA – has been attempting to get attitudes towards health and safety changed for many years. The association´s general secretary Gerry Rooney told the Journal: “There’s a tendency in military organisations to focus on carrying out the operation at all costs. It´s fairly clear there was a problem with chemicals and their use.”

Attempts to get comments from the Defence Forces and Department of Defence about the new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces were unsuccessful, but Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh was heavily critical of junior Justice Minister Paul Kehoe. He told the Journal that previous chemical exposure claims had fallen on deaf ears, despite Minister Kehoe stating the health and wellbeing of members of the Defence Forces are a priority for him.

201701.30
0

Man Awarded Compensation for Slipping on a Path at Work

A former sewerage plant employee has been awarded compensation for slipping on a path at work after a judge found him 40% responsible for his accident.

On 3rd February 2010, the former sewerage plant employee was working as a maintenance engineer at the plant in Templemore, County Tipperary, when he slipped and fell on sewerage that had overflowed from the flumes surrounding the inlet channels.

As a result of his slip and fall accident, the employee sustained a back injury that prevented him from returning to his job. He applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his claim but his employers – Templemore Town Council – refused to give its consent for the assessment to be conducted.

The Injuries Board issued the former employee with an authorisation to pursue his claim for compensation for slipping on a path at work in court. The hearing to determine liability took place last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam.

At the hearing, Judge Fullam was told that the employee worked alone at the now decommissioned plant, and his duties included cleaning the flumes and ensuring that the paths were free from hazards. It was argued that, by failing to fulfil his duties, the employee had contributed to the accident by his own lack of care.

Judge Fullam agreed that the employee should take some responsibility for his accident, and if he had needed additional tools to fulfil his duties, he should have asked for them. However the judge also accepted the employee´s evidence that there was an issue with the pumps at the time of the accident, and that he did not have the time to clean the paths.

The judge acknowledged that flumes surrounding the inlet channels were in a bad state on the day of the accident, but said that the employee had to take some responsibility for his accident and subsequent injury. He awarded the employee €79,000 compensation for slipping on a path at work, but reduced the award by 40% to €47,400 to account for his contributory negligence.

201701.23
0

Woman Settles Injury Claim for a Trip and Fall in a Creche

A childcare worker has settled her injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche, during a hearing to determine liability at the Circuit Civil Court.

The 26-year-old woman worked at the Precious Minds childcare facility in Dublin when, in January 2015, she was asked to assist a superior with nappy changing duties in the babies room. Although she was looking after several one and two years at the time, the woman agreed – taking with several of the children in her care who were not sleeping.

The superior member of staff subsequently left the babies room to attend to other matters – leaving the woman to look after nine children. While she was attending to one of the children, she tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor and landed awkwardly on her back – sustaining soft tissue injuries to her lower back and upper leg.

Despite seeking prompt medical attention from her GP, the woman continues to suffer back pain as a result of her injury. Conscious that she may have to look for other work due to her injury, she made an injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche. Precious Minds denied their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment, and she was issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

The hearing took place before Judge Brian O´Callaghan last week at the Circuit Civil Court. The woman´s counsel claimed that Precious Minds had failed to have regard for the woman´s safety by asking her to look after so many children at the same time, and the allegations were supported by evidence from a forensic engineer, who testified that adult/child ratio was too high.

In its defence, the creche claimed it was among the woman´s duties to keep the floor clear from hazards and, by failing to do so, she was the author of her own misfortune. A short adjournment followed, after which Judge O´Callaghan was told that the injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche had been settled for an undisclosed amount without an admission of liability.

201611.07
1

Former Dunnes Employee Awarded Compensation for a Head Injury at Work

A former Dunnes Stores employee has been awarded €15,000 compensation for a head injury at work after a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

The former employee was nineteen years of age when, in March 2012, she was asked to go into the storeroom of the Dunnes Store in Tallaght Dublin to fetch a trolley loaded with bread. As she starting pushing the two-metre high trolley towards the store floor, the tray on the top shelf fell out and hit the woman on her head.

The woman was knocked to the floor by the impact of the tray and was given first aid by a colleague. She then went to the emergency department of Tallaght Hospital, where no serious injury was detected but she was admitted overnight as a precaution. The woman alleges she still suffers headaches and neck pain as a result of the accident.

The woman claimed compensation for a head injury at work against Dunnes Stores, who accepted liability for her injury but contested how much compensation for a head injury at work she was claiming. A hearing of the personal injury claim was schedule for the Circuit Civil Court for the assessment of damages only.

The hearing took place last week, when Judge Terence O´Sullivan was told that the former employee is now twenty-three years of age and works as a hairdresser. The circumstances of her accident were described to the judge, who also heard both sides argue whether or not she had sustained a “significant injury”.

Counsel representing Dunnes Stores argued that the cause of the former employee´s ongoing neck pain was not her 2012 accident, but her current hairdressing job. Judge O´Sullivan noted that the former employee had not attended her doctor for three years or made any effort to seek physiotherapy, instead relying on painkillers.

Commenting that the woman had done a poor job of looking after herself if she had indeed suffered a significant injury, Judge O´Sullivan said it was the opinion of the court that the former employee “wasn´t that badly hurt”. He awarded her €15,000 compensation for a head injury at work and gave Dunnes Stores leave to appeal the award provided they pay €10,000 to their former employee immediately.

201610.31
1

Check-In Clerk Awarded Compensation for a Manual Lifting Work Injury

A former Ryanair check-in clerk has been awarded compensation for a manual lifting work injury after appealing the dismissal of her claim to the High Court.

The former Ryanair employee – a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin – claimed compensation for a manual lifting work injury after straining her back while lifting luggage onto a conveyor belt at Dublin Airport in July 2011.

The woman alleged there was no safe system of work for tagging the last piece of luggage to indicate to luggage handlers that check-in had closed. She also claimed that the check-in desk was an unsuitable site from which to lift bags onto the conveyor belt.

Her claim for compensation for a manual lifting work injury was originally dismissed by the Circuit Civil Court last November, when Judge Jacqueline Linnane expressed doubt about whether the plaintiff was standing or sitting – contrary to Ryanair´s training policy – at the time the injury occurred.

Costs were awarded to Ryanair and the staff recruitment company against whom the plaintiff had made the claim. However, the plaintiff was given leave to appeal the verdict – which she did – and the appeal hearing took place last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross found in the plaintiff´s favour. He ruled that, regardless of whether she had been sitting or standing, the company´s training for tagging the final piece of check-in luggage had not been “site specific” and consequently insufficient.

Judge Cross did however find that the plaintiff had contributed to her injury by twisting, rather than turning to lift the bag onto the conveyor belt. He awarded her €20,800 compensation for a manual lifting work injury, but reduced the award to €16,650 to account for her 20% contributory negligence.

201605.25
0

Claim for Slipping on Wet Leaves at Work Resolved in Court

A claim for slipping on wet leaves at work has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with the award of €25,879 injury compensation to a kitchen assistant.

On 19th November 2012, Ann Groves (58) was walking along a path towards the back entrance of the Baltinglass Hospital when she slipped on wet leaves and injured her ankle. Ann – who worked at the hospital as a kitchen assistant – was able to reduce the swelling with an ice pack and later attended her GP, who strapped Ann´s ankle for support after diagnosing a soft tissue injury.

Unfortunately the pain from the ankle injury continued. Unable to sleep, walk or stand for long periods, Ann sought medical attention from a number of specialists. She underwent sessions of physiotherapy and acupuncture before having a spinal cord stimulated surgically implanted in 2014; which although it helped with the pain, did not resolve the problem completely.

On her solicitor´s advice, Ann made a claim for slipping on wet leaves at work against her employer – the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE denied responsibility for Ann´s injury at work, contesting the claim on the grounds that a sage cleaning system was in place at the hospital, and that Ann had contributed to her accident and subsequent injury due to her own lack of care.

With no agreement on liability, the Injuries Board issued Ann with an authorisation to pursue her claim for slipping on wet leaves at work through the courts. The case was heard earlier this week by Judge Barry Hickson at the Circuit Civil Court, who was told that Ann´s accident had occurred early on a Monday morning after a particularly stormy weekend.

The judge found in Ann´s favour and dismissed the HSE´s claims of contributory negligence after hearing evidence from a maintenance engineer who testified that the maintenance team at the hospital started work after the kitchen assistants. The judge awarded Ann €25,879 compensation in settlement of her claim for slipping on wet leaves at work.

201605.07
1

Company Fined for Fatal Breach of Health and Safety Laws

A Dublin company has been fined €200,000 for a fatal breach of health and safety laws that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old warehouse supervisor.

On 28th November 2015, Robert Ceremuga – a warehouse supervisor at VF Coldstores Ltd – was killed instantly when racking supporting 36 tonnes of foodstuff collapsed on top of him. An engineer’s report following the accident concluded that the racking had collapsed due to the accidental impact of a forklift. It was found that the employee operating the forklift had been employed by VF Coldstores of Finglas, Dublin, just three weeks earlier and did not have the appropriate license to operate the vehicle.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for a fatal breach of health and safety laws, and last month a representative of VF Coldstores Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The court also heard a victim impact statement read by Robert´s widow – Maria – following which Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the hearing in order to “conduct a scientific approach” to ascertaining the fine.

The hearing was reconvened yesterday, when Judge Greally imposed a fine of €200,000 on VF Coldstores Ltd for a fatal breach of health and safety laws. Speaking after the successful prosecution, the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA – Brian Higgisson – said: “It is important that employers adequately manage and conduct work activities, in particular carrying out risk assessments before any major works, such as alterations to racking. These assessments should ensure that everyone has the necessary training, knowledge and experience to complete the work in a safe manner.”

201604.18
0

HSENI Issues Warning about the Dangers of Slurry Pits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

201604.09
0

Court Awards Compensation for a Waitress Hand Injury after Hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

201604.05
0

Court Hears Injury Claim for an Industrial Saw Accident at Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

201603.24
0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

201603.18
0

Farmer Fined for Injury to a Worker at a Dairy

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

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

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

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

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

201603.17
0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

201603.15
0

Negligence Determined in Claim for a Workplace Accident at Dunnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

201603.08
0

Chef´s Claim for a Restaurant Kitchen Injury Resolved in Court

A chef´s claim for restaurant kitchen injury has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with an award of €15,000 compensation to the injured plaintiff.

Shijun Liu was ordinarily a chef at the Howards Way Restaurant in Rathgar; but, in March 2013, he was working at the restaurant´s sister establishment in Churchtown, Dublin, when he went to the assistance of a cleaner who was trying to untangle the domestic powerhose used to clean the kitchen.

As Shijun and the cleaner attempted to untangle the kinks in the hose, the hose suddenly sprayed scalding water at Shijun – severely burning his ankle. Shijun – who was unfamiliar with the cleaning procedures at the Churchtown restaurant – was taken to the VHI Clinic in Dundrum, where he was treated for burns.

Due to the severity of his injuries, Shijun was unable to return to his kitchen duties for two weeks. He made a claim for a restaurant kitchen injury against his employer – Declan Howard trading as Howards Way Restaurant – but consent was denied for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of Shijun´s claim.

With an authorisation from the Injuries Board to pursue his claim for a restaurant kitchen injury, Shijun sought legal advice. Shijun was advised to take his case to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that the domestic powerhose used to clean the restaurant kitchen was unfit for purpose because the heat of the water being used would have softened it. The judge found in favour of Shijun and awarded him €15,000 in settlement of his claim for a restaurant kitchen injury – commenting that he had found Shijun´s version of events very compelling.

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.

201601.21
0

High Court Approves Compensation Settlement for a Work Accident Claim

The High Court has approved a compensation settlement for a work accident claim made by the widow of a man killed while working at Connacht Sportsground.

On 30th April 2008, Declan Byrne (31) was killed when a 1.4 tonne steel beam fell on him while he was trying to realign it during the construction of a new gym at the Connacht Sportsground in Galway. An investigation into Declan´s death resulted in charges being brought against the company for whom he worked – CDM Steel Ltd – under the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.

The company was acquitted on the charges in November 2013, after the Galway Circuit Criminal Court heard that it had been Declan´s decision to use scaffolding and a bottle jack – rather than lift the beam with a crane – because the blockwork of the building was so far advanced. However, the judge in the case criticised the lack of supervision and an “appalling lack of communication” at the site.

Following the acquittal of her husband´s former employer, Dolores Byrne from Ballyhaunis in County Mayo made a work accident claim against CDM Steel Ltd alleging that the company´s negligence was responsible for Declan´s death. She also sued Portant Developments Ltd – the main contractor for the development of the site, the Connacht Branch of the Rugby Football Union and the Irish Rugby Football Union – the owners of the Connacht Sportsground.

All four parties denied their role in Declan´s death, and alleged that he failed to have regard for his own safety by attempting to realign the steel beam without the appropriate lifting equipment. However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that a compensation settlement for the work accident claim had been agreed amounting to €500,000.

Judge Cross approved the compensation settlement for a work accident claim, expressing his sympathies to Dolores and her two children for their tragic and irreplaceable loss. He told the family that, although the compensation settlement for a work accident claim was a good one that he was happy to approve, “nothing can replace what you have lost”.

201512.04
2

Man Awarded Compensation for an Injury Caused by Inadequate Training

A former meat factory worker has been awarded €415,000 compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training at the High Court.

On 11th January 2011, Mohammed Ali Saleh from Mullingar in County Westmeath was working at the Moyvalley meat factory in County Kildare, when he got a pain in his back while working on the pluck station of the factory. A medical examination revealed that Mohammed had suffered a prolapse disc.

Although Mohammed had suffered back problems before, this was considerably worse. Mohammed underwent an MRI scan which showed that he required urgent decompression but, despite undergoing two operations, he was diagnosed with failed back syndrome and now uses crutches to support himself.

Mohammed sought legal advice and claimed compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training. He alleged in his legal action that Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited had never shown him adequately how to perform the plucking process without having to engage in a twisting manoeuvre – the twisting manoeuvre having been identified as the reason for the prolapsed disc.

Moyvalley Meats contested Mohammed´s claim. The company argued that he had been given on the job training and that his current back injury was a result of an existing condition. With there being no resolution to the claim for compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training, the case went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross heard an expert witness testify that the training provided for Mohammed consisted of having him watch a fellow employee work on the pluck station. The expert said that no safe system of work had been implemented that could avoid the twisting manoeuvre, and that the training Mohammed had received was entirely inadequate for him to do the job safely.

Judge Cross found in Mohammed´s favour. He said that Moyvalley meats was in breach of statutory duty in failing to train him in what should have been the correct posture to avoid straining his back. The judge awarded Mohammed €415,000 compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training to account for his pain and suffering and loss of income.

201511.19
0

Castolin Eutectic Employee Awarded Compensation for a Pallet Truck Accident

An employee of Castolin Eutectic has been awarded €46,000 compensation for a pallet truck accident in which he slipped and fell, and injured his back.

On 5th March 2012, Daniel Hanley (24) from Stoneybatter in Dublin was working at the Castolin Eutectic manufacturing plant in the Magna Business Park, when he slipped and fell while pushing a pallet truck. Daniel was taken to hospital with a back injury, treated for soft tissue damage and was off work for six weeks.

Daniel claimed compensation for a pallet truck accident against his employer – alleging that Castolin Eutectic had not implemented a safe system of work. Due to slipping on an accumulation of graphite spillage on the floor, Daniel also claimed that his employer had failed to ensure that the floor surface was suitable and fit for purpose.

Castolin Eutectic denied liability for Daniel´s injury, and declined consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of his claim. Consequently Daniel was issued with an authorisation to pursue compensation for a pallet truck accident through the courts. His case was heard this week by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Cross heard Castolin Eutectic argue that Daniel´s slip and fall injury was due to his own negligence. However, the judge also heard evidence that there had been a number of slip and fall accidents due to graphite spills in the week´s leading up to Daniel´s injury, and safety measures that were suggested to the company´s management were not put in place.

Mr Justice Cross said that there was no suggestion Daniel had been doing anything wrong at the time of the accident and, based on the evidence he had heard, it was likely that there could have been a small amount of graphite on the floor at the time. The judge found in Daniel´s favour and awarded him €46,000 compensation for a pallet truck accident.

201511.10
0

Flight Attendant Claims Compensation for Injuries during a Landing

An Air Lingus flight attendant has given evidence at the High Court in support of her claim for compensation for injuries during a landing at Dublin Airport.

On 19th November 2009, Cassandra Reddin from Ratoath in County Meath was a flight attendant on flight EI582 from Malaga to Dublin. As the Airbus 320 approached Dublin Airport, the plane started swaying from side-to-side and, on landing, bounced three times before coming to a halt much further along the runway than it normally would.

The rough landing caused the overhead luggage lockers to open, and luggage to fall on top of passengers; who – according to Cassandra´s testimony yesterday at the High Court – were screaming in fear. “Safety documents shot out of their pockets; duty free broke in the overhead baggage and alcohol leaked into the cabin. There was a degree of chaos and stress on board,” she told Mr Justice Michael Hanna.

Cassandra told the court that the rough landing had left her shaken up emotionally and physically. Claiming that she had suffered shock due to the incident, and had cried the whole evening when she had got home, Cassandra also alleged that she had suffered soft tissue neck and back injuries similar to whiplash – subsequent to which she sought legal advice and claimed compensation for injuries during a landing at Dublin Airport.

Aer Lingus contested Cassandra´s claim for compensation, and her allegations that the rate of descent just prior to landing was three to four times what it should have been. The airline also disputes claims that the co-pilot was negligent in failing to adequately supervise the landing on the plane. Consequently, when Cassandra applied to the Injuries Board for compensation for injuries during a landing, Aer Lingus refused to give its consent for the assessment to proceed.

The hearing at the Four Courts continues tomorrow.

201510.24
0

Claim against Iarnrod Éireann for a Shoulder Injury Settled during Hearing

A former employee´s claim against Iarnrod Éireann for a shoulder injury he sustained while at work, has been settled during a hearing to establish liability.

Thirty-eight year old Padraic Reddin from Donaghmede in Dublin, was employed as an electrician by Irish Rail when, in February 2012, he was assigned the task of changing a front destination scroll on a Dart train.

As Padraic was lifting the scroll up towards its fitting, he felt a sharp pain across his shoulders and upper body. He stopped what he was doing and rested a while before completing the task later in the day.

However, the pain returned to disrupt Padraic´s everyday life and affect his sleeping. At one point, he was feeling discomfort in his shoulder when making a cup of tea. Padraic visited his GP, but the pain continued for several months.

Padraic also reported his injury to a superior. However, because Padraic had waited until two weeks after the injury to make his report, the superior refused to complete an accident report form.

Padraic then made a claim against Iarnrod Éireann for a shoulder injury and sent an application for an assessment to the Injuries Board. Iarnrod Éireann refused to consent to an assessment of his claim, and the Injuries Board issued Padraic with an authorisation to pursue compensation through the court system.

The hearing to establish liability in Padraic´s claim against Iarnrod Éireann for a shoulder injury was heard this week at the Circuit Civil Court by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that the destination scroll Padraic had been assigned to change weighed 10kg and it was situated at a height of 2 metres.

Padraic´s legal representatives argued that the task should have been assigned to two employees to avoid the risk of injury, but before Judge Groarke could hear any more evidence, the parties requested a brief adjournment. On their return to the court, the judge was informed that the claim against Iarnrod Éireann for a workplace injury had been settled for an undisclosed amount and that the case could be struck out.

201509.26
2

Compensation Awards made by the High Court under Attack

A representative of the motor insurance industry has claimed that judges need educating about who pays for compensation awards made by the High Court.

The attack on compensation awards made by the High Court was made by Conor Faughan from AA Ireland, who was responding to the news that the average value of High Court personal injury settlements had increased from €227,000 in 2013 to €304,000 last year.

Mr Faughan said there was a need for judges to be educated so that they would understand that compensation awards made by the High Court are paid for by the country´s two million drivers. Although not strictly true (few road traffic accident claims are resolved in the High Court), Mr Faughan pointed out that the average value of assessments conducted by the Injuries Board had remained steady during the same period at around €22,600.

It has also been suggested that the increase in the average value of compensation awards made by the High Court could be due to changes made under the Courts and Civil Law Act 2013, which saw the minimum potential compensation level at which cases would be heard by the High Court from €38,092 to €60,000. Some observers believe that High Court judges are awarding a minimum compensation settlement of €60,000 when – prior to the increase – they would have awarded less.

Dorothea Dowling – founding chairperson of the Injuries Board, and the chair of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board – believes that plaintiffs are shunning Injuries Board assessments for higher compensation awards made by the High Court. Ms Dowling told the Independent: “The Department of Justice was forewarned well in advance. This is what happens when you increase the limits of the lower courts – it sends out the message that €38,000 is small money.”

Whereas Ms Dowling has a point, it is not a point that everybody shares. Earlier this year (In McGarry v McGarry) Mr Justice Bernard Barton criticised the government for not updating the injury compensation values published in the Book of Quantum since 2004. During the case, Judge Barton acknowledged that for all practical purposes the Book of Quantum was being ignored by the courts because it was so out of date and commented “it is unquestionably in the interests of the proper administration of justice that the Book be reviewed and be kept updated to properly reflect [compensation awards made by the High Court]”.

201509.02
0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

201504.01
2

Compensation Claims to the Injuries Board Remain Stable

The number of compensation claims to the Injuries Board remained stable throughout 2014 according to figures released in the organisation´s annual review.

During 2014, 31,576 compensation claims to the Injuries Board (2013 – 31,311 claims) resulted in 12,420 assessments being accepted (2013 – 10,656 accepted assessments) resulting in a total award value of €281.2 million (2013 – €243.5 million).

The discrepancy between the two year´s acceptance rates (2014 – 39% / 2013 – 34%) is attributable to a large volume of compensation claims to the Injuries Board being received towards the end of 2013 which were not resolved until 2014. The Injuries Board reported a slight decrease in the length of time it took to process an injury claim.

The annual review also revealed a slight decrease in the average assessment of an injury claim (€22,642 from €22,847), although there was a significant increase in the average value of a claim for an injury at work (€32,134 from €28,886). The largest single assessment was made for a claim for an injury at work – €972,898 being related to an employer liability claim.

Commenting on the figures contained within the annual review, Patricia Byron – the Chief Executive of the Injuries Board – said: “While the volume of new claims stabilized last year, the increase in the number of awards made by the Board is a clear indication that more respondents, typically insurers, are opting to engage with our low cost claims resolution service and recognize the real value of avoiding unnecessary and costly litigation where uncontested claims are concerned”.

Ms Byron continued: “2014 was an important year for us as we marked a decade in operation. As a result of our journey, personal injury compensation is now delivered in 7 months and at a processing cost of 6.7%, compared to almost 3 years and a cost of 58% for litigated claims. With over €1 billion in savings delivered to date and a ten year track record behind us, the benefits of non-adversarial claims resolution are unequivocal.”

201412.03
1

Inquest finds Man Died Due to Asbestos Related Cancer

An inquest has found that a sixty-five year old man died due to asbestos related cancer after being exposed to the deadly fibres when he was a teenager.

Charlie Glass from Ballinteer, Dublin, passed away at St Vincent´s Hospital in September 2013 having been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer after a workplace accident in 2009.

Charlie had hurt his ribs in a fall at work, and had attended a VHI Swiftcare Clinic for treatment. X-rays revealed more fluid on his lungs than would normally be associated with a fit, working man; and, after the fluid had been drained, a CT scan detected the cancer.

Considered to be a candidate for radical intervention, Charlie underwent chemotherapy and surgery in London. He returned to Ireland and enjoyed several years of good health until the cancer returned and his health deteriorated.

It was while Charlie was discussing his diagnosis with his doctors that the link with asbestos came to light. At the age of 14, Charlie was cutting asbestos sheets for fire doors for Brook Thomas Building Suppliers. As the risks of asbestos were not so widely known in the 1960s, no protective clothing was provided and the workforce often ate their lunches in the vicinity of where the asbestos had been cut.

At the inquest into Charlie´s death, the Dublin Coroner – Dr Brian Farrell – was told that when Charlie was first diagnosed with asbestos related cancer, he had only been given eleven months to live, but managed to survive for more than four years. Dr Farrell also heard that both of Charlie´s siblings died due to asbestos related cancer, although in unconnected incidents.

Evidence presented from the autopsy on Charlie´s body revealed that “numerous asbestos bodies were identified in the lungs” confirming the diagnosis of disseminated mesothelioma. Dr Farrell returned the verdict that Charlie had died due to asbestos related cancer, commenting that it was very unfortunate that all three siblings had died from such a rare disease.

201411.16
0

Family Receive Compensation for Death due to Mesothelioma

The family of a man who died after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace is to receive a six-figure settlement of compensation for death due to mesothelioma.

Peter McCormack from Whickham, Tyne and Wear, died in December 2013 after an eighteen-month illness with mesothelioma – a cancer in the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

Prior to his death, seventy-three year old Peter had instructed solicitors to see if more could have been done to protect him from the health risks associated with asbestos during his employment at EON UK (1957 – 1962) and OSG Ship Management (1965 – 1997).

Peter claimed that during his employment with EON UK, he worked alongside laggers who mixed and applied asbestos lagging to new pipes and fittings, and while employed at OSG Ship Management (formerly known as W A Souter Ltd) he was again exposed to asbestos dust working as an onboard engineer.

Solicitors working on Peter´s behalf discovered that his role at OSG Ship Management had included repairing pipes and other metalwork lagged with asbestos, and that asbestos dust was prevalent on internal surfaces of the ships Peter worked on. When the dust was disturbed, it was released into the air and inhaled.

After Peter died, the claim for compensation for death due to mesothelioma was taken over by his daughter Elke (41) on behalf of herself and Peter´s other daughter, Natalie. Elke continued to work with the solicitors that Peter had engaged until a settlement of the claim was negotiated. The two daughters will now share an undisclosed six-figure settlement of compensation for death due to mesothelioma.

After the settlement was agreed, Elke commented “My dad was always an extremely active man, spending his time mountaineering, walking and cycling, but after his diagnosis his health deteriorated rapidly and was unable to do the things he enjoyed so much. The diagnosis also caused him severe distress and anxiety for his future”.

201407.10
0

Compensation for Heart Diseases from Asbestos Exposure

A recent study has revealed a connection between asbestos exposure, heart disease and strokes – potentially making it possible to claim compensation for heart diseases from asbestos exposure.

The study was conducted by the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL) – a branch of the UK´s Health and Safety Executive – and published in the British Medical Journal. It concludes that employees exposed to asbestos are at greater risk of heart disease and strokes than the general population – with women more likely to be affected than men.

HSL analysed 15,557 deaths among 98,912 workers who had taken part in regular voluntary health monitoring and participated in the Asbestos Workers Survey, and compared the number of deaths from strokes and heart attacks among these workers against the number that would be expected to occur in the general population.

The Discrepancy between Male and Female Deaths

The discrepancy between male and female deaths – where exposure to asbestos had contributed towards a fatal heart disease or stroke – was significant.  Male asbestos workers (most commonly engaged in asbestos removal) were 39 percent more likely to die of heart disease and 63 percent more likely to die of a stroke; while women (most commonly employed in the manufacturing industry) were 89 percent more likely to die of heart disease and 100 percent more likely to die of a stroke after being exposed to asbestos.

There was evidence to suggest that the longer the duration of exposure to asbestos, the greater the likelihood of dying from heart disease or a stroke, and the report concluded that cerebrovascular and ischaemis heart disease mortality rates were significantly higher when there had been occupational exposure to asbestos.

Claiming Compensation for Heart Diseases from Asbestos Exposure

The process for claiming compensation for heart diseases from asbestos exposure would be exactly the same as claiming compensation for exposure to asbestos when a victim has been diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma cancer. Provided it can be proven that the person who was suffering from heart disease or who had experienced a stroke was exposed to asbestos in the course of their work – or due to other environmental factors – it should be possible to claim compensation for heart diseases from asbestos exposure.

This new research will enable many victims of asbestos-related injuries to recover compensation and will allow them to seek the best medical attention to help them lead the fullest possible live. In tragic cases where the person exposed to asbestos has died, families are allowed to claim compensation for heart diseases from asbestos exposure on the victim´s behalf; although the successful conclusion of the claim may depend on being able to locate witnesses who can confirm the presence of asbestos in the workplace.

In all circumstances in which an illness or the death of a loved one is attributable to the exposure to asbestos, it is advisable to discuss eligibility for claiming compensation for heart diseases from asbestos exposure with a solicitor at the earliest practical opportunity.

201406.09
0

Woman Awarded Compensation for Slip on a Frozen Chip

A canteen worker from Dunnes Stores in Clonmel has been awarded €82,750 compensation for a slip on a frozen chip which resulted in her suffering a serious knee injury.

Dorota Michalowska (29) from Clonmel in County Tipperary was pushing a trolley of dirty plates into the kitchen of the Dunnes Stores in Clonmel on 14 July 2011, when she slipped on a frozen chip and fell – landing awkwardly on her knee.

Dorota felt her knee swell up immediately and sought medical attention at once. Her injury was so severe that she was incapacitated for six months and unable to return to work for 35 weeks.

After seeking legal advice, Dorota made an injury compensation claim for a slip on a frozen chip against Dunnes Stores, alleging that her employer had failed to adequately warn their staff of the risk of frozen chips on the floor and had failed to provide her with a safe place and system of work.

Dunnes Stores contested Dorota´s claim; arguing that if there were frozen chips on the canteen floor at the time of her accident, it was most likely that Dorota had dropped them herself as she was working in food production that day and more than likely the author of her own misfortune.

Dorota´s claim for compensation for a slip on a frozen chip in Dunnes canteen proceeded to the High Court, where it was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who was told that two other employees were also involved in food production at the same time as Dorota.

The judge said the issue in the case was who was responsible for dropping the chips on the floor and, as the chips were frozen at the time of Dorota´s accident – while she was out of the kitchen collecting dirty plates – “on the balance of probabilities” it was likely that somebody other than Dorota had dropped them.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine awarded Dorota €82,750 compensation for a slip on a frozen chip in Dunnes canteen, noting that Dorota is at risk of arthritis in the future because of her accident, and including €20,000 for the pain and suffering she will experience in the future.

The judge also granted Dunnes Stores a stay in the event of an appeal, provided that the company pay Dorota €52,750 straight away.