A recent report by the State Claim Agency has revealed that there was an increase in the cost of compensation claims taken against the State, bringing the overall spend to approximately €2.2 billion during 2016.
This is a 22% increase on the previous year’s figures according to the agency which is responsible for legal actions taken against the State. The total number of case encountered during 2016 was 8,900 at the end of 2016, up from 6,000 in 2015.
Main Reasons for Rise in Compensation Paid Out by the State
The Department of Education settled/paid out compensation claims for roughly €50 million.
€1.9 billion of the €2.2 billion total compensation paid out was by Tusla and the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Anyone who wins a legal action is now entitled to a higher pay out following a Supreme Court ruling to make up for falling returns on the cash.
The Department of Justice and Defence paid out compensation claims worth €175 million compared to €27 million of claims for the the Department of Health.
As part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), the State Claims Agency was set up to address the continual increases in compensation claims being taken against the State.
Séamus McCarthy Comptroller and Auditor General for the NTMA commented saying “The number of claims under management has increased significantly since 2011”.
An award of compensation for Garda injuries has been made to an officer who suffered hip and leg injuries when his patrol car was rammed in a fatal accident.
Garda Bernard McLoughlin and colleague Garda Gary McLoughlin were involved in the accident in December 2009, when the patrol car in which they were travelling was rammed by a car driven by Martin McDermott, of Raphoe, County Donegal.
Garda Gary McLoughlin died from the injuries he sustained in the accident, while Garda Bernard McLoughlin was unable to continue his duties and has taken educational leave to study in Australia for the past three years. McDermott was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for manslaughter in July 2011.
At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard how Garda Bernard McLoughlin of Buncrana, County Donegal, had found a pulse on his colleague after the accident and held his colleague´s head in a recovery position in their wrecked patrol car until emergency services arrived. However, his actions were not enough to save his friend´s life, and Garda Gary McLoughlin died several hours later in hospital.
Awarding Garda Bernard McLoughlin €45,000 compensation for Garda injuries, Ms Justice Irvine said the two officers who shared the same surname were more than colleagues. They had been close friends who had lived and trained together during their training at Templemore before working together in Buncrana.
A man, who was left brain damaged and requiring 24-hour care following an assault by his girlfriend, has had a settlement of 3.84 million Euros approved at the High Court.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns heard how Jason Clarke (now 43) from Glencullen, Dublin, had been attacked by his then girlfriend – Jennifer Mayberry (33) of Foxrock, Dublin – after an argument had started between the two at the Blue Light pub on New Year´s Eve 2000.
The court heard that Ms Mayberry had thrown a bottle at Jason´s head; the impact of which caused a blood vessel to burst in his brain and initiate three strokes in quick succession. Jason lost consciousness in the third stroke – from which he did not recover for three months – and is now confined to a wheelchair, requiring 24-hour care which is currently provided by his family.
Ms Mayberry was arrested after the event and charged with assault – to which she pleaded guilty and was given a suspended jail sentence – and, in 2002, Jason made a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal who awarded him 3.84 million Euros from which to date his family have received just over 1 million Euros in interim compensation payments.
At the High Court, Jason´s father Frank Clarke – through whom the claim for criminal injuries compensation had been made – appealed to Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns to approve the full award and make Jason a ward of court as he believed the settlement was insufficient to provide Jason with the care he needed when his family were no longer able to look after him.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said it was a sensible decision as, if the case was to go before a new tribunal, there would be no guarantee that the award would be so high. The judge approved the settlement of criminal injuries compensation and noted that Jason may require more money to provide for his care in the future.
The Circuit Civil Court has awarded a man, who was punched in the face by his neighbour, compensation for a scar following an assault in the amount of 9,000 Euros.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard that Andrew McDermott (48) of Walkinstown, Dublin, had answered the front door to his neighbour – Barry Matthews – in July 2009; only for Matthews to punch Andrew McDermott in the face in response to allegations McDermott had made relating to bullying between their two sons.
The court was told that McDermott was detained in hospital overnight and had six stitches inserted into a 1.5cm laceration on his lip. When the stitches were removed, a scar had developed which was visible to the casual onlooker and which – it was claimed in court – had made a significant difference to McDermott´s quality of life.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery was also told that liability had been accepted in the claim and that the case was before him for the assessment of compensation for a scar following an assault. Stating that it had been a very unfortunate incident, the judge awarded McDermott 9,000 Euros against his neighbour.
A teenage girl, who has represented Ireland playing International Ladies Soccer, has been awarded 10,000 Euros damages for injuries inflicted on her by a shop security man.
Kirsty Hogan (14) of Dublin, was passing the entrance of the Spar Shop in Cumberland Road, Dublin, in October 2008 when the assault happened. The shop security man, Patrick Okorie, attempted to stop Kirsty to obtain her telephone number in relation to an alleged previous incident in the shop.
An argument ensured during which, it was claimed, that Mr. Okorie had kicked Kirsty beneath her jaw – causing her to bleed profusely. Kirsty went straight home to her mother, who reported the incident to the Gardai and took Kirsty to hospital.
In the subsequent Gardai investigation, Mr. Okorie had signed an ‘adult caution’ in Fitzgibbon Street Garda station, and although alleging during the court hearing that he was acting in self-defence, Judge Joseph Mathews accepted the account of the incident given by Kirsty.
The award of 10,000 Euros was made against the owner of the store, Raymond Conboy.
The Department of Justice has estimated that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal will award €4.2 million to victims of crime in 2010. The total payments over the past five years are likely to reach €22 million by the end of 2010.
The 2009 statistics show that there were 111 payments in 2009, with the highest award being €867,000. The tribunal makes awards to about half of all applicants.
Glen Turner of Navan, County Meath has won €100,000 damages in settlement of a High Court case against the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan, County Meath for alleged assault by doormen at a nightclub at the hotel.
Mister Turner has claimed that a pre-existing epilepsy condition has “significantly worsened” since he was allegedly assaulted by two doormen. The incident occurred in September 2001.
The High Court case was taken against Quinn Hotels Ltd, with registered offices at Hotel Kilmore, Dublin Road, County Cavan, which operates the Ardboyne’s Hotel. The full details of the settlement were not revealed in court, although legal council for Mr Turner told Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill that the terms included a payment of €100,000.
Prison Officers were awarded over €2.5m in 2009 for injuries sustained in the line of duty.
The awards were made to 112 prison officers, whose injuries at work included stabbings, broken jaws, and needle attacks.
The highest award was over €500,000 and €329,473, while there were multiple awards of over €50,000.
Prison Officers’ Association (POA) has highlighted that the profile of prisoners has changed in recent years to include more gang members and a new generation of more violent inmates. There were over 150 assaults on prison offers in 2009.
Prison officers get a lot of negative press for their relatively high earnings and a massive overtime bill. The injuries sustained by so many prison offers put their salaries into perspective.
Caroloine Grainger of Portmarnock, County Dublin, has been awarded €25,000 damages against a burglar who terrorised her while robbing her possessions in her bedroom in March 2004.
Ms Grainger said that she thought she was going to be killed when two men pulled her blankets over her head. Simon O’Connor of Donnycarney, Dublin, later pleaded guilty to burglary in the Circuit Criminal Court and was jailed for five years.
Ms Grainger testified that she still suffered nightmares and flashback and now slept behind locked doors. Medical evidence was given that Ms Grainger had suffered mild to severe post-traumatic stress syndrome. The case was heard by Mr Justice Matthew Deery and the compensation award was made for emotional stress, assault, and trespass.
The parents of two children have just obtained compensation of €6,500 plus legal costs for psychological injury from Budget Travel. Armed intruders broke into their holiday apartment in Lanzarote. The incident happened in May 2002 when the children were 8 and 5 years old. In a separate claim, the parents obtained compensation of €28,400 plus legal costs at the Circuit Court in Killarney in January 2006 for loss of property, personal trauma and the recovery of the holiday cost. The family claimed that Budget Travel failed to provide suitably secure accommodation.
The family were staying at Los Orquideas apartments in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote when they were awoken at 3.00 by three intruders, one of whom was in their children’s bedroom with a long screwdriver. The gang removed the content of their security box, including €1,600 in cash, €12,000 in jewellry, passports, and a credit card.