Woman Settles with Marks and Spencer after Alleged ‘Superman’ fall in Aisle

A personal injury compensation action has been settled in the High Court Marks and Spencer (Ireland) and a woman who claims she  fractured her leg when a Marks and Spencer staff member came off a step ladder and knocked her over.

Loretta McSherry (64) Cremore, Templeogue, Dublin told the High Court that she was in the Marks and Spencer branch located at Dundrum Shopping Centre to purchase some ready made meals. When she was walking through the bakery section the accident occurred.

She said: “I looked at some scones but thought they looked stale and decided not to buy. I gave the step ladder a wide berth, I was not aware of anybody on the ladder. I was struck in the shoulder as I walked past. It was like my Superman moment, I flew forward.”

Ms McSherry informed the Judge that the pain she experienced was the worst she had ever suffered and resulted in her rolling along the ground. The physicians that treated her said that she had fractured her thigh bone in a manner consistent with a high-speed car accident.

Ms McSherry, an IT systems analyst, had taken the personal injury compensation action against Marks and Spencer (Ireland) Ltd, with offices at Mary Street, Dublin due to the accident that occurred on January 4, 2014 at the Dundrum Shopping Centre branch.

She alleged that Mark and Spencer staff had not made sure that the shopping aisle was safe for the use of customers and an alleged failure to have any regard for her safety had also taken place. She went on to say that a Marks and Spencer employee was allegedly allowed to use a step ladder for restocking without any help. Finally, she said there was a failure to cordon off or prevent customers from coming in close proximity with the step ladder in question.

Marks and Spencer refuted the allegations and contended there was contributory negligence on Ms McSherry’s part for allegedly failing pay adequate attention to her surroundings.


Hotel Wedding Dance Fall Leads to Injury Compensation Settlement

A High Court injury compensation settlement has been agreed between a Tipperary hotel and a Clonmel woman after she slipped on petals on a hotel dance floor almost two hours after the bride had thrown her bouquet during a wedding reception

The specific details of the settlement are to be kept confidential and presiding Judge Kevin Cross was told the case had settled and could now be struck out.

Plaintiff Ann White, who lives at Highfield Grove in Clonmel, told the court she was celebrating at the afters of a work colleague’s wedding at the Aherlow House Hotel in September 2012. She slipped on some petals on the dance floor, fracturing her wrist and arm.

Ms White, a 53-year-old child care worker, told the Court that had been a “serious scrum” of about 20 “very enthusiastic” women when the bride threw her bouquet at 12.30am. As a number of ladies pulled at the bridal bouquet of pink and white roses, petals came off and were spread all over the dance floor. Ms White said she decided to dance at roughly 2.30am and her right foot skidded on on the rose petals. Ms White told the Judge that she was wearing stilettos but is is used to doing so.

Due to the injuries Ms White had to have surgery and told the court that she still experiences pain in her arm on daily basis. The Aherlow House Hotel refuted Ms White’s claims, arguing that it was an unfortunate accident which was not foreseeable by the hotel management or staff.

Mr Justice Cross congratulated the parties on reaching the settlement and added that he was very glad to hear it as, in the event of the court making a decision it was open to appeal, which he said taking the scarcity of judges into account would have taken a long time.


Man ‘lucky to survive’ when tree fell on him during storm awarded €165k

A High Court Settlement for falling tree accident compensation of €165,000 has been approved for a man who experienced a number of severe injuries when a tree dropped on him during a stormy.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that John Haskins Junior, now aged 37, ‘lucky to survive the accident which occurred in 2014. Mr Haskins suffered fractures to the spine, ribs and ankle. Due to falling tree incident he spent the two months recuperating in hospital.

Taking the personal injury action through his father Mr Haskins Jnr, from Athy, Co Kildare sued Camphill Communities of Ireland, the operator of a health care center located in  Dunshane House, Brannmockstown, Naas, Co Kildare, due to the traume and physical pain he experienced in the accident that happened on February 12, 2014.

Mr Haskins Jr was attending the health care facility when the accident happened as he has Asperger syndrome. Mr Haskins’ legal representatives advised the High Court that he was passing through the garden of the centre when a mature beech tree fell and struck him. It is argued that the tree was known to be unhealthy and, despite this, was not taken away from the area where it was dangerous to anyone close by. Along with this, they claimed that a supposed failure to maintain, fix or removed the tree or take the necessary steps to minimize potential danger. The area could have been cordoned off or, ideally, the tree would have been cut down.

It was also argued there was neglect in relation to taking any adequate or effective measures to cordone off or secure the area or to have the tree completely taken away.

The claims were denied as, it was argued, the tree was still healthy and did not look in any way unhealthy. The decay in the tree root could only have been detected by a specialist arboriculturist according to the defendant.

Senior Counsel Hugh Mohan representing Mr Haskins, quoted a consultant report for his side which claimed that there was a decay and fungus in the tree and it had led to rot forming in the roots and the wood then becoming degraded and subject to possible fracture.

Mr Justice Cross, in approving the falling tree injury compensation settlement, commented that Mr Haskins had made a fantastic recovery after experiencing multiple major injuries.


Tayto Park Compensation of €25k Following Fall

A High Court Action has been settled for €25,000 for a Tayto Park compensation claim after a child fell from a tower and fractured his lower arm in March 2012.

The Court was advised that Conor Bolger, then aged just 8 years old, had to have surgery and pins inserted near his elbow following suffering the fracture in the amusement park accident.

Taking the legal compensation action through his father Brian Bolger, the now aged 13 Conor Bolger of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, sued Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd,Co Meath trading as Tayto Park due to injuries sustained in the accident that occurred on on March 25, 2012.

Counsel claimed that Conor was playing on a tower in the main playground area, then the main attraction in Tayto Park. The tower, it was alleged, was overcrowded and Conor fell as a result of this. The area that he landed on was, according to Mr Bolger’s legal team, insufficiently covered with protective wood chips and he (Conor) suffered a fracture to his left elbow as a result of this. In the aftermath of the incident Mr Bolger had his elbow in a cast for a month and had pins inserted below his elbow in a surgical procedure.

Additionally, his legal team stated there was believed to have been a failure in providing an adequate inspection procedure that would have seen a raking of wood chips in the playground to plimsoll level which may have provided adequate insulation in the event of an accident like this occurring. 

The claims were denied by Counsel for Ashbourne Visitor Centre David McGrath SC. He stated that Conor Bolger was climbing the tower when he “just fell”. He claimed that there was no criticism of the tower itself.  Mr McGrath stated that Mr Bolger’s family were happy with the proposed settlement despite Conor suffering a serious injury and undergoing a surgical procedure that left him with a scar.

In approving the proposed settlement for Tayto Park compensation, Justice Kevin Cross stated that, following a personal inspection of the scar on Conor’s elbow, it was not “too upsetting”. Mr Cross also took into account the fact that Conor enjoys playing basketball which may have been inhibited by the injury that he suffered.


Judge Orders Full Hearing of Claim for a Broken Leg at Play School

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke has said the proposed settlement of a girl´s claim for a broken leg at play school is inadequate.

In April 2015, the plaintiff was just three years of age when she climbed onto an open wardrobe at the Larkin Early Education Centre in Ballybough, Dublin, and fell – landing awkwardly. X-rays revealed that the young girl had fractured the tibia in her right leg, and she had to undergo a manipulation of her bones under anaesthesia.

She was discharged from hospital wearing a long leg cast, and had to wear a walking boot for several weeks afterwards. Despite the accident occurring almost two years ago, the girl continues to feel pain in her leg and, on her behalf, her mother made a claim for a broken leg at play school against the Larkin Early Education Centre.

The claim for a broken leg at play school was assessed by the Injuries Board and, once the assessment was completed, an offer of settlement was made by the school amounting to €31,000. The family´s solicitor advised the girl´s mother not to accept the offer and, as no improved offer was forthcoming, the case went to the Circuit Civil Court for evaluation

The hearing took place earlier this week before Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident and how the settlement of the claim for a broken leg at play school had been determined. He agreed with the family´s solicitor that the offer of settlement was inadequate and ordered that it go to a full trial at the Circuit Civil Court.

According to the recently revised Book of Quantum, the range of compensation settlements for a moderate lower leg fracture in which the bones have been displaced is €40,500 to €70,400. Considering that injuries to the tibia are considered to be more serious than those to the fibula, and that the young girl continues to experience pain in her leg, the final settlement of her claim for broken leg at play school is likely to be at the higher end of the scale.


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.


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.


Judge Approves Settlement of Child´s Fall from Window Injury Claim

A Circuit Court judge has approved an Injuries Board assessed settlement of a child´s fall from window injury claim in favour of a five-year-old girl.

In August 2012, fifteen-month-old Róisín Byrne fell eleven feet onto an emergency fire escape from a window of her parent´s temporary accommodation in Blackrock, County Dublin. Róisín injured her head, punctured a lung and fractured a rib in the accident. Now five years of age, she still has a visible scar on her forehead.

Róisín´s parents – Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy – had previously complained to the caretaker of the property about the large Georgian sash window from which their daughter fell. They claimed that it presented a risk of injury due to opening just twenty-one inches from the floor and had asked for a security mechanism to be fitted so that the window could be locked shut.

The request was never attended to and, on Róisín´s behalf, Chloe applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of the child´s fall from window injury claim. The owner of the accommodation – Enda Woods – gave his consent for process to continue, and the Injuries Board assessed the injuries to Róisín as having a value of €46,000.

Both parties accepted the Injuries Board´s assessment but, as the child´s fall from window injury claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the proposed settlement first had to be approved by a judge. As the value of the assessment was in excess of €15,000, the approval hearing was held at the Circuit Civil Court before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the approval hearing, the circumstances of Róisín´s accident were related the judge, who was also informed about the scar on her forehead. Judge Groarke approved the settlement of the child´s fall from window claim, which will now be paid into court funds until Róisín is eighteen years of age.


Settlement of Claim for a Scar from an Accident in a Creche Approved

A boy, who cut his eye in a fall in 2007, has had the settlement of his claim for a scar from an accident in a creche approved at the Circuit Civil Court.

In July 2007, three-year-old Calum Lawless was playing at the Happy Days Creche in Clonee, Dublin, when he tripped on an uneven floor surface and landed on his face. Bleeding heavily from a cut close to his right eye, Calum was taken to the VH1 Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University, where he was treated for a three-centimetre laceration with glue and steri-strips.

Calum´s eye remained closed for a week after his accident, and the area around his eye remained bruised for almost a month. Now twelve years of age, Calum has a permanent visible scar by his eye that – due to its location – cannot be resolved by plastic surgery.

Calum´s mother – Lorraine Lawless from Dunshaughlin in County Meath – made a claim for a scar for an accident in a creche on her son´s behalf against the owners of the Happy Days facility. In her legal action, Lorraine alleged that the creche had failed in its duty of care to provide Calum with a safe environment in which to play.

Liability for Calum´s injury was admitted, and an offer was made to settle the claim for a scar from an accident in a creche for €45,000. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Calum´s best interests.

The case went to the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, where Judge James O´Donohoe was told the circumstances of Calum´s accident and its consequences. After hearing that the family were happy to accept the creche´s offer of €45,000 compensation, Judge O´Donohoe approved the settlement of the claim.


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.


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.


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.


Judge Adjourns Approval Hearing due to Too Low Offer of Compensation

A judge has adjourned a second approval hearing on the grounds that the injury settlement he had been asked to approve was a too low offer of compensation.

In November 2012, Harry Ryan (12) from Swords in County Dublin had been playing on a local green, when he slipped and badly cut his lower right leg on a piece of broken glass. Harry was taken to the local VHI Swift Care Clinic, where he had eight stitches under a local anaesthetic, and steri-strips applied to help his cut heal.

Through his mother – Ita – Harry made an injury compensation claim against Fingal County Council and a settlement of injury compensation was agreed amounting to €3,000 without an admission of liability. As the claim was made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved before the claim could be closed.

However, at the Circuit Civil Court last week, Judge James O´Donohoe refused to approve the settlement as he considered it too low an offer of compensation in relation to Harry´s injury. He adjourned the case for a week so that the two parties could reconsider the settlement, and a second approval hearing was scheduled for yesterday.

At the second approval hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that the offer of compensation had been increased to €3,500. Harry´s barrister told Judge Groarke that he was conscious of the recent dismissal of a similar claim in the High Court and that Fingal County Council had prepared a full defence if the claim went to a full hearing.

Having inspected the scar on Harry´s leg, Judge Groarke said that the value of the proposed settlement was still a too low offer of compensation. The judge said that an appropriate settlement should amount to €30,000 and he adjourned the case for another week so that Harry´s solicitor could assess the risk of taking the claim to a full court hearing.

Judges refusing to approve settlements when a too low offer of compensation has been made is happening more frequently. Insurance companies often encourage plaintiffs to accept inappropriate offers for their own financial gain. If you have received an offer of settlement, which you believe may be a too low offer of compensation, you should seek professional legal advice.


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.


Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for a Broken Wrist on Holiday

A Circuit Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation for a broken wrist on holiday in favour of a young girl who was hurt in an accident in Spain.

In June 2014, the Budhe family from Clondalkin in Dublin were enjoying a holiday on the Costa del Sol in Spain. While the family were sitting beside the pool, six-year-old Sophia went to get a drink from the poolside drinks dispenser.

As she had seen other children use a chair to reach the drinks dispenser, Sophia also climbed onto the chair. However, the chair was wet from previous use, and Sophia slipped and fell – landing on her outstretched left wrist.

Sophia´s wrist began to swell the following day, and she was taken to the Accident and Emergency department of a local hospital in Benalmadena, where an X-ray was taken and a soft cast was applied to her wrist.

On the family´s return to Dublin, Sophia attended the Tallaght Hospital where a further X-ray was taken. The soft cast was subsequently replaced with an above-the-elbow plaster back slab, which Sophia was required to wear for several weeks.

Through her father Amar, Sophia claimed compensation for a broken wrist on holiday against the travel agent through which the holiday was booked – Linevana Ltd, of Lower Liffey St, Dublin – and also the tour operator – TUI UK & Ireland.

In the claim it was alleged that both Linevana and TUI UK & Ireland were negligent for not supplying a suitable and safe means for children to reach the drinks dispenser. Both defendants admitted their liability for Sophia´s injuries and a €14,000 settlement of compensation for a broken wrist on holiday was agreed.

Because the claim for compensation for a broken wrist on holiday had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Sophia´s best interests. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of Sophia´s accident and the settlement that had been agreed.

Judge Groarke approved the settlement after hearing that Sophia had made a full recovery. The funds will now be paid into court, where they will be managed in an interest-yielding account until Sophia becomes a legal adult at age eighteen.


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.


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.


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.


€1 Million Compensation for a Trip and Fall Injury Approved

A High Court judge has approved a €1 million settlement of compensation for a trip and fall injury in favour of a man who suffered a brain injury when he fell.

James O´Sullivan (32) was walking through the Muddy Hill Car Park in Mallow, County Cork, late in the evening of December 10, 2007, when he tripped over a base unit which was supporting a Heras fence at the boundary of the car park and fell onto wasteland below.

The fall – estimated to be between twelve and twenty feet – knocked James unconscious and he was taken to Mallow General Hospital before being transferred to Cork University Hospital to receive treatment for a serious head injury.

On his discharge from hospital, James sought legal advice, and made a claim for compensation for a trip and fall injury against Mallow Town Council, Denis Murphy, Kilpatrick Civil Engineering Ltd, and Groundworks on the basis that the unlit car park was dangerous and had exposed him to the risk of loss, injury and damage.

In his action for compensation, James – who lives and works in Mallow – alleged he suffers from forgetfulness since his accident, post-traumatic epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder. He also claims to have suffered a profound neurological impairment as a result of the accident.

The four defendants against whom James claimed compensation for a trip and fall injury each denied their liability. They also contested the extent of James´ injuries. Consequently, the Injuries Board could not adjudicate on his application for assessment and the case proceeded to the High Court.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that a €1 million offer of compensation for a trip and fall injury had been made without admission of liability. After being told that James was willing to accept the offer, the judge approved the settlement – stating that it was a good one in the circumstances as if the case had proceeded, and the defendants´ contention was accepted, there was a risk that James might not receive such a large settlement of compensation for a trip and fall injury.


Child Awarded Compensation for Head Injury in Creche

A five-year-old child has had an agreed settlement of compensation for a head injury in a creche increased by 50 percent during a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

Five year old Madison Davis from Tallaght in Dublin was attending The Little Children´s Creche in Tallaght when, in April 2012, she went to place a cup on a table. As she did so, Madison tripped and hit her head on the corner of the table – the accident resulting in her suffering a deep laceration above the left eyebrow.

Madison was taken to the National Children´s Hospital, where the laceration was closed with steri-strips. She had stitches the following day under an anaesthetic. Unfortunately Madison was left with a 2.5 centimetre scar on her forehead which she will have permanently even if she undergoes cosemetic surgery in the future.

Through her mother – Jennifer Quinn – Madison claimed compensation for a head injury in a creche; alleging that she had been left to carry the cup and traverse the floor without adequate supervision and that Fettercairn Community Childcare Ltd – trading as The Little Children´s Creche – had failed to protect her adequately.

The owners of the creche admitted liability for the accident, and a settlement of €50,000 was agreed in compensation for a head injury in a creche. However, when the case went before Mr Justice Raymond Groake at the Circuit Civil Court for approval of the settlement, the judge found it inadequate for the severity of the injury.

Judge Groake described the scar as “nasty” and said he believed the settlement should be increased by 50 percent as it will affect Madison for the rest of her life. The judge adjourned the hearing in order that the two parties could discuss the revised settlement. On his return, Judge Groake was informed that a settlement of €75,000 had been agreed upon. The judge approved the settlement and wished Madison well for the future.


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.


Girl Awarded Compensation for Slip and Fall in Tesco

A nine-year-old schoolgirl, who was left with a permanent scar after she slipped and banged her head against a supermarket freezer, has been awarded €18,000 compensation for a slip and fall in Tesco.

Angela Prendergast was only six years of age when – in September 2010 – she was shopping with her mother at the Tesco Express Supermarket in Kilcoole, County Wicklow. As Angela and her mother were walking along the frozen food section, Angela slipped on a wet floor surface and banged her head against a steel freezer as she fell.

Although she was given First Aid by a member of Tesco´s staff, Angela´s mother – Ann Prendergast from Kilcoole in County Wicklow – took her to the local hospital, where the wound was cleaned and stitched with glue. Angela still has a two centimetre scar on the right side of her forehead to act as a permanent reminder of the accident.

On her daughter´s behalf, Ann Prendergast made a claim for injury compensation for a slip and fall in Tesco against Tesco Ireland Ltd. Tesco admitted that the negligence of their staff had been a contributory factor in the floor being slippery, and a settlement of €18,000 was negotiated between solicitors representing the two parties.

As the claim for Tesco slip and fall injury compensation had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement of compensation had to be approved before a judge before Angela´s case could be closed; and therefore the circumstances of Angela´s accident were related to Mr Justice Matthew Deery at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

After hearing how Angela had banged her head, and seeing the scar that the little girl had been left with, Judge Deery approved the settlement of compensation for a slip and fall in Tesco, which will now be paid into court funds until Angela reaches the age of eighteen.


Court Resolves Injury Claim for Fall from Roof at Work

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.


Compensation for Missed Knee Fracture Approved in Court

A young woman, whose opportunity to compete in the Special Olympics was denied due to medical negligence, has had her settlement of compensation for a missed knee fracture approved in court.

In May 2009, Amy Rose McGowan (now 31) was in training for the Special Olympics World Games that were scheduled to take place in the summer of 2011 in Athens. Unfortunately, while participating in a 50 metre training race, Amy Rose fell and hurt her knee.

Amy Rose attended Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan, where – after an x-ray had been taken – she was diagnosed with a soft tissue injury and her knee was strapped for support. However, a few months later, a pain started to develop in her knee and Amy Rose saw her GP.

 On inspection of her injury, her doctor discovered that Amy Rose had suffered a depressed fracture which had been overlooked at the hospital. Unfortunately the discovery was made too late for corrective surgery, and Amy Rose had to abandon her dreams of representing Ireland in Athens.

Through her mother – Charlotte McGowan of Trim, County Meath – Amy Rose made a claim for missed knee facture compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that the care, diagnosis and treatment she had received in the emergency department of Our Lady’s Hospital had been negligent.

After an investigation, the HSE acknowledged that the depressed fracture had been overlooked by hospital staff and liability was admitted for Amy Roses´ knee injury. A settlement of compensation for a missed knee fracture was agreed; but, as the claim had been made on behalf of Amy Rose due to her intellectual disability, the settlement had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently, Mr Justice Michael Peart at the High Court in Dublin heard how Amy Rose had previously been a successful swimmer and athlete before her accident and had won 34 medals and 10 trophies. Approving the settlement of €142,000 the judge said it was a pity Amy Rose´s athletics career had been cut short.


Man Settles Injury Claim for Fall Down Stairs of Pub

An eighty year old man, who suffered brain damage when falling down the stairs of the Stags Head in Dublin, has settled his injury claim for a fall down the stairs of a pub for €250,000.

Frank McHugh from Rathgar in Dublin had been enjoying an Easter meal with his family at the Stags Head pub in Dublin when, on April 24th 2011, he left the group to visit the bathroom.

As he descended the stairs to the toilets, Frank tumbled and fell – suffering a fractured skull and brain damage which left him in a coma. Due to the injuries sustained in the fall down the stairs of the pub, Frank has no recollection of the accident and will require permanent care for the rest of his life.

Through his son – Peter McHugh – Frank made an injury claim for a fall down stairs of a pub against Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd – owners of the Stags Head – alleging that there was a failure to provide a safe means of access to the toilets and that no warning signs of the alleged dangers were present in the stairwell.

Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd denied the claim made against the company – arguing that Frank had failed to descend the stairs in a safe manner and had fallen as a result of his own negligence. The company included in its defence CCTV footage of Frank taking the first step of the stairs and then tumbling forward.

At the High Court in Dublin Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that, although Shelbourne O´Brien Ltd contested the injury claim for a fall down stairs in a pub, the company had made an offer of settlement amounting to €250,000. The judge was told that the value of the settlement was a fraction of what a full compensation award might amount to, but the family had been advised to accept it.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine agreed that €250,000 would not go far in care costs, but approved the settlement on the grounds that it was unlikely Frank´s injury claim for a fall down the stairs of a pub would be successful if it went to a full trial due to a lack of evidence.


Claim for Fall from Ladder at Work Resolved after 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.


Compensation for Injury Caused by Broken Chair Awarded in Court

A Canberra woman, who made a claim for compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work, has had her claim resolved in court for more than AU$1 million.

Terry Anne Downie was employed as a team leader for the Community Information and Referral Service in the Australian Capital Territory when, in June 2002, she purchased furniture for her office from the ex-government furniture outlet – Fyshwick – including a chair for her own use at work.

In October of the same year, Terry Anne was sitting on the chair while using the telephone when two legs of the chair snapped and she fell to the floor. A co-worker who saw the accident said that she heard a loud crack and then witnessed Terry Anne struggling to get up.

Terry Anne was taken to hospital, where scans revealed that a bulging disc inflamed by the accident was in contact with a nerve root. Doctors were unable to fix the injury and Terry Anne – now 51 years of age – suffers from ongoing pain, mental illness, sexual dysfunction and a permanent sensation, described in court, of ants under the skin of her legs.

In 2005, Terry Anne was paid Au$190,000 in worker´s compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work but also made a private claim for personal injury compensation against the chair´s importer – Jantom – claiming that the product was faulty when it was supplied to Fyshwick. Terry Anne´s employers also made a claim against Jantom to recover the amount of worker´s compensation they had paid her.

At the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, Judge Master David Harper found in favour of Terry Anne and her employer after hearing expert evidence that plastic moulding on the base of the chair had failed in a catastrophic manner when two of five supporting spokes had broken.

The judge said “Terry Anne has many years ahead of pain and depression. Her life is very different to the life she could have expected if it had not been for her injury. Her enjoyment of life, and the kind of life she is able to lead, have been altered immeasurably.”

He awarded her Au$933,030 compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work plus a further Au$112,000 in special damages to cover her medical expenses. Terry Anne´s employer was also able to recover the compensation already paid to Terry Anne and the costs of raising the claim for an injury caused by a broken chair at work.


Racegoer Awarded Compensation for Slip on Dance Floor

A woman, who slipped and fell while dancing in a bar at Leopardstown Racecourse, has been awarded €28,802 in compensation for a slip on a dance floor after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

Pauline McNamara (60) from Skerries, County Dublin, had visited the racecourse with friends on 28th December 2009 but, after the racing had been cancelled due to fog, retired to “The Fillies Bar” where a disc-jockey was encouraging people to dance in a tiled alcove of the bar.

Pauline was dancing with a man she had just met when she slipped on a wet patch on the floor and fell – hitting her head on the tiles and breaking her left wrist. After seeking medical treatment, Pauline made a claim for injury compensation for her slip on the dance floor, however her claim was contested.

Judge Matthew Deery at the Circuit Civil Court heard evidence from the manager of the bar – Mr Richard Smyth – that the man Pauline had been dancing with had been throwing her around the floor and the accident was caused by his “very rough” actions.

Judge Deery dismissed his defence, stating that impromptu dancing was permitted at the venue, but the bar had an inadequate cleaning system in place to cope with the number of customers it received when racing had been cancelled.

Awarding Pauline €28,802 compensation for a slip on a dance floor, Judge Deery said that the manner in which Pauline had fallen was consistent with the floor having been wet.


Judgement Reserved in Loss of Eye Accident Claim

A decision has been put on hold in respect of a woman´s loss of eye accident claim after evidence in the case was heard at the High Court.

Elaine Newman (27), formerly of Mullingar, County Westmeath, made the injury claim for the loss of an eye against her partner´s parents, following an accident she had at the family´s farmhouse in Delvin, County Westmeath in June 2007.

The court heard that, as Elaine and her partner Emmett Cogan were entering the house through the rear door, Emmett – who was on crutches at the time – tripped and broke one of the glass panes in the door as he tried to arrest his fall.

As the glass from the window pane shattered, splinters covered Elaine´s face and several entered her right eye. She was rushed to Mullingar Hospital, from where she was transferred to the Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin, but – despite surgery – doctors were unable to save the eye.

Elaine subsequently made a loss of eye accident claim against Patrick and Marie Cogan under the Occupier´s Liability Act, but Mr and Mrs Cogan denied liability for her eye injury – claiming that her injuries arose from Emmett´s negligence and Elaine´s own contributory negligence.

Elaine – who now lives in Australia with Emmett and their four-year-old son – told Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill at the High Court that the fitting of an artificial eye had affected her self-esteem and she was constantly worried that she would suffer an injury to her other eye and lose her sight altogether.

However, a report commissioned into the accident concluded that, although there were many unusual features in the description of the accident, the door in which the glass shattered was typical in type and age to farmhouse doors around the country. There was no obligation, the author of the report wrote, to retrofit safety glass in such doors.

After hearing evidence from all parties involved in the loss of eye accident claim, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill adjourned the case with judgement reserved for later consideration.


Ryanair Injury Compensation Claim Settled Before Hearing

A woman, who suffered cuts and bruises after falling down the steps of a Ryanair airplane, has settled her Ryanair injury compensation claim shortly before a hearing into her case was about to commence.

Malgorzata Jeneralczyk (57), from Poznan, Poland, slipped on the mobile steps due to wet weather as she was disembarking from her flight at Dublin airport and fell to the tarmac below.

She was attended by an airport paramedic who recorded her injuries as a laceration to her left eyebrow and bruising to her left shoulder and ribs and her right hand and fingers.

After seeking legal advice, Malgorzata made a claim for injury compensation against Ryanair – claiming that the company had failed in its duty of care to provide passengers with safe transit. Ryanair disputed her claim for 38,000 Euros and were prepared to defend the company´s position in a court hearing.

However, shortly before the hearing was scheduled to begin, the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin heard that Malgorzata had settled her Ryanair injury compensation claim for an undisclosed amount and that costs were to be charged to Ryanair