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.
Vincent McGuinness, a fireman from Dundalk, County Louth, has settled a High Court compensation claim for a five-meter fall from a ladder while fighting a fire at a derelict house at Culhane Street, Dundalk, in February 2004. Mr McGuinness took the action against his employer Dundalk Town Council and the owner of the building that caught fire.
The case against the building owner was on the basis that he failed to secure the premises adequately and failed to ensure that a fire would not occur there. Mr McGuinness was injured while following a direct orders to climb a ladder that was placed by a superior officer against iron guttering, which later collapsed and moved the ladder. Mr McGuinness landed on his back while his breathing apparatus canister was still attached to his back, causing a vertebra injury. Mr McGuinness spent spent three days in hospital and wore a neck brace for three months. Mr McGuinness was unable to work for five months.
It was claimed that a hydraulic ladder that was available on the fire truck at the incident should have been used. The council argued that it had taken all appropriate measures, there was contributory negligence, and that the fire was started by a third party and therefore the council had no liability in law.
The case was settled before the jury made an award, presumably because the defendants were afraid of what a jury would award to a fireman injured while bravely fighting a fire.