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.
A hotel chef has settled his compensation claim for an injury on a team building exercise after the hearing into his claim had already commenced.
In October 2006, Cathal Kavanagh (54) from Ongar in Dublin attended a team-building day organised by his employer – The Carton House Spa and Golf Hotel in Maynooth, County Kildare, where he worked as the executive head chef -at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge.
During the day Cathal and his colleagues from the four star luxury hotel participated in a series of events and games – one of which was a relay race in which Cathal was required to hop forwards and then run backwards. During the race, Cathal slipped, his foot went from underneath him and he broke his wrist in the subsequent fall.
After seeking legal advice from a solicitor, Cathal made a compensation claim for an injury on a team building exercise against his employer, the organisers of the day out – JikiJela Ltd of Tubbercurry in County Sligo – and Kildare County Council, the owners of the Riverbank Arts Centre.
Cathal alleged in his action that all three parties had been negligent by failing to ensure that the activities were safe and by failing to ensure that no danger would be present. The three defendants denied their liability for Cathal´s wrist injury and the Injuries Board issued an Authorisation for the claim to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court.
However, following the lunch break on the first day of the hearing, Mrs Justice Mary Irvine was informed that Cathal´s compensation claim for an injury on a team-building exercise had been settled and that the claim could be struck out.
A man, whose nose was broken as an electric door closed on him, has been awarded €19,000 compensation for an injury at Dublin Airport after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.
Thomas Smyth (63) and his wife Evelyn had travelled down to Dublin Airport from County Cavan in January 2011, to fly to a holiday destination in the Canary Islands. The couple were on their way to board their flight when an automatically-timed electric door suddenly closed on Thomas – breaking his nose.
Thomas was taken to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where the fracture was confirmed, and the couple had to delay their holiday plans for two days while Joseph received treatment and their flights could be re-arranged. Eventually the couple arrived in Tenerife, but their holiday had been ruined by the incident at the airport.
On his return to Ireland, Thomas sought legal advice, and made a claim for compensation for an injury at Dublin Airport against both Aer Lingus – the company with whom the couple were originally flying to Tenerife – and the Dublin Airport Authority. Both parties agreed that an injury due to negligence had occurred, but neither wanted to admit liability.
At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told that a settlement of €19,000 compensation for an injury at Dublin Airport had been agreed to be appropriate; but the question of who was to be considered liable for Thomas´ injury had still to be determined.
After hearing evidence that the door which had automatically closed on Thomas was working properly, and was timed to close after 30 minutes once it had been opened by an Aer Lingus flight attendant, Judge Linnane found the flight company responsible for Thomas´ broken nose. She stated that if Aer Lingus needed longer than thirty minutes to get the passengers on their plane, they should have asked Dublin Airport Authority to extend the time available to them.
A man who was injured while working as a security guard in a popular Dublin bar has given evidence at the Circuit Civil Court in support of his claim for an injury in a nightclub.
Longin Gasiorowski (31) was working on the door of the city´s Traffic nightclub in Middle Abbey Street on 16th July 2007, when a superior gave Longin permission to admit a man who had previously been known to cause trouble in the club.
Later during the evening, while patrolling the inside of the club, Longin saw the man arguing with another patron and attempted to summon colleagues to assist him but found that his radio was not working properly. Longin tried to restrain the man by himself but, while doing so, was hit on the head by another man wielding a broken glass bottle.
Longin was immediately taken by taxi to the Emergency Department of St James´ Hospital, where he was treated for multiple lacerations – one of them 3cm in length which left a visible scar behind his ear. Longin was detained in hospital overnight and discharged the following morning with his wounds sutured and his head heavily bandaged.
After seeking legal advice, Longin made a claim for an injury in a nightclub against the owner of the Traffic nightclub – Cyril O´Brien – and his employers, P&B Security Services Limited of Kilwarden, County Kildare; alleging that the two defendants had allowed the nightclub to open without sufficient security staff.
The two defendants denied their liability for Longin´s injuries but, after Longin had given evidence before Mr Matthew Deery at the Circuit Civil Court, the judge was told that the two sides had agreed a preliminary undisclosed settlement of Longin´s claim for an injury in a nightclub and he adjourned the case to allow the parties to implement the settlement.
Dublin South County Council has been found 100 percent responsible in a road crossing accident claim after a hearing at the High Court in Dublin.
The claim was brought by Linda Dargen Burgess from Tallaght, Dublin, on behalf of her son Brandon who – at the age of thirteen – was hit by a motorist at the junction of the Tallaght Bypass and Killinarden Way while trying to cross the road at a temporary crossing erected by the council.
Brandon suffered a serious head injury in the accident and fractures to his arms and legs, and missed a significant period of his education while he recovered from his injuries. As a consequence of his accident, Brandon has now left school without completing his Leaving Certificate.
Brandon´s mother made a claim for road crossing accident compensation against both the driver of the car – James Mulholland from Dundrum, Dublin – and Dublin South County Council, claiming that the way in which the temporary crossing had been set up made it extremely difficult for pedestrians to access the signal box.
It was further alleged that the placement of a Dublin South County Council vehicle at the crossing had obscured the lights on the central island and it was impossible to see whether the signal crossing man was at green or red. Both James Mulholland and Dublin South County Council disputed liability.
In the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine dismissed the road crossing accident claim against Mr Mulholland, after hearing that he had been driving within the speed limit with a green light ahead of him. Ms Justice Mary Irvine agreed with the defendant that even if he was keeping a proper lookout, he did not have a realistic chance of seeing Brandon before he stepped out in front of the car.
She also dismissed claims of contributory negligence made against Brandon by the council, who had alleged that Brandon had failed to take adequate care for his own safety before stepping out into the road. The judge said that in the circumstances she was satisfied that the positioning of the signal box and blocking of the lights on the central island amounted to negligence by the council and found them 100 percent liable for Brandon´s injuries.
Awarding compensation for a road crossing accident of €826,818, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said that, but for the accident, Brandon would have completed his studies at school and will now have a completely different type of future as a result of his injuries.
A woman who caught the heel of her shoe in a hole on a travelator in a Dublin shopping centre has been awarded €13.150 in compensation for a fall on a moving walkway after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.
Nuala Holloway Casey (60) from Blackrock in Dublin brought her action against Secret Retail Holdings (trading as Superquinn Shopping Centre) and Kine (Ireland) Limited, travelator and escalator fitters, of Ballymount, County Dublin, after suffering an ankle injury at the Superquinn Shopping Centre in December 2007.
Judge Barry Hickson in the Circuit Civil Court heard that on December 21st 2007, Nuala had caught the high heel of her shoe in a hole at the entrance to a descending moving walkway and fallen heavily – damaging her left ankle. Nuala told the court that she still suffered pain in the ankle and had been forced to give up playing tennis because of the injury.
The court also heard that liability for the injury had been admitted by the joint defendants but how much compensation for a fall on a moving walkway Nuala should receive was in dispute as Nuala had failed to visit her doctor for 10 days after the accident and exacerbated her injury by a separate fall in 2009.
After reviewing the medical evidence in support of Nuala´s claim, Judge Hickson awarded the former Miss Ireland €12,000 compensation for the fall on the moving walkway plus an additional €1,250 to account for the expenses she had incurred which were directly attributable to her accident.
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.
A student, who was hit on the head by the wing mirror of a council works vehicle, has been awarded €300,000 in compensation for his pedestrian hit by a truck claim at the High Court.
Ciaran Chestnutt (25) of Greystones, County Wicklow, told Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill at the High Court that he did not remember a great deal about the accident because of the injuries he had sustained, but had been told he was standing at pedestrian traffic lights on Paddy Brown’s Road, Waterford, on October 26, 2007 when he was struck by the mirror of a passing truck.
As a result of his accident, Ciaran suffered brain damage which reduced his memory capacity and caused him to lose his senses of taste and smell. He also suffers a permanent black spot in the vision of his right eye and will have a permanent scar on his forehead as a reminder of the accident. Because of his accident, he also lost a year at college where he was studying architectural technology.
Having sought legal advice, Ciaran made a claim for compensation for a pedestrian hit by a truck. However Waterford City Council – which owned the truck – and its employee who had been driving the truck at the time of the accident, Michael Coyne, denied their liability – claiming that Ciaran was the author of his own misfortune by walking into the truck.
After hearing evidence from witnesses representing both parties, Mr Justice Iarflaith O´Neill said he was satisfied the accident was caused by the negligence of the driver for whom the Council was vicariously liable. Awarding Ciaran €300,000 in compensation for a pedestrian hit by a truck, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill said Ciaran´s injuries have had a huge impact on his life, but he had done extremely well coping with his injury and had got his academic career back on track.
A woman, who sustained neck injuries due to a rear-end crash on a go-karting track, has been awarded more than 9,000 Euros in go-karting accident compensation at the Circuit Civil Court.
Karen Wimpory (31) from Maidenhead in Berkshire was visiting Dublin in March 2009 with friends on a hen weekend when, as part of the celebration, she and her friends decided to try their hand at go-kart racing at Kylemore Indoor Karting racetrack.
Having signed a disclaimer which carried a warning that motor sport could be dangerous and “in the absence of any negligence on the part of the company” she was participating entirely at her own risk, Karen watched a safety video before climbing into her go-kart for a four-circuit warm-up.
It was at the end of this warm-up, Karen claimed, that she and other racers had been forced to brake abruptly because a race marshal had stepped on to the track. Although Karen was able to stop in time, another driver had crashed into the back of her kart, pushing her neck and shoulders backwards and leaving with neck injuries similar to whiplash.
After seeking legal advice, Karen made a claim for go-karting accident compensation against Grovepark Services Ltd., which trades as Kylemore Karting, alleging that her neck injuries were attributable to the negligence of the company. Grovepark Services denied that they were liable and the claim proceeded to court.
At the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard that although Karen had watch the safety video and signed the disclaimer before commencing her warm-up, there had been no instruction given about what to do when traffic warning lights on the racetrack were illuminated.
Judge Deery was also told by racetrack designer Stewart Cosgrave and race controller Denis Gaffney that, although it was improbable that a race marshal would walk onto the circuit in front of karts travelling in excess of 20 miles per hour, the marshal in question had since died in a road traffic accident and would be unable to provide evidence.
After hearing evidence from forensic engineer Pat Cullerton that the karts did not have headrests or neck restraints fitted, and that novice karters should have also been instructed to sit at full extension when driving, Mr Justice Matthew Deery found in Karen´s favour and awarded her 9,064 Euros in go-karting accident compensation plus costs.
A woman, who suffered facial injuries when she walked into a shop shutter, has had her compensation claim for an accident in a newsagents settled at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.
Yvonne McEvoy (42) from Clondalkin, Dublin, had been shopping in Tuthill´s Newsagents in the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre when, in October 2010, she was distracted by a Halloween display as she was leaving the shop and walked into a partly closed shutter.
The shutter, Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court was told, was often partly closed as the shop was about to shut to dissuade new customers from entering, but Yvonne failed to hear the warning shouted to her by a shop assistant and walked straight into it – sustaining an injury to the left side of her face.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard from forensic engineer Alan Conlon that CCTV video of the incident showed a previous customer ducking underneath the shutter as he left the shop, but that Yvonne was looking to her right as she walked towards the exit. The judge also heard that Yvonne had fallen pregnant in 2011 and was unable to take painkillers to ease the pain.
Finding Tuthill´s Newsagents negligent by lowering the shutter while there were still customers in the shop, Judge Jacqueline Linnane found in favour of Yvonne and awarded her 17,500 Euros in settlement of her compensation claim for an accident in a newsagents.
A young girl, who sustained a serious neck injury after the crossbar of a goal fell on her head, has had her settlement of compensation for a football injury approved in the High Court.
Jessica Fidgeon Cush (17) from Lusk, County Dublin, was just eleven years of age when her accident happened in October 2006. While playing in goal for Round Towers Lusk GAA in a Gaelic football game at the at the Starlights GAA Club in Collinstown, North Dublin, the crossbar fell from the goalposts and hit Jessica on head.
X-rays taken on her arrival at hospital revealed that Jessica had a lucky escape. Her sixth vertebrae was broken but, had the crossbar had hit her once inch either side of her injury, she would have been killed or paralysed. Jessica was required to wear a neck brace while her injury healed, but also suffered from headaches, nightmares and flashbacks, and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after developing a fear of dying.
Through her father – Philip – Jessica made a claim for compensation for a football injury against the Gaelic Athletic Association, as the GAA are responsible for the organisation, control and supervision of Gaelic games in the State. In the action it was claimed that the goalposts had been allowed to remain in an unsafe condition, that no inspection of the goalposts had been undertaken and that there was a failure to ensure that the crossbar was adequately secured to the goalposts.
At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns was told that the case before him was only for the approval of damages, as a compensation settlement of 50,000 Euros had been agreed between the two parties. After hearing the details of the case, Mr Justice Kearns approved the settlement of compensation for a football injury which will be paid into court for one year until Jessica reaches the age of eighteen.
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
A woman from Jacksonville, Florida, has been awarded 13 million dollars in compensation for an elevator fall thirteen years after her horrifying accident occurred.
Janice Beasley (41) was made the award by a jury at Duval County Courthouse after a two-week trial in which the court heard how, in May 1999, Janice was a passenger in an elevator at the office building in which she worked.
The jury were told how the elevator had malfunctioned and fallen from the twenty-third floor to the eighth and how, when an elevator engineer was summoned, rather than extract Janice from the elevator, he sent the elevator – with Janice inside of it – falling down to the basement of the building.
As a result of her experience, Janice suffered multiple bruising which developed into Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and left her wheelchair-bound with partial paralysis of her left leg. Janice was also diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression as a result of her accident.
Janice made a claim for compensation for the elevator fall against the building´s owners Highwoods Properties Inc and Schindler Elevator Company – claiming that Highwoods were responsible for the initial malfunction and Schindler Elevator Company for her second accident.
Schindler Elevator Company denied liability and went to great lengths to avoid going to trial. However, after a ten-year delay in court proceedings, the case was eventually heard – resulting in an award of compensation for an elevator fall against both defendants amounting to just over 13 million dollars.
A seventy-nine year old woman, who sustained a broken shoulder after the shopping trolley she was taking down a shopping centre travelator ran away from her, has been awarded 30,000 compensation for shopping trolley injury at the Circuit Civil Court.
Rosaleen Hill from Terenure in Dublin had been returning the shopping trolley to the underground car park of the Ashleaf Shopping Centre when the accident occurred in March 2009. Having completed her shopping in Dunnes Stores, Rosaleen took the downward travelator to the car park, at which point the shopping trolley started to roll away from her. Rosaleen attempted to hold on to her shopping but in her efforts fell to the ground and was dragged along the travelator surface.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court heard that Jacqueline sustained a broken right should in three places and a lacerated knee. She also heard that Rosaleen had made a claim for shopping trolley injury compensation against the owners of the shopping centre, the management company and Dunnes Stores; but Dunnes Stores had denied their liability, claiming that the trolley responsible for Rosaleen´s injury was not one of theirs.
The judge heard testimony from a forensic engineer and a representative of the company that supplied Dunnes Stores with its shopping trolleys which confirmed the store´s claims that the shopping trolley was not one of theirs. The court heard that the shopping trolley had smooth wheels rather than the corrugated rubber ones which lock into the grooves on the travelator surface and that the rogue trolley had possibly been left in the common shopping trolley area by shopfitters who had been working in the shopping centre of the day of Rosaleen´s accident.
Finding Gary Smith, trading as The Ashleaf Shopping Centre and Kessow Limited – the management company responsible for health and safety at the shopping centre – jointly liable for Rosaleen´s injuries, Judge Jacqueline Linnane ordered that Rosaleen should be awarded 30,000 Euros in compensation for the shopping trolley injury.
A woman who walked into a Dublin advertising poster, and sustained head and neck injuries, has settled her compensation claim for low hanging poster injury for 38,000 Euros.
Sandra Memery (48) was leaving her local MacDonald´s restaurant with her daughter on 16th September 2009 when the accident occurred. Having turned back towards her daughter to give her a bag, she started walking forward again, and immediately hit her head on the corner of the low hanging poster campaigning on behalf of Fianna Fail for a “Yes” vote in the second Lisbon Treaty referendum.
After feeling unwell for a day, Sandra visited her doctor, where she was diagnosed with lacerations to her scalp, a swelling over her right temporal and soft tissue damage to her neck. Sandra, who is 5 ft 5 in tall (1.65m) made a compensation claim for low hanging poster injury, stating that the campaign poster should have a minimum of three metres clearance from the floor.
Contesting the claim, Fianna Fail and Executive Posters Ltd jointly claimed that Sandra was responsible for her own injuries through contributory negligence and should have paid more attention to where she was walking. However, shortly before Sandra´s case was about to be heard at Dublin´s Circuit Civil Court, her legal representatives announced to the court that a compensation settlement had been agreed upon in the amount of 38,000 Euros.
Megan Ledden, now aged 14 years, of Glasnevin, Dublin, has been awarded €20,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court in a case against a minibus owner following an accident where she was struck in the head by a wing mirror.
The accident occurred on a pedestrian crossing on Old Finglas Road in March 2007. Ledden was knocked unconscious as she fell back and hit her head on the ground. Ledden suffered a laceration on the right side of her forehead and bruising on her right knee. The result was permanent faint scarring under the hairline on her forehead, although fortunately it is not visible.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery approved the settlement and also awarded legal costs.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine has dismissed a personal injury claim by a student because he “deliberately misled” the court. He was lucky that she just dismissed the claim and did not inflict additional punishment. Alan Danagher, a student aged 22 from County Laois, was claiming against the owners of Mr O’s Nightclub in Templemore, County Tipperary, for assault on December 26th, 2005.
Mr. Danagher claimed that he was knocked to the ground by two third-party individuals and then assaulted while being forcefully removed from the premises by nightclub staff.
There was no doubt that he sustained some level of injuries when hitting his head on the ground and he was injured in a public place with witnesses. There appeared to be questions about contributory negligence and the level of injuries sustained.
There were a number of factors that indicate that Mr. Danagher was going to receive substantial compensation for his level of injuries:
He attended his GP doctor 50 times, indicating extremely severe problems
He attended physiotherapy 70 times, indicating a sustained injury problem
His claim was very well prepared, including both physical and psychological injuries
The impact on his lifestyle was documented, including being unable to play sports or participate in certain social activities and dropping out of Waterford Institute of Technology due to depression.
However, Mr. Danagher’s case was damaged by his own actions:
He updated his Facebook page to show his continued sporting activities, including hurling, rugby, and football.
He also updated his Facebook page to show social activities, as Ms Justice Irvine described as his “apparent enthusiasm for nightclubs, dancing and drinking”.
He denied participation in a charity parachute jump six months after he sustained his injury, despite photographic evidence, which Ms Justice Irvine described as “an act of dishonesty done to advance his claim”.
A personal injury case is helped if you seek medical attention whenever it is required and damaged by not receiving medical attention when you do actually need medical help. But while the medical records of repeated medical treatments will certainly help build the case for the severity of an injury and therefore the amount of financial compensation, excessive visits for relatively minor injuries will not fool an experienced judge. And there are no inexperienced judges.
Be well-prepared for court and ensure you have all your facts correct. Never under any circumstances try to mislead the court.
Taxi driver Gerard McWilliams of Tallaght, County Dublin has settled an injury claim against Eircom for a twisted ankle that was hurt on a manhole.
Mr McWilliams claimed he was injured when he twisted his ankle on the edge of an old P&T steel manhole cover outside his home. Mr McWilliams said he was in immediate pain and was taken to Tallaght Hospital. He claimed that he had ongoing pain and discomfort and following initial treatment, he was eventually fitted with a plaster cast. Mr McWilliams claimed ongoing pain.
The compensation claim against Eircom stated that they were negligent and in breach of duty of care towards McWilliams in relation to their ongoing maintenance, repair, upkeep, and supervision of the manhole cover.
Unlike most cases, this injury claim was not initially settled out of court and Eircom decided to contest the injury claim to the High Court.
Barney Quirke, counsel for Eircom, questioned Mr. McWIlliams about 13 or 14 previous personal injuries claims, mentioning incidents in 1987, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2001. Mr McWilliams stated that he may have been involved in 10 or 11 personal injury claims in the past but could not remember the exact details.
The number of claims by McWilliams was defended by his own counsel as “accident-prone” while McWilliams emphasized that the accidents “were not my fault”.
The court was told that McWilliams had been described by a judge in a previous injury claim case as “the luckiest or the unluckiest man” due to the number of injuries from accidents.
However, the number of past injury compensation claims has no direct influence on the validity of the current injury compensation claims, unless some intent at fraud is demonstrated. Mr McWilliams claim was professionally prepared with appropriate medical evidence and there was no proof that this particular claim was in any way incorrect.
The claim was settled out of court, like the vast majority of personal injury claims.
The Injuries Board Ireland figures for 2009 reveal that 25,919 new injury claims were made, an increase of 5% on 2008. There were 8,645 claims settled in 2009 for the amount offered by Injuries Board Ireland. The difference between the high volume of applications and and the comparatively small number of settlements is normal because only about 20% of claims are settled for the amount offered by the Injuries Board (the rest are settled before an offer is made, go directly to Court, or are rejected as too low).
The total value of the award offers that were accepted was over €200 million, averaging €23,163 per award.
Francesca De Cataldo, an Italian interior designer living in Killiney, County Dublin, has been awarded €12,240 in damages following a metal frying pan falling down a stairwell in the Avoca shop on Suffolk Street, Dubin in June 2005.
The only member of Avoca staff who was a witness had not seen the object falling. However, Circuit Court President Mr Justice Matthew Deery found Ms. De Cataldo’s testimony that she was hit by a frying pan credible.
Although there were no fractures or cuts, Ms De Cataldo testified that she suffered from headaches, stiffness in her neck and shoulders, light-headedness, feelings of nausea, vomiting, and sleeplessness. The injuries and circumstances make it plausable that the victim has whiplash symptoms.