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.


Appeal against Health Club Injury Compensation Award Dismissed

An appeal against a €30,000 health club injury compensation award, made in favour of a woman injured in a swimming pool accident, has been dismissed.

In November 2011, a thirty-two year old guest of the West Wood Health Club in Dublin broke her two upper front teeth when she dived into the health club´s swimming pool and hit her face on the pool´s shallow bottom. The woman claimed health club injury compensation and, in May 2015, was awarded €30,000 by Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court. The West Wood Health Club appealed the award, arguing that the plaintiff had contributed to her accident and injury through her own negligence.

The appeal hearing took place earlier this week before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, who was told the plaintiff had never visited the club before and had dived into the pool straight after coming out of the sauna. As the pool was a full-length 50 metre pool, she had assumed that – like most pools of that size – the depth of the water would be 2 metres. However, the pool had a single depth of just 1.35 metres.

The judge also heard there were no signs erected to warn guests at the club not to jump or dive into the pool. According to the plaintiff´s counsel, there was no reason for the plaintiff to believe that the pool was not safe. The club´s assertion that a lifeguard was present at all times was refuted by the plaintiff´s own testimony that she had to go to the reception area of the club to report her accident and seek medical assistance as there was nobody by the poolside to help her.

Dismissing the allegations of contributory negligence, Judge Noonan also dismissed the appeal. On hearing that the plaintiff had flown to Hungary to have crowns fitted to her two broken teeth, and that she would require replacement crowns every five to ten years, the judge increase t original award of health club injury compensation to €38,097, and commented the West Wood Club should consider itself fortunate that the plaintiff´s claim was not originally heard in a court of higher jurisdiction.


New Book of Quantum to Bring Consistency to Personal Injury Awards in Ireland

A revised Book of Quantum is expected to bring consistency to personal injury awards in Ireland when it is published in the next few weeks.

The Book of Quantum is a publication used to assess how much compensation a plaintiff is entitled to for a physical injury sustained in an accident for which they were not to blame. The Book lists a comprehensive selection of physical injuries and assigns each a range of financial values according to their severity and permanence.

As it was first published in 2004, the Book of Quantum has been criticised in recent years for being out of date. Judges, solicitors and insurance companies have sometimes ignored the Book´s guidelines – or automatically defaulted to the highest value in the range – when calculating personal injury awards in Ireland, resulting in inconsistencies in compensation settlements.

Now, after lengthy discussions between the senior judges, the Courts Service and the Injuries Board – and research into 52,000 personal injury awards in Ireland during 2013 and 2014 – a revised Book of Quantum is due to be published within the next few weeks. Those involved in its preparations say the updated publication will bring greater consistency to personal injury awards in Ireland.

As well as updating the financial values assigned to physical injuries, the revised Book of Quantum includes more degrees of severity and permanence. This higher level of granularity will enable judges, solicitors and insurance companies – and, to a degree, the Injuries Board – to more accurately assess personal injury awards in Ireland.

Although the revised guidelines and greater consistency they will bring are to be welcomed, it should be noted that personal injury awards in Ireland are not solely calculated on the extent and permanence of a physical injury. If you have been injured in an accident for which you were not at fault, you may also be entitled to compensation for your emotional trauma or any deterioration in your quality of life. For this reason, you should always seek professional legal advice from a personal injuries solicitor.


Bicycle Courier Awarded Taxi Accident Injury Compensation

A bicycle courier has been awarded €30,000 taxi accident injury compensation after claims that he contributed to the cause of the accident were dismissed.

In March 2015, Rotimi Omotayo was cycling between carriageways on Custom House Quay, when a taxi driven by Kenneth Griffin pulled out from a line of stationary traffic, knocking Rotimi from his bike.

Fortunately, Rotimi escaped serious injury, but when he applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his injuries, consent to conduct the assessment was denied on the grounds of contributory negligence.

The Injuries Board issued Rotimi with an authorisation to pursue his claim for taxi accident injury compensation in court, and the case was heard recently by Mr Justice Bernard Barton at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barton heard witnesses on behalf of both parties testify how the accident happened – the significant issue being if Rotimi had been in breach of Road Traffic Regulations by cycling in the hatched area.

After hearing that Rotimi was delivering to the river side of the Quay, and had every entitlement to cycle in the outside lane before turning right, Judge Barton found in his favour. The judge said that Rotimi had the right of way and was sufficiently close to Kenneth Griffin to give the taxi driver a duty of care.

Judge Barton dismissed the claim of contributory negligence and assigned full liability to Mr Griffin for pulling out into bicycle courier´s path. However, when it came to assessing damages, Judge Barton said he was not going to rely on the Book of Quantum as it was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.

Instead the judge applied the principals of Tort law to award Rotimi €30,000 taxi accident injury compensation for his general damages. With regard to his claim for special damages, Judge Barton said there was insufficient evidence to justify Rotimi´s alleged loss of earnings due to his injuries. The judge allowed “properly vouched and agreed” special damages – including Rotimi´s legal costs.


Claim for an Accident at Dublin Zoo Resolved at High Court

A woman´s claim for an accident at Dublin Zoo has been resolved following a hearing at the High Court and an award of €105,000 injury compensation.

In June 2011, forty-three year old Gwen Kane took her family to Dublin Zoo to celebrate the birthday of her youngest son. As she was pushing her son in his buggy alongside the sea lion enclosure, Gwen slipped on a manhole cover that was still wet from the previous night´s rain and fell, dislocating her right ankle.

Gwen – from Firhouse in Dublin – was taken to hospital, where her ankle was put into a plaster cast. The cast remained in place for seven weeks, after which Gwen was on crutches for a further nine weeks until her ankle had fully healed. Despite being able to discard the crutches, Gwen still experiences pain in her ankle.

Gwen applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation but, even though the Zoological Society of Ireland consented to the assessment, the Injuries Board figure was contested. Gwen was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim for an accident at Dublin Zoo through the courts.

At the subsequent hearing at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr heard that the Zoological Society of Ireland had agreed it had been negligent by failing to clear rainwater away from walkways and viewing and that, as a consequence of her accident, Gwen was unable to continue her hobbies of Breton folk dancing, cycling and long-distance walking.

Judge Barr awarded Gwen €105,000 in settlement of her claim for an accident at Dublin Zoo – commenting he was satisfied Gwen had given a fair and accurate account of the consequences of her accident. In addition to the settlement for her pain and suffering, the judge also awarded Gwen €9,988 special damages to account for the financial cost of her injury.


Claim for Slipping on Wet Leaves at Work Resolved in Court

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pony Trek Injury Claim for Compensation Settled during Court Hearing

A pony trek injury claim for compensation, made by a woman who alleged she was given an unsuitable pony to ride, has been settled during a court hearing.

On 15th July 2013, Maria Gray (35) from Belfast was one of a party of friends celebrating a hen weekend by taking a pony trek at Feeney’s Riding School in Thonabrocky near Galway City. After the group had done some trotting, the friends made their way down an incline.

It was at this point that the legs on Maria´s pony – “Chancer” – buckled, and Maria was thrown onto the tarmac. Maria suffered several injuries in the accident and received stitches for a cut to her chin, which have left a visible scar.

Maria – a dentist by trade – also suffered an injury to her wrist. The injury deteriorated and Maria had to wear a splint for eight weeks, during which time she was unable to work and had to undergo physiotherapy.

After seeking legal advice, Maria made a pony trek injury claim for compensation against the owners of the riding school – Gerard and Siobhan Feeney. In her claim, Maria alleged that the pony she had been given to ride was unsuitably small for a 10 stone 5lb woman, 5 foot 8½ inches in height and that it was “on its last legs”.

The Feeney´s denied that Chancer was too small for Maria to ride and contested Maria´s other allegation that she had been given no instructions on how to ride the pony. Due to the dispute over liability, the Injuries Board was unable to conduct an assessment and Maria was given an authorization to pursue her pony trek injury claim for compensation in court.

The case opened last week before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam at the High Court. However, prior to the second day of the hearing, Judge Fullam was told that the pony trek injury claim for compensation had been settled for an undisclosed amount and the case could be struck.


Judge Approves €17,500 Settlement of Clothing Injury Claim

A judge has approved the €17,500 settlement of a clothing injury claim made against designer label company Ralph Lauren in favour of a five-year-old girl.

Shortly after her birth in April 2010, Amelia Duhy was bought a Ralph Lauren dress and pants combination as a gift from the Brown Thomas store in Dublin. When she was aged ten weeks, Amelia´s parents – Robert and Julie Duhy from Drogheda in County Louth – took their daughter on holiday and dressed her in the designer label combination.

One evening, as Amelia was being prepared for bed, Julie noticed red welds on her daughter´s outer thighs. On the family´s return home, Julie took Amelia to her GP, who dismissed an allergic reaction and referred Amelia to a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon. The plastic surgeon identified the welds as “secondary to a tight constriction band”.

Once the cause of the marks had been identified, the dress and pants combination was examined by an expert in the technology of elastic fabrics. He determined that the elastic used in the garment was twice as powerful as would be recommended for an adult. Julie subsequently sought legal advice and made a clothing injury claim against Ralph Lauren Ireland Limited.

The designer label company entered a full defence against the clothing injury claim; but, as Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told at the Circuit Civil Court, also offered a settlement of €17,500. The judge also heard that, for two and a half years, Julie had to massage Bio oil into her daughter´s thighs until the marks eventually disappeared.

After hearing that the Ralph Lauren New York brand had been stitched into the Chinese-manufactured dress and pants combination, but that the elastic had never broken Amelia´s skin – and the wounds had never wept – Judge Groarke approved the settlement of the clothing injury claim and closed the hearing.


Dublin Bar Injury Compensation Claim Settled at High Court

A Dublin bar injury compensation claim has been settled at the High Court in favour of a woman who dislocated her thumb in a slip and fall accident.

On May 28th 2011, Sharon Kelly (44) from County Offaly attended a thirtieth birthday party at the Arc Café Bar on the Fonthill Road in Dublin. Shortly after midnight, Sharon crossed the wooden floor in the lobby area to go to the bathroom, slipped on some liquid spilt on the floor and dislocated her thumb as she fell.

In pain from her injury – which has left her with a loss of sensation in the tip of her thumb and a reduced pinch grip – Sharon sought legal advice and made a Dublin bar injury compensation claim against Lackabeg Limited trading as the Arc Café Bar, alleging that there had been a failure to monitor the floor surfaces and take corrective action when a risk of injury was identified.

Lackabeg Limited denied liability for Sharon´s injury, and contested the Dublin bar injury compensation claim on the grounds that the bar had a comprehensive cleaning system in place. The owners of the bar alleged that Sharon had been drinking at the party for more than five hours and was wearing four-inch heels at the time of her accident.

With liability contested, the Injuries Board issued Sharon with an authorisation to pursue her Dublin bar injury compensation claim in court. Consequently, the case was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

During the hearing, Judge Barr was told that the liquid on the floor could either have been caused by a patron spilling their drink or water being walked out from the ladies toilet. The judge accepted the evidence of two other women that the toilets in the public bar had been in poor condition that night and complaints were made to bar staff.

The judge also reviewed CCTV footage of Sharon´s slip and fall accident, and heard that the bar had been particularly busy that evening due to a two-for-one drinks promotion to promote a televised Champions League football match. The judge said he was satisfied that there was liquid on the wooden floor where Sharon slipped and fell.

Awarding Sharon €90,000 in settlement of her Dublin bar injury compensation claim, Judge Barr said: “People cannot be expected to look at the floor when walking across a bar. She was entitled to expect that the floor was dry and it was safe for her to walk across it.”


Compensation for Emotional Shock during a Mock Armed Robbery Approved by Judge

Two settlements of compensation for emotional shock during a mock armed robbery have been approved by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court.

Eight-year-old Casie and eleven-year-old Abbie Kennedy were shopping with their mother in the Dundrum Shopping Centre in March 2013, when they heard a man swearing at the staff in the H&M shop – ordering them to open the till and get on the ground.

Trapped in the shop´s changing room, and unaware that they were witnessing part of a training exercise, Claudia and her terrified daughters stayed in the changing room until the shouting stopped. Only then did Claudia look outside the door of the changing room; but, unable to see anything, she kept the girls in the changing room until she could hear voices in the shop.

Claudia escorted the sisters into the store and asked the manager what had happened. Angry that nobody had thought to check for the presence of customers in the changing room before staging the mock armed robbery, Claudia rang the H&M head office in England to complain.

Unhappy with a curt apology and the offer of a €30 voucher, Claudia claimed compensation for emotional shock during a mock armed robbery on behalf of her daughters. In her legal action against H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd, Claudia alleged that Casie and Abbie had feared for their lives and the life of their mother during the incident.

H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd made offers of compensation for emotional shock during a mock armed robbery to Casie (€8,000) and Abbie (€10,000). At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Rory MacCabe heard the family was willing to accept the offers and, after hearing that Casie and Abbie continued to suffer nightmares as a result of their experience, the judge approved the settlements.


Mother Files Claim for a Child being Scalded on an Aer Lingus Flight

A woman from New York has filed a claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight after her son was burned by hot liquid being spilled on him.

The claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight does not contain much in the way of detail about how the accident happened, only that the unnamed boy flying from Dublin to JFK International Airport in New York was “injured as a result of scalding hot liquid” on June 30th, 2014.

The boy´s mother alleges that her son´s injuries occurred as a result of negligence by a member of the flight crew – a claim that Aer Lingus denies – and that, as a result of the accident, the boy “was deprived of his enjoyment of life, pursuits and interests and in the future will be deprived on the same”.

Under the Montreal Convention, Aer Lingus is liable to pay compensation for any avoidable injuries that occur during a flight irrespective of how the injury occurred. Negotiations to resolve the claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight are scheduled to take place at the end of the month. It is understood that the airline has requested a copy of the boy´s medical records to assess the level of compensation he may be entitled to.

Mediation Continuing in Second Aer Lingus Scalding Injury Claim

The claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight is the second claim of this nature that the airline has received recently in the US. Last August, a similar claim was filed in Jacksonville, Florida, on behalf of a ten-year-old girl allegedly scalded by hot tea during a flight from Dublin to Orlando.

The parents of the injured ten-year-old are claiming $75,000 compensation for the burns sustained by their daughter, when hot tea spilled onto her from a cup on which the lid had not been properly attached. The girl – who prior to her accident was a “successful amateur competitive surfer” – suffered burns to her lower torso and thighs and may need plastic surgery in the future.

Although Aer Lingus is again liable for compensation under the Montreal Convention, the airline is disputing the amount of compensation being claimed. Mediation is continuing in this Aer Lingus scalding injury claim in the hope that a suitable compromise can be agreed without the need for court action.

Aer Lingus Flight Injury Compensation Awarded in Ireland

The claims against Aer Lingus in the US for a child being scalded on a flight are not the first that the airline has had to contend with. In June 2011, five-year-old Sophie Gorman from Knocklyon in Dublin was scalded on an Aer Lingus flight from London when a stewardess attempted to place a cup of tea on the table in front of Sophie´s mother, and spilled some of the hot tea on Sophie´s leg.

On her daughter´s behalf, Sophie´s mother made a claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight due to the ongoing treatment Sophie had to receive after returning to Dublin and the small pigment irregularity Sophie now has on her leg. In July 2012, a €7,000 offer of settlement from Aer Lingus was approved in the Dublin Circuit Civil Court by Mr Justice Matthew Deery.


Emotional Trauma Compensation awarded to Fourteen-Year-Old Boy

A judge has awarded a fourteen-year-old boy €51,244 emotional trauma compensation after hearing how a fire in the family´s home had traumatised him.

On June 26th, 2010, the home of the Monds family from Kinnegad in County Westmeath was devastated after a Hotpoint dishwasher caught on fire late in the evening. The family´s four children were safely evacuated from the burning house by their parents, but the property was not habitable again until spring the following year.

One of the four children – Aaron – was only nine-years-old at the time. Aaron had already been diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability and he was severely traumatised by the fire. He developed an irrational fear of fire and, for years after the event, had symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder that included checking and re-checking electrical appliances were switched off and unplugged.

Through his father – Henry Monds – Aaron made a claim for emotional trauma compensation against Indesit UK Ltd, the manufacturer of the Hotpoint dishwasher. As an investigation had attributed the fire to a fault in the electrical appliance, liability was admitted, and the claim for emotional trauma compensation went to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Bernard Barton heard that Aaron had suffered night terrors about fire and burning for many years after the devastation of the family home. The judge also heard that Aaron´s condition was improving after years of therapy, however he still had anxiety attacks about the possibility of another fire during the night.

Judge Barton accepted the medical evidence that Aaron was suffering residual symptoms of a post- traumatic stress disorder consequent upon the fire in the family home. He awarded Aaron €51,244 emotional trauma compensation and ordered that the settlement will be paid into court funds until Aaron reaches the age of eighteen.


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.


Castolin Eutectic Employee Awarded Compensation for a Pallet Truck Accident

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


Flight Attendant Claims Compensation for Injuries during a Landing

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

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

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

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

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

The hearing at the Four Courts continues tomorrow.


Court Approves Settlement of Compensation for a Finger Injury in a Door Accident

The Circuit Civil Court has approved a €40,000 settlement of compensation for a finger injury in a door accident in favour of a nine-year-old girl.

In November 2012, Julia Roman severed her fingertip and lost a nail when her finger caught between the doors of the Doc Morris Pharmacy in Lucan, County Dublin. Julia – who was just six years old at the time – was taken by her father to the Emergency Department of Our Lady´s Children´s Hospital in Crumlin, where doctors were able to reattach the fingertip while Julia was under a general anaesthetic.

Julia had to attend the hospital on several occasions so that doctors could check on how her injury was healing and to have her dressings changed. Now nine years of age, Julia has a small scar on the bulb of her finger and has had to give up playing the piano because of recurring pain in her finger.

On Julia’s behalf, her mother – Elena Roman – claimed compensation for a finger injury in a door accident against the owners of the Doc Morris Pharmacy – Unicare Pharmacy Ltd – and the company that installed the doors at the pharmacy – Lovco Cleaning and Building Services of Tallaght in Dublin.

Liability for Julia’s injury was conceded and an offer of compensation for a finger injury in a door accident was made to the family amounting to €40,000. The family agreed to the proposed settlement, but before the claim could be resolved, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Julia’s best interests.

Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the consequences of Julia’s unfortunate accident three years ago and the consequences it had made to her quality of life. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for a finger injury in a door accident and closed the case.


Dublin Bar found Liable in Cut Hand Injury Compensation Claim

A Dublin bar has been found liable for injuries sustained by a painter and decorator after a hearing into a cut hand injury compensation claim.

David O´Keeffe (31) made his cut hand injury compensation claim after slipping and falling at the Woolshed Baa & Grill on Parnell Street in Dublin on 18th September 2011. David had been watching the All Ireland Football Final in the packed bar with a group of friends and, at the end of the game, he attempted to visit the bathrooms.

However, as he manoeuvred his way through the packed bar, he slipped on a wet area of the floor and fell – cutting his left hand on a piece of glass that was laying on the floor. David received First Aid behind the bar for his injury, and later attended the Accident & Emergency Department of St James´ Hospital, where the cut was cleaned properly and stitched.

Following his hospital treatment, David made a cut hand injury compensation claim against the Woolshed Baa & Grill, alleging that the bar had allowed uncollected glasses to stack up, which had likely fallen over and smashed and caused the piece of glass to be laying on the floor. He also alleged that spilled drinks remained unattended to and that the bar had failed to follow cleaning procedures.

The Woolshed Baa & Grill denied its liability for David´s injury, and refused to consent to an Injuries Board assessment of the cut hand injury compensation claim. David was issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim through the court system, and a hearing to establish liability took place last week before Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

At the hearing, the bar´s legal team argued that David´s injuries were due to his friends unsuccessfully trying to lift him up while he had a glass in his hand. The bar owners testified that the bar had followed its cleaning procedures on the day in question, and that an accident report had been filled out at the time that David slipped and fell, but that they were unable to locate it.

Judge Linnane said that she accepted David´s version of events, as the bar had been packed “to the point that one would not have been able to see that the floor was wet”. She found in David´s favour and awarded him €20,000 in settlement of his cut hand injury compensation claim.


Settlement of Electrocution Accident Compensation Approved in Court

A settlement of electrocution accident compensation has been approved in the High Court in favour of a boy who was severely burned while playing.

On July 3rd 2008, Kurt O´Callaghan from Wexford was playing in woodland near his home and making a camp with his friends, when he decided to put a “Keep Out” sign on an electricity pole. As Kurt nailed his sign into the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) pole, the nail went into an electricity cable and the force of the subsequent electric shock knocked him off the wall he had used to gain access to the pole.

A passing motorist rushed Kurt – who was just ten years old at the time – to a local hospital, from where he was transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin. Kurt spent the next three months undergoing multiple operations to treat burnt areas on his head, neck, shoulders, chest, and hands. Kurt may need further surgery or skin grafts in the future.

Through his mother – Denise – Kurt made a claim for electrocution accident compensation against the ESB, alleging that he had been exposed to a danger of electrocution which the ESB knew existed or should have known existed. It was further alleged that there had been a failure by the ESB to carry out an inspection of the wall Kurt used to access the electricity pole so as to detect the dangerous nature of the wall´s proximity to the electricity cables.

The electrocution accident compensation claim was supported by expert evidence that was critical of the ESB for not identifying the risk of danger. The expert´s report said that there was a statutory requirement to ensure that electricity poles were inaccessible to a height of three metres, and the ESB should have spotted that the pole was accessible if the wall was used to access it.

The ESB denied that it was responsible for Kurt´s injuries, and the electrocution accident compensation claim was scheduled for a full court hearing. However, before the hearing could take place, a negotiated settlement of the claim was agreed for €700,000. Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said that it was a good one in the circumstances, as Kurt may have been accused of contributory negligence if his claim for electrocution accident compensation had gone to a full hearing.


Compensation Awards made by the High Court under Attack

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

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

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

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

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

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


Judge Clears Way for After the Event Insurance Claims

A High Court judge has cleared the way for after the event insurance to be offered to plaintiffs to protect them from exposure to legal costs when making a personal injury claim.

After the event insurance (often abbreviated to “ATE insurance”) is a policy taken out when plaintiffs make a personal injury claim, to protect them from the legal costs of the defendant should the claim be unsuccessful. No premium is charged until the result of the case is established, and only if the plaintiff is successful is the premium paid at all -when it is usually deducted from an award of compensation.

Recently the provision of after the event insurance was challenged in court, when the defendant claimed that it was unlawful due to being contrary to the “law of champerty”.

The law of champerty makes it illegal for a third party to provide financial support to either party in a court case when the third party has no direct or legitimate interest, or to provide financial support in return for a share of any resulting compensation settlement.

It was argued that, by providing insurance against potential legal costs – and by deducting the insurance premium from a compensation settlement – insurance companies and solicitors offering after the event insurance were acting unlawfully.

Judge Hogan reviewed how after the event insurance works, and found that the provision of insurance did not contravene laws relating to “trafficking in litigation” (where the third party´s only motive in supporting the litigation was to derive profit), and that it serves an important purpose by allowing access to justice to persons who might otherwise be denied that justice.

The significance of Judge Hogan´s decision is that it clears away the grey area of whether after the event insurance is lawful when taken out to protect a claimant from exposure to legal costs, and also that solicitors who fail to offer claimants the option of ATE insurance could subsequently be sued for malpractice if adverse orders for costs are made against uninsured plaintiffs.


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 Hears Claim for Black Eye Injury Compensation

The Circuit Civil Court has awarded €6,000 to a university student from University College Dublin after hearing their claim for black eye injury compensation.

Bernadette Poleon from Dunboyne in County Meath volunteered to participate in a clinical acupuncture training course in April 2010 that was being run by the Irish Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Dublin.

One of the exercises during the training course involved a medicine student inserting needles below each of Bernadette´s eyes. After the student´s placement of the needles was examined by a course supervisor, the needle below Bernadette´s right eye was repositioned – but the needle below the left eye remained where it was.

Later the same day, the skin surrounding Bernadette´s left eye became swollen and puffy and, within a few days, significant black and yellow bruising had developed around the eye. The swelling and puffiness disappeared several days later, but the black and yellow bruising around Bernadette´s eye lasted a further seven weeks.

Bernadette also developed a sinus problem after attending the acupuncture training course – for which she is still receiving medical treatment from her GP – and, after seeking legal advice, she made a claim for black eye injury compensation against the owners of the Irish Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine – Bellfield Consultants Ltd.

Bellfield Consultants Ltd contested the claim for black eye injury compensation and prepared a full defence against the claim when court proceedings were issued. However, before the case was scheduled to be heard by Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court, the judge was informed that – by consent – the case was now before her for the assessment of black eye injury compensation only.

After hearing the circumstances of how Bernadette sustained her injury, and the embarrassment she had experienced while the eye injury was still visible, the judge awarded Bernadette €6,000 in settlement of her claim for black eye injury for compensation.


New articles online on personal injuries and medical negligence

Two comprehensive new personal injury articles published today.

The first article explains how to make medical negligence claims in Ireland.


The article covers what constitutes medical negligence, the common types of medical negligence, the procedures for medical negligence claims, and the special rules for medical negligence of children.

The second article explains how to make personal injury claims in Ireland.


The article explains negligence, the role of the Injuries Board, the role of the solicitor, how claim settlements are calculated, third-party capture, special rules for children making personal injury claims, and contributory negligence.


Injuries Board Claims Rise by 10 Percent

Injuries Board claims and applications for the assessment of personal injury compensation have risen by 10 percent in the first six months of 2013 according to a report published on injuriesboard.ie.

The analysis of Injuries Board Claims to June 2013 shows that the number of applications for the assessment of personal injury compensation received by the government body rose from 14,685 in the first six months of 2012 to 16,162 in the corresponding period of 2013 – an increase of just over 10 percent.

The total value of accepted assessments and the average value of Injuries Board claims also rose (by 8 percent and 4 percent respectively), predominantly due to a small number of exceptionally high claims assessments – one in particular (for €976,000) being the highest-ever assessment of personal injury compensation made by the Injuries Board.

The number of Injuries Board claims assessments accepted by plaintiffs also increased from 5,180 in 2012 to 5,286 in 2013; but this represented a substantial decrease in the percentage of Injuries Board assessments accepted (32.7 percent from 37.2 percent), indicating that more claims for personal injury compensation are being resolved by direct negotiation and court action.

As with previous years, Injuries Board claims for road traffic accidents accounted for the highest proportion of applications for assessment submitted to the Injuries Board (75.5 percent), while the proportion of claims for injuries sustained at work continued to decline (8.1 percent). The balance of Injuries Board claims was in respect of public liability claims and product liability claims.

Patricia Byron – CEO of the Injuries Board in Ireland – commented that the higher volume of claims and increased value of accepted compensation assessments did not provide an excuse for insurance companies to increase the premiums they charge. She said that, as the Board´s processing fee to respondents had been reduced from €850.00 to €600.00, the savings made by insurance companies should counter the increased value of Injuries Board claims.

For comprehensive information about compensation claims, please refer to this article.


Man Settles Claim for an Arm Injury in Starbucks Ireland

A man, who suffered lacerations due to catching his arm on the edge of a restroom coat hanger, has settled his claim for an arm injury in Starbucks Ireland.

Chris Kane (60) of Stillorgan, County Dublin, was visiting the Starbucks branch at The Oval in Ballsbridge on 23rd May 2010, when he snagged his armed on the unprotected sharp edge of a coat hanger in the restroom of the restaurant.

Chris received first aid at the time of his injury, but later attended his GP as the 13 cm laceration on his arm had continued to bleed during a conference he had attended the same afternoon. His doctor cleaned and dressed the wound, but it continued to be painful and occasionally bled for a further week.

After seeking legal advice, Chris made a claim for an arm injury in Starbucks Ireland against the restaurant, alleging that the company was negligent and failed in its duty of care to provide a safe restroom area.

The company denied liability and lodged a defence against the claim for an arm injury in Starbucks Ireland. However at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge Alan Mahon was told that the case had been settled out of court for an undisclosed amount and the judge struck out the case.


Student Awarded Compensation for Hot Curry Burns

A Dublin student has been awarded €9,464 in compensation for hot curry burns after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

John Patrick Starrs (32) of Tallaght, Dublin, brought his claim for hot curry burns compensation after scalding his hand on sauce provided with a takeaway meal purchased from the Kings Garden Chinese restaurant on Main Street, Tallaght in June 2010.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, heard in court that Mr Starrs had purchased the meal to be shared between himself and some friends and, as he was being dropped off at his home, Mr Starrs placed his hand inside the brown paper bag to retrieve his share of the meal.

However, the hot curry sauce provided with the meal had leaked from the polystyrene cup it had been packaged in, and the heat from the sauce gave Mr Starrs a severe burn to the back of his hand. Judge Groake was told that, despite running cold water over the burn, the back of Mr Starrs´ hand had turned red and he had experienced difficulty sleeping that night.

The following day Mr Starrs visited his GP, who applied a cream and referred him to Tallaght Hospital. At the hospital, the plaintiff had dressings applied to the blisters which had developed on his hand and was given a course of antibiotics to prevent an infection from developing. Mr Starrs told the court that he attended the hospital´s wound management department on several further occasions and still experiences discolouration of the skin and pain in cold weather.

After seeking legal advice, Mr Starrs made a compensation claim for burns from hot curry sauce on the grounds that the Kings Garden restaurant had been negligent by providing him with a defective cup on which the lid had become loose. The restaurant denied their liability, but in court Judge Groarke found in the plaintiffs favour – initially awarding him €12,000 in compensation for hot curry burns, but reducing it by almost a quarter to €9,464 to account for Mr Starrs´ contributory negligence of not looking into the bag before placing his hand in it.


Lower Court Injury Compensation Limits set to Rise

The publication of the Courts Bill 2013 has confirmed that the lower court injury compensation limits will rise for the first time in twenty-two years, but some are concerned this may lead to higher insurance premiums.

How much compensation the lower courts in Ireland are allowed to award in personal injury settlements has been fixed since the Courts Act of 1991 imposed the current ceilings. As the law stands at present, the District Court can only make compensation awards up to €6,384, while Circuit Civil Court awards of personal injury compensation are limited to €38,092. Under the new legislation, the lower court injury compensation limits will increase to €15,000 and €60,000 respectively.

The measures are aimed at reducing the burden of legal expenses for individuals and companies involved in litigation by having their cases heard in a lower division of the Irish court system, but whereas many might feel that lower litigation costs will have a positive effect on the price of insurance premiums, there are those who believe the opposite might be true.

The Department of Justice and Equality investigated the possibility that settlements of personal injury compensation awarded in the lower courts could increase as the ceilings were raised and noted that, when the idea was last proposed in 2002, increased limits were not brought in due to concern about “the potential impact on the levels of awards, which could, among other things, lead to consequential increases in insurance costs”.

Chairperson of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board, Dorothea Dowling, has also raised concerns that raising the limits of what can be awarded in the lower courts creates an incentive for people to ‘try their luck’ in the lower courts rather than go through the Injuries Board – which has its own established tariffs for the assessment of personal injury claims in Ireland. She suggests the changes proposed in the Courts Bill 2013 could see some 24,000 extra litigation cases being launched.

Ms Dowling warned that, when the lower court injury compensation limits were last raised in 1991, insurance companies raised their premiums ahead of the increases. She fears that there will be a repeat of the events from twenty-two years ago when the Courts Act 2013 is passed.


Hotel Worker Finger Injury Claim Settled in Court

A cleaner at the Rivercourt Hotel in Kilkenny, who lost part of her little finger when it was severed by a door slamming shut on it, has resolved her hotel worker finger injury claim in the High Court.

Aneta Antoszcsyk (35) from Kilkenny made her claim for hotel worker finger injury compensation after losing the tip of her little finger on her left hand in a freak accident.

While Aneta was removing a wooden door-stopper which was keeping a door open in the hotel, the door shut with such force that it severed the top of her finger.

Unfortunately it was not possible to reattach the severed tip of the finger and Aneta – who was seven months pregnant at the time of the accident in April 2011 – will be left with a permanent disfigurement.

After seeking professional legal advice, Aneta made a claim for hotel worker finger injury against Gatehalf Limited (trading as Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel) claiming that, as her employers, the company had failed to provide her with a safe environment or safe system of work and had exposed her to the risk of injury.

It was alleged in the hotel worker finger injury claim that Aneta had never been trained on the safe removal of door stops and that – as she was seven months pregnant – she should have had the assistance of a co-worker to deal with the removal of the door-stoppers.

The Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel denied their liability for Aneta´s injury – claiming that she had contributed in whole or in part to her injury by placing her hand in a dangerous location while removing the door-stopper and displayed a lack of care for her own safety on this occasion based on her previous experience of carrying out the same task.

However, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith Ó Neill found in Aneta´s favour – stating that she had “sustained a most unfortunate injury” due to the negligence of her employers – and awarded her €50,000 in settlement of her hotel worker finger injury claim.