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.


Details of Garda Compensation for Assault Settlements Revealed

The total of Garda compensation for assault settlements paid in 2012 amounted to €6.7 million according to figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The figure brought the total value of Garda compensation for assault settlements since 2000 to over €13.4 million and, among the 121 cases detailed, the most common complaints were soft-tissue injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and back injuries.

All the injuries sustained by Garda officers were as a result of malicious acts of violence and included a Garda who was struck on the head with a bottle, three cases where Gardai had suffered from depression after being threatened with shotguns and six incidents in which Gardai were injured by human bites.

The second highest ever award of Garda compensation for assault was made last year – a Garda receiving just under €790,000 for back injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder following an assault – but less than the €990,000 award made to a Garda who was shot in the knee in 2008.

Earlier this month, an award of €45,000 compensation for Garda injuries was made in the High Court to Garda Bernard McLoughlin, after he sustained injuries to his hip and leg after being involved in a ramming incident in which his friend and colleague was killed.

Commenting on the Garda compensation for assault settlements, John Parker – president of the Garda Representative Association – said “while the injuries contained in the Garda database were at the extreme end of the assaults suffered by Gardai during the course of their duties, they underlined the “high-risk work” of members of the force”.

Last year, the Government approved proposals for a revised Garda compensation scheme which would enable the State Claims Agency to administer the scheme on behalf of the Garda Commissioner. The proposals aim to reduce the length of time injured Gardai have to wait for Garda compensation for assault settlements and it is expected that the revised Garda compensation scheme will save the State about €3 million annually in reduced legal fees and administrative costs.


Go-Karting Accident Compensation Awarded to Neck Injury Victim

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.


Court Awards Compensation for Scar following Assault

The Circuit Civil Court has awarded a man, who was punched in the face by his neighbour, compensation for a scar following an assault in the amount of 9,000 Euros.

 Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard that Andrew McDermott (48) of Walkinstown, Dublin, had answered the front door to his neighbour – Barry Matthews – in July 2009; only for Matthews to punch Andrew McDermott in the face in response to allegations McDermott had made relating to bullying between their two sons.

The court was told that McDermott was detained in hospital overnight and had six stitches inserted into a 1.5cm laceration on his lip. When the stitches were removed, a scar had developed which was visible to the casual onlooker and which – it was claimed in court – had made a significant difference to McDermott´s quality of life.

Mr Justice Matthew Deery was also told that liability had been accepted in the claim and that the case was before him for the assessment of compensation for a scar following an assault. Stating that it had been a very unfortunate incident, the judge awarded McDermott 9,000 Euros against his neighbour.


Woman Awarded Compensation for Elevator Fall

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.


Judge Orders CCTV Release in Dublin Bus Injury Claim

A judge in Dublin´s High Court has ruled that Dublin´s bus company has to release CCTV footage to solicitors representing a claimant in a Dublin Bus injury claim.

The judgement was made by Mr Justice John Hedigan following years of stalling by the bus company and decisions made in the claimant´s favour by the Data Protection Commissioner and Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court. The bus company had argued that the information they possessed about the claimant was privileged and, as potential evidence in litigation, they were not prepared to release it.

The Dublin Bus injury claim first started in October 2009, when a female claimant from Dublin alleged that she had sustained an injury aboard a Dublin Bus the previous year. Dublin Bus refused to accept liability for the woman´s injuries and the Injuries Board Ireland declined to assess her application for Dublin Bus injury compensation.

During preparation for court proceedings, the claimant´s solicitor were advised of the existence of CCTV footage taken aboard the bus and were shown a video relating to their client´s claim for Dublin Bus injury compensation at Dublin Bus´s office. A request for a copy of the video was denied and, even after the claimant´s solicitors had complained to the Data Protection Commissioner, Dublin Bus continued to withhold the CCTV footage.

Dublin Bus appealed the Data Protection Commissioner´s decision to release the video and took their case to the Circuit Civil Court. However, in July 2011, Judge Jacqueline Linnane ruled that the bus company should release the video to the solicitors on the grounds that the claimant had every right by law to request access to the CCTV footage in support of her Dublin Bus injury claim and that Dublin Bus had no right to withhold it.

Dublin Bus then chose to delay a resolution to the claim for Dublin Bus injury compensation by appealing Judge Linnane´s decision to the High Court, but Mr Justice John Hedigan found in favour of the claimant, stating that that Dublin Bus had “not raised a point of law giving rise to grounds for overturning Judge Linnane’s decision”.


Radial Nerve Injury Compensation Awarded in Uncontested Claim

A man, who suffered nerve damage in his arm after it was struck by a pub door, has been awarded 35,000 Euros after his claim for radial nerve injury compensation was uncontested.

Mr Justice Matthew Deery in the Circuit Civil Court heard that Radoslaw Wojtkow (31) of Dundrum, Dublin, had been leaving The Living Room pub on Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin on May 27th 2009 when an emergency door which had been opened to allow customers to come in and out of the pub fell from its hinges and struck him on the arm.

Radoslaw sought a medical examination the next day, but no fracture was diagnosed. Due to the pain continuing, Radoslaw later attended a neurologist who conducted a scan on his arm and found that the door accident had caused damage to his radial nerve. After taking legal advice, Radoslaw brought a claim for radial nerve injury compensation against Murraywalsh Ltd trading as The Living Room for damages.

Radoslaw´s legal representatives advised Mr Justice Matthew Deery that the pub owners had failed to enter a defence to Radoslaw´s claim for radial nerve injury compensation and that a judgement had already been made against them. Consequently the case was before Mr Deery for assessment of damages only.

Having taken medical reports into accounts and the fact that The Living Room had not contested the radial nerve injury claim, Mr Justice Matthew Deery awarded Radoslaw 35,000 Euros.


Landmark Decision in Overseas Accident Compensation Claim

In the first case of its kind, an Irish court has settled an overseas accident compensation claim made by a Dublin resident who was injured in a road traffic accident in France.

Peter Kelly (75) of Ranelagh, Dublin, sustained a hip injury when he was knocked over by a council maintenance van while crossing the Traverse de la Tour in Cannes in June 2009. Although Peter did not require immediate surgery for his injury, the condition of his hip deteriorated and he had to undergo a total hip replacement operation in 2011.

After taking legal advice, Peter made an overseas accident compensation claim against French- domiciled insurer Groupama. Groupama accepted liability for his injuries but argued that French law should be applied in assessing how much compensation Peter should receive as compensation levels in France are considerably lower than they are in Ireland.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill at the High Court accepted this argument and noted that a “Book of Quantum” exists in France – as in Ireland – to ensure that awards of compensation remain consistent throughout France. However, the judge added that although any figures quoted in the Book of Quantum should be used as a guide, it did not fetter a judge in determining how much should be awarded in an overseas accident compensation claim.

Furthermore the judge pointed out, as Peter had been a very active person prior to his accident, his “loss of amenity” was considerable as he could no longer play tennis or cycle and was restricted in the normal day-to-day activities he could do without assistance. Therefore, in assessing how much compensation for an overseas accident Peter was entitled to, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill applied the methodology under which a French court would make its award but increased the value of the overseas accident compensation claim to Irish levels.

Awarding Peter 63,900 Euros for his pain and suffering at the time of the overseas accident and subsequent loss of amenity, the judge noted that using the French Book of Quantum exclusively, the level of the award would have been 38,506 Euros. As the two parties had already agreed special damages of 24,267 Euros, the full amount of the settlement for Peter´s overseas accident compensation claim amounted to 88,167 Euros.


Injuries Board Assessments Increase in 2011

The annual report from the Injuries Board Ireland has revealed a 12 per cent increase in the value of Injuries Board assessments from 186 million Euros in 2010 to 210 million Euros in 2011.

The statistics are only for personal injury claims that have been assessed through the Injuries Board, and does not include claims that were a settlement was negotiated, or where an award was made in the High Court, or medical negligence claims.

The report from the Injuries Board Ireland does not state how many of their assessments were accepted in 2011 – the average over the past four years has been under 60 per cent – but revealed that only 35 per cent (9,834) of the claims received (27,669) were actually assessed. The vast majority of injury claims in Ireland being resolved by negotiation between the claimant’s solicitors and the insurance companies before Injuries Board assessments were made or declined for assessment.

Road traffic accident claims were once again the primary reason for Injury Board assessments in 2011, accounting for 76.5 per cent of the requests for assessment. As mentioned above, the proportion of claims for injuries at work fell from 11 per cent to 8.4 per cent, while the remainder of the claims received for Injuries Board assessments were comprised of public liability claims (15.1 per cent) for injuries sustained in places of public access (supermarket injury claims, footpath injury claims, school injury claims, etc.).

The Injuries Board Ireland does not assess claims for compensation concerning medical negligence or where full liability is not admitted.


Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) Recall in Ireland

For PIP implant information, contact the Irish Medicines Board on 01 6764 971.

An estimated 1,500 women could be facing an uncertain New Year, and seeking advice on breast implant compensation claims, following the latest developments in relation to the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) Recall in Ireland.

Advice provided at the time of the initial recall in March 2010 by the Irish Medicines Board was for women concerned about their PIP breast implants to speak with their original implanting surgeon and undergo an ultrasound scan if it was felt that the integrity of the breast implant sac had been compromised.

However, following the death of a woman in France from anaplastic large cell lymphoma and a high profile social media campaign by women who are witnessing unusual illnesses, the French government has now advised all women who received the recalled breast implants to have them removed.

The French government´s concern may be justified. After the recall of the PIP breast implants for a higher than usual rate of rupture, it was discovered that the silicone gel inside of the implant sacs was not the same medicinal grade that had been passed by the French health and safety authorities, but a cheap substitute which is more commonly used in the manufacture of mattresses.

Although the breast implant recall in Ireland only affects women who underwent cosmetic surgery for aesthetic purposes, many of the potential victims could be entitled to make breast implant compensation claims to cover the cost of removing the recall breast implants, the unnecessary pain and suffering that a further operation would cause and for the emotional trauma this scenario has created – both prior to surgery and thereafter.

 Note: The breast implant recall in Ireland affects an estimated 1,500 patients who received Poly Implant Prothese breast implants from January 2001 to March 2010 at the following clinics:-

  • Shandon Street Hospital in Cork
  • Clane Hospital in County Kildare
  • Harley Medical Clinic in Dublin

In all cases where you suspect that you may have a Poly Implant Prothese breast implant, seek medical attention at the earliest possible opportunity.

For PIP implant information, contact the Irish Medicines Board on 01 6764 971.


Wedding Guest Compensation Settled for Broken Nose

A woman, who allegedly broke her nose in an accident with an automatic door at a wedding reception, has settled her personal injury claim against the hotel and the company who fitted the automatic doors for an undisclosed sum.  

Martina Fivey (41) of Mullingar, County Westmeath, had been attending her sister´s wedding reception at the Mullingar Park Hotel in February 2008 when the accident occurred. Martina had been stood in an open automatic doorway waiting for her husband to join her for a cigarette when one of the doors suddenly closed on her, striking her on the face and breaking her nose.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard at Dublin Circuit Civil Court that Martina has a history of nasal problems dating back to 2005 and she had to have the fracture manipulated back into place while under general anaesthetic. The court heard that for several weeks after, Martina´s face was black and blue from both the accident and the surgery and she had to apply a considerable amount of make-up to hide the evidence of her injury.

The two defendants in the case – Euro Plaza Hotels Ltd trading as Mullingar Park Hotel and Boon Edam Ireland Ltd – both denied the personal injury claim but, after hearing Martina´s testimony, Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told that the two parties had reached an undisclosed settlement and that the case could be struck out.


Garda Office Awarded 22,650 Euros for Shoulder Injury

A Garda office, who sustained a shoulder injury during baton training, has been awarded personal injury compensation of 22,600 Euros in the Circuit Civil Court.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, heard that Detective Garda Darragh O´Toole (41) had been part of a group taking part in baton training at the Mount Pleasant Tennis Club in Dublin in October 2008, when the injury occurred.

Detective Garda O´Toole was in a staged fight scenario with an instructor, when the instructor put his left arm in a lock and forced him back against a wall. Mr Justice Matthew Deery was then told how the instructor had continued pressing forward while Detective Garda O´Toole was pinned back – dislocating the Garda´s shoulder through the back of the joint. The injury was so severe that Detective Garda O´Toole was off from work for 14 weeks.

Having sought legal advice, Detective Garda O´Toole brought a personal injury claim for compensation against the instructor and the Minister for Justice, claiming that he still suffered pain and discomfort, and that the injury had prevented him from playing as a senior footballer for  Erin’s Isle GAA club in Finglas, Dublin.

Having rejected evidence from the defence which was contradicted by the medical evidence, Mr Justice Matthew Deery awarded the detective 22,650 Euros in damages against the Minister for Justice, commenting that the instructor should have eased off when Detective Garda O´Toole had been backed up against the wall.