William Corrigan-Hayden, aged eight, of Bohernabreena Cottages, Tallaght, was awarded €9,500 damages in the Circuit Civil Court for hurting his foot at the age of six when a slab of marble from a mantelpiece fell on it. The case was taken against Liam Heeney, the Hills Industrial Estate, Lucan, County Dublin, who had installed the fireplace. The boy fully recovered from his injury.
Hollie McNevin from Walkinstown Park, Dublin, has had a settlement of €25,000 approved by Judge Joseph Mathews of the Circuit Civil Court for a swimming pool injury. At the age of nine years, McNevin slipped in the shower in the changing rooms of Templeogue College pool. McNevin claimed that she hurt her foot on a broken plastic drain and therefore Templeogue College was responsible. The result was eight stitches and a parmanent scar on her foot.
Ben McHale, now four years old of Fethard Road, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, had a settlement of €2.9 million approved by Mr Justice John Quirke in the High Court for suffering blindness and brain injuries in a car accident. The car was driven by the child’s mother, Disislave McHale, who was driving the car without insurance. The case was taken against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland since the car was not insured. As the plaintiff was underage, the case was taken by his uncle William McHale, acting as the “next friend” guardian.
The Injuries Board Ireland figures for 2009 reveal that 25,919 new injury claims were made, an increase of 5% on 2008. There were 8,645 claims settled in 2009 for the amount offered by Injuries Board Ireland. The difference between the high volume of applications and and the comparatively small number of settlements is normal because only about 20% of claims are settled for the amount offered by the Injuries Board (the rest are settled before an offer is made, go directly to Court, or are rejected as too low).
The total value of the award offers that were accepted was over €200 million, averaging €23,163 per award.
Two young children who witnessed a savage dog attack on their mother, Mrs. Bernadette O’Leary, are to receive €75,000 between them for trauma and shock as part of the overal settlement. Mrs. O’Leary was staying in a relative’s house in Waterfall, Co Cork. Another relative was responsible for looking after three collie dogs in the back garden.
It was alleged that Mrs. O’Leary was attacked by the three dogs in the back garden, although the house owners claimed that O’Leary had been told to not use the back garden and was therefore tresspassing at the time. It was claimed that the attack resulted in lip and arm injuries that were witnessed by two young children. One of the children kept a part of Mrs. O’Leary’s lip on ice in the hope that it could be stitched back on. The children were not injured in the incident but are to receive €75,000 between them for the trauma and shock of seeing their mother attacked.
There was no admission of liability with the settlement.
He says the injury to his hand occurred while he was working but at the time he did not disclose it for fear he would be sacked.
This failure to disclose a workplace injury created major problems for him when he later went to claim social welfare.
So when Conrad eventually lost his job, he did had no documentation available to support his claim that he was injured at work, and therefore did not qualify for disability benefit or disability allowance.
The lesson is to report all workplace injuries and have them recorded in an Accident Report Boook, even when you have no intention of making a personal injury claim.
A civil servant called Orla Fitzpatrick was injured while working in Leinster House. The case was taken against the leas-cheann comhairle, the finance minister and the attorney general. As with so many personal injury cases, the matter was settled before it went to court, for 150,000 euro. As is the normal practice, the legal costs of the victim were paid. The information was released under the Freedom of Information Act, although the exact details of the injuries were not released.
Another recent personal injury case at Leinster House involved Mona Hanafin, the mother of the social welfare minister Mary Hanafin. Mona Hanafin had the bad luck of breaking a bone in her arm in a fall at Leinster House and received €33,280 in a damages.
Francesca De Cataldo, an Italian interior designer living in Killiney, County Dublin, has been awarded €12,240 in damages following a metal frying pan falling down a stairwell in the Avoca shop on Suffolk Street, Dubin in June 2005.
The only member of Avoca staff who was a witness had not seen the object falling. However, Circuit Court President Mr Justice Matthew Deery found Ms. De Cataldo’s testimony that she was hit by a frying pan credible.
Although there were no fractures or cuts, Ms De Cataldo testified that she suffered from headaches, stiffness in her neck and shoulders, light-headedness, feelings of nausea, vomiting, and sleeplessness. The injuries and circumstances make it plausable that the victim has whiplash symptoms.
A Cook County, Illinois, jury has awarded $8.1 million to an Irish emigrant carpenter, Don Duffy, who dived into a swimming pool and was rendered an incomplete quadriplegic when he accidently dived into 3½ feet deep water.
Don Duffy was 22 years old at the time of the accident and was found 50% liable for his own injuries, meaning the award was reduced to $4,051,200. It is the highest ever pool-related accident compensation award in Illinois.
The case took considerable time to work its way through the legal system, where it was initially dismissed through a summary judgement that was reversed in an appellate court, which ruled that there was a potential product liability based on the pool design.
The pool had an unusual design with two shallow sections – one at either end rather than the traditional deep end and shallow end design used in almost all swimming pools. A product liability claim was made against the installer of the swimming pool, Black Oak Pool & Supply, and the manufacturer of the pool liner, Latham Plastics. The jury found in favor of Latham Plastics. Liability was shared equally between Black Oak Pool & Supply and Don Duffy so the the reward was reduced by half.
Nora Hayes of Midleton, County Cork, has secured a settlement of €250,000 from the Bon Secours Hospital, Cork, following the death of her husband Patrick Hayes due to a kidney operation in November 2004.
The medical negligence claim was denied and the settlement was without admission of liability by the hospital.
Patrick Hayes was in good health prior to an operation to remove a kidney. A slight ooze from the spleen was noticed during the operation and surgical gauze was applied. Hayes was admitted to the intensive care unit after the operation and subsequently suffered a massive haemorrhage and died following attempts to resuscitate him. It was alleged that the nursing staff were aware that Patrick Hayes was having difficulty but failed to react.
A postmortem found a blood clot surrounding the spleen and more than two litres of blood in the peritoneal cavity.
The Law Society of Northern Ireland has published a report on Third Party Capture that highlights the problems with the practice and calls for greater protection for the general public. Third Party Capture happens when insurance companies to offer claimants or even potential claimants compensation for an accident before they are able to engage with a solicitor or obtain medical evidence.
The specific issues that the Law Society has identified are:
Wrong information being given to injured parties of the extent of their injuries and their legal
Actively discouraging injured parties from seeking a medical opinion and report;
Actively discouraging injured parties from obtaining legal advice; and
Pressurising injured parties who have not yet recovered from their injuries to make decisions
through persistent phone calls and door stepping at their home.
One of the unexpected results of the introduction of the Injuries Board Ireland is that insurance companies have become faster in general at offering out-of-court settlements for personal injury claims. The report points out that victims should never settle a case without getting a medical report and it is preferable to get legal advice before settling any personal injury claims.