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.


Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for a Broken Wrist on Holiday

A Circuit Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation for a broken wrist on holiday in favour of a young girl who was hurt in an accident in Spain.

In June 2014, the Budhe family from Clondalkin in Dublin were enjoying a holiday on the Costa del Sol in Spain. While the family were sitting beside the pool, six-year-old Sophia went to get a drink from the poolside drinks dispenser.

As she had seen other children use a chair to reach the drinks dispenser, Sophia also climbed onto the chair. However, the chair was wet from previous use, and Sophia slipped and fell – landing on her outstretched left wrist.

Sophia´s wrist began to swell the following day, and she was taken to the Accident and Emergency department of a local hospital in Benalmadena, where an X-ray was taken and a soft cast was applied to her wrist.

On the family´s return to Dublin, Sophia attended the Tallaght Hospital where a further X-ray was taken. The soft cast was subsequently replaced with an above-the-elbow plaster back slab, which Sophia was required to wear for several weeks.

Through her father Amar, Sophia claimed compensation for a broken wrist on holiday against the travel agent through which the holiday was booked – Linevana Ltd, of Lower Liffey St, Dublin – and also the tour operator – TUI UK & Ireland.

In the claim it was alleged that both Linevana and TUI UK & Ireland were negligent for not supplying a suitable and safe means for children to reach the drinks dispenser. Both defendants admitted their liability for Sophia´s injuries and a €14,000 settlement of compensation for a broken wrist on holiday was agreed.

Because the claim for compensation for a broken wrist on holiday had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Sophia´s best interests. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of Sophia´s accident and the settlement that had been agreed.

Judge Groarke approved the settlement after hearing that Sophia had made a full recovery. The funds will now be paid into court, where they will be managed in an interest-yielding account until Sophia becomes a legal adult at age eighteen.


Judge Awards Compensation for a Health Club Accident

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded a plaintiff €30,000 compensation for a health club accident after dismissing claims that the plaintiff contributed to the accident by her own lack of care.

Thirty year old Timea Babos – a supervisor at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin – was visiting the West Wood Club on a free guest pass when, on 13th November 2011, she decided to go for a swim after coming out of the health club´s sauna.

Only intending to swim a few lengths, Timea dived head-first into the swimming pool. However, the depth of the water in the pool was only 1 metre 35 centimetres (around four feet) and Timea hit her face on the bottom of the pool – breaking her two upper front teeth.

With nobody around the pool area to help her – Timea made her way to the club´s reception area still bleeding from the mouth to report her accident and complete an accident report form. Timea then went straight to her doctor´s surgery, where she was treated for her injuries and prescribed painkillers.

Two weeks after the accident at the health club, Timea flew to Hungary to have crowns fitted to her front teeth and, on her return, she sought legal advice before claiming compensation for a health club accident.

In her claim, Timea alleged that the health club was liable for her injuries as there were no signs warning of the shallow depth of the pool or a lifeguard on duty to prevent her from diving in. However, the West Wood Health Club denied its liability, and contested the claim on the basis that Timea had been negligent by diving into a swimming pool without first checking the depth of the water.

With liability contested, the Injuries Board issued Timea with an authorisation to pursue her claim for compensation for a health club accident through the courts; and the case was heard this week at the Circuit Civil Court before Judge Jacqueline Linnane.

Judge Linnane heard evidence from a forensic engineer supporting Timea´s claim that there were inadequate warnings around the perimeter of the swimming pool to indicate guests that it was unsafe to dive into the pool. He also told the judge that the swimming pool was unusual in design as it had a constant depth throughout with no deep end.

The judge dismissed the allegations by the West Wood Club that Timea had contributed to her injuries through her own lack of care, and awarded Timea €30,000 compensation for a health club accident.


Claim for Holiday Swimming Pool Injury Settled Out of Court

A young man, who suffered serious injuries when diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool while on a family vacation in Spain, has settled his claim for holiday swimming pool injury compensation out of court.

Robert O’Byrne (25) from Dublin was left quadriplegic and confined to a wheelchair following his accident in the Spanish resort of Torremolinos in 2005. Robert, who was aged just seventeen years at the time, dived into the shallow end of a hotel pool at night after having consumed alcohol during the day.

In June 2008, Robert initiated a claim for holiday swimming pool injury against Michael Stein Travel Ltd of Dublin – the travel agent through who the holiday had been booked – alleging negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract.

Michael Stein Travel contested the claim, and sought leave to issue a third party notice against Robert´s parents – alleging that they were in breach of their duty of care by allowing their son to drink alcohol contrary to the laws of Ireland and Spain, and by failing to supervise Robert´s actions which led to him diving into the shallow end of the swimming pool and sustaining his terrible injuries.

Robert´s parents argued that, at the age of seventeen, their son was old enough not to be under the continuous supervision of his parents and it was unreasonable to expect otherwise. They also produced evidence to show that alcohol was “sold indiscriminately” to young people by the bars within the hotel complex.

In December 2012, the Supreme Court dismissed Michael Stein Travel´s application to have Robert´s parents added to the case as defendants, and the claim for holiday swimming pool injury compensation was scheduled to be heard in the High Court.

However, when the case was called to be heard before Mr Justice Sean Ryan, the judge was told that the claim had been settled “on specific terms”. Details of the out of court settlement of compensation for a holiday swimming pool injury are to remain confidential.


Child Awarded 25,000 Euro For Foot Injury At Swimming Pool

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.


Irishman Awarded 8.1 Million Dollars for Swimming Pool Accident

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.