201510.14
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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.