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.