Home Damage Compensation of Woman awarded €54,000 Due to Oil Leak Incident

At the High Court €54,000 has been awarded to a woman in relation to heating oil which spilled from her neighbour’s tank – causing sufficient damage to result in her having to find temporary accomodation for two years.

Ms Davies took the home accident damage compensation against her neighbour Margaret O’Leary. Ms O’Leary was living in a house on a elevated area to the back of Ms Davies’ home. She (Ms O’Leary) denied she was liable for damages as there had been a settlement for the costs of repairing her home and payments for different accommodation for Ms Davies and her family. She was represented in court by her insurer.

Mr Justice Meenan rejected claims by Ms Davies that Ms O’Leary had deliberately lied to to her when Ms Davies approached her about the spill. He awarded her €54, 204, made up of €12,500 general damages and €41, 704 special damages,

In his ruling Justice Meenan said while Ms O’Leary had not been called to give evidence he was happy that she had acted responsibly when she learned the leak was coming from her tank. The action she took to address this included getting the oil removed promptly and hiring environmental experts to review the damage inflicted.

Ms Davies informed the court the leak took place early one morning after they had been experiencing a considerable amount of rain in  January 2013. She said that she went to Ms O’Leary’s  and spoke her her over the intercom as she (Ms O’Leary) did not open her gate and said she did not have an oil leak but would get it checked as soon as possible. Following this Ms Davies said she witnessed men apparently emptying the tank.

Ms O’Leary, when contacted by Ms Davies, advised her that she was having the oil removed as a precautionary measure and maintained that there was no oil leak. Within five minutes of this conversation taking place Ms Davies received a call Ms O’Leary’s son Jarlath who also assured her “there was no oil leaking and the emptying of the tank was solely precautionary.”

The judge was informed that for the repair work the oil damage required the ground floor to be cut up “like a piece of fudge” so the substructure would not be damaged.

Mr Justice  Meenan dismissed Ms Davies’ claim for aggravated damages as, he found, there was no basis for having included them in the statement of claim.