Tuesday , June 19 2018

Toxic Chemical Personal Injury Claims Made Against the Defence Forces

Toxic chemical personal injury claims have been made against the defence forces as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals at one of their airfields.

In early 2017, a document in which a worker employed by the Defence Forces claimed to have proof of the “the untimely deaths of at least 20 adults…of which I believe died of illness related to unprotected chemical exposure” was made public. The whistleblower was stationed at the Baldonnel Airfield.

The document included evidence that children of the Air Corps workers at the site also died due to their parents toxic chemical injury. The file mentioned specifically the death of a newborn girl due to ventricular septal defect (heart defect), a five year old boy died while having surgery to address a ‘malrotated intestine’ and a girl aged 15 died after contracting Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of cancer. The latter girl’s father is suffering from leukaemia at present.

The wives of members of the defence forces have been making claims the effects of chemical exposure for some time. A mechanic, who previously worked with the Air Corps, noticed that a number of these women had experienced more than one miscarriages and in one particular case, a woman had eight consecutive miscarriages.

This suspicious trend was brought to the attention of the authorities, and an independent third party, former civil servant Christopher O’Toole, was appointed by the Minister for Defence in 2016, to investigate the allegations

Leader of Fianna Fáil Mr Micheál Martin said he believes a Commission of Investigation is now necessary. He stated “The situation is far from satisfactory because with his opening comments the report’s author is essentially saying he cannot fulfill the terms of reference. From the Government’s point of view they established this review, they must have known the terms of reference could not be fulfilled. It’s farcical.”

Although the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have advised that procedures into risk assessment need to be reviewed, a whistleblower has said that these steps are “too little, too late”, especially in the case of those who have lost family members or who have developed life-changing illnesses and injuries.

Allegations have been made stating that these deaths are due to organizational failure on the part of the Defence Forces which meant that Air Corps personnel were exposed to toxic chemicals. The Defence Forces are now facing Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries compensation actions by some former employees. The Defence Forces have released a statement stating, “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Judge Awards Garda €30,000 in Mouth Injury Compensation

A member of an Garda Síochána has been awarded €30,000 compensation for an injury to his mouth that he suffered while attending to a reported incident at a house in Finglas.

Sean Kelly (aged 31), received the scar nearly five years ago while on duty, in January 2012. Garda Kelly had been called to a house in Finglas to deal with a man who was threatening self harm. As he had just been released from a psychiatric institution, he was deemed dangerous, and two colleagues accompanied Garda Kelly to the scene.

In court, Garda Kelly stated that the man was known to have taken a large quantity of non-prescriptive medication. He had locked himself in his bathroom, and was threatening to jump from the window. Garda Kelly and his colleagues attempted to apprehend the man. While doing so, he was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder which lacerated his lip.

The laceration serious bleeding and he had to be taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to be treat immediately. Medical staff examined the wound, and found a piece of porcelain was found to be still embedded in his upper lip. X-rays revealed he had not suffered any major fractures.

Garda Kelly was given a local anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, several of them on the inside of his mouth. The injury later became infected,  and was prescribed a course of antibiotics until the infection cleared up. He said he could still feel the inside scar with his tongue.  The scar on the outside of his lip was noticeable at conversational distance and he was still very conscious of it.

Barrister Fiona Gallagher, who was representing Garda Kelly, stated that he remains sensitive about a scar on his upper lip and told Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still conscious of the star-shaped scar. However, Garda Kelly himself joked with the presiding judge that he might have to wear make-up when he gets married next weekend.

Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure, Barrister Derek Ryan told the court that, based no conflicting medical reports, he did not think that Garda Kelly has suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the extent that it warranted an exceptional compensation award.

After taking this information into account, the judge awarded Garda Kelly €30,000 for his injury and consequent scar. He was not awarded any compensation for his Post Traumatic Stress claim. The judge closed the case, and wished Garda Kelly well for his imminent wedding.

Newspaper Publishes Report on Personal Injury Compensation Claims Made Against Galway City Council

The Galway City Tribune has recently published a report on the city council’s expenditure on compensation claims made against them. The reporters revealed that the city has paid over €4 million in personal injury claim compensation since the beginning of 2015.

This is a significant sum for a city council to be spending on personal injury claims. This figure includes insurance covers public areas, as well as paying the excess on all claims that are made against them.

The figures were obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the newspaper. The breakdown shows that the cost of public liability insurance for Galway City Council was  €3.4 million over the same time period. The yearly figures were also included, which gives the expenditure as follows; €1.5 million in 2014, €1.4 million in 2015 and just less than €500,000 in 2016.

Galway City Council also had to pay for the excess on personal injury claims in addition to the public liability insurance. The yearly figures for this excess were also given; they amounted to €142,000 in 2016; €242,000 in 2015; and €205,000 in 2014.

Alongside the figures themselves, the reasons for the claims made against Galway City Council were also given. The newspaper reported that the largest proportion of the personal injury compensation claims are for injuries suffered in falls on the streets of the city. The number of cobbled streets in central Galway were deemed responsible for large quantity of claims of this type.

Galway City Council announced in August 2017 that the paving and cobbles on the Shop Street thoroughfare are to be replaced with smooth pavement to reduce the number of people falling over and hurting themselves in this area.

Galway City Council Representative said, at the time, that plans were in place to solve the uneven paving on the street which has been the subject of many compensation claims.

In March 2017, a similar report was compiled about compensation claims made against Dublin’s local authorities. The report highlighted the fact that more than €63 million was paid out in personal injury compensation by Dublin’s four local authorities in just five years.

Dublin City Council paid out the most – totaling €41,322,784.12 to 3,853 claimants from 2012 until 2016. At the time of the report a South Dublin County Council  spokeswoman said: “The majority of cases in relation to public liability cases are trips, slips and falls on footpaths/roads, or in public parks. A small number of claims are in regard to damage to property, i.e. car tyres.”

Fraudulent Whiplash Claims Blamed for Hike in Car Insurance Costs

In January 2017, the Personal Injuries Commission with the aim of examining personal injuries claims in Ireland. The commission’s investigations focussed on the proliferation of soft tissue and whiplash claims, as these types of claims appeared to be inexplicably on the rise in Ireland.

It has been widely noted that car insurance costs has increased by 70% for the average car owner in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016. It is unlikely that the number of injuries or accidents has increased so sharply as to directly correlate with this figure. As a result, experts believe that exaggerated or fraudulent claims are responsible for this sharp increase.

However, the Personal Injuries Commission believe that setting up an independent medical panel to investigate each cases of whiplash would interfere with a claimant’s rights. It is their recommendation that a different course of action be taken to sort the fraudulent claims from the veritable ones.

The Personal Injuries Commission has called for the establishment of a uniform approach for medical staff dealing with whiplash injuries. At present, there is no specific accreditation required or benchmark standard for a doctor wanting to complete a medico-legal report on a personal injury claim in Ireland. To combat this lack of standards, the Personal Injuries Commission states that doctors should adopt a standardised approach to diagnosing, treating and reporting on soft tissue injuries.

As most of these soft tissue injuries are whiplash related, it should give a more accurate figure for the true rate of whiplash injuries in Ireland. If the current figures are to be believed, based off claims made against car insurance companies, then Ireland is experiencing a much higher rate of whiplash than other European countries.

In particular it recommended that the Quebec Task Force Whiplash Associated Disorder grading scale should be implemented by medical professionals reporting on relevant injuries. This scale is based on the severity of symptoms and associated physical indicators. It states “Training and accreditation in soft tissue reporting is agreed as being the best practice requirement for those wishing to complete relevant reports”.

It is believed that a self-testing element by the injured party should also be adapted to assess compensation and damages.

The commission, chaired by Judge Nicholas Kearns, also called on insurance companies to publish details on the incidence of whiplash injuries. This could be an integral part of the National Claims Information Database currently being developed by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Justice Kearns stated that such dissemination of information on whiplash injuries would improve the personal injuries compensation environment in Ireland by encouraging ‘an objective standard’ for reviewing whiplash injuries. He added that, going forward, reports will look at comparative systems and bench marking compensation award levels globally.

He stated: “Preliminary findings suggest that the frequency of soft-tissue injury claims in Ireland would appear to be significantly higher than a lot of other European countries. It remains to be determined whether this could be a contributing factor in terms of claims frequency or exaggeration.”

State Claims Agency Releases Report on Sexual Assault Statistics Following Public Pressure

The State Claims Agency has recently released a report on employee sexual harassment in the healthcare system following public pressure from several bodies to do so.

RTE, the state broadcaster, recently aired a damning report which revealed sexual harassment legal actions was taken by five members of staff employed in the State healthcare system over the last number of years. These staff members stated in their claim that they had been assaulted by users of the healthcare service. The complaints were made to the State Claims Agency.

The Agency has not released specific details about where the alleged abuse took place in any individual cases. However, the report was able to announce that the claims are in connection with incidents that happened between 2012 and 2016. The five claims make up almost 50% all sexual harassment claims currently being handled by the State Claims Agency for the State.

Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee publicly called for the State Claims Agency to release the report, breaking down of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies available for scrutiny. The State Claims Agency had initially declined to release any information on such claims. Further requests for the information came following the initial refusal by the State Claims Agency to release such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it handles on the State’s behalf.

Additionally, in November 2017 The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee made contact with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan requesting him to support a call for the data to be released. As a result of this persistent pressure, the State Claims Agency made a limited amount of information on the number of such claims available. The SCA did not say where the incidents that claims arose from happened.

In an official statement released the State Claims Agency confirmed that it has managed 11 claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it said were “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also confirmed that in six of the 11 cases they’ve handled the alleged assailant and assailed person are both staff members. In the remaining five incidents they said the individual believed responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare area and the victim of the assault was a member of staff.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) said that “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical). We also need further information on the manner in which the SCA deals with such claims, how many of the cases end up in court, full details of all the costs incurred and whether the State seeks to recoup any of these costs from the alleged assailant.”

Boy Left With Permanent Scars Receives Compensation for Dog Bite

A boy, who was left with permanent scars on his face and severe dental damage, has received a settlement of compensation from the owners of the dog which inflicted the injuries.

Following being attacked and bitten in the face by a neighbour’s dog 15-year-old schoolboy, Adam Russell was today awarded €32,000 compensation for personal injuries.

Adam Russell (12 years of age at the time of the attack) was playing while visiting the home Erica Deacon and Eoin Gibson in the Ballinclea Heights estate in Killiney on 28 September 2013. While he was playing, Deacon and Gibson’s German Pointer dog suddenly attacked him. The dog knocked him to the ground, and bit him on the face.

Adam was rushed him to the Swiftcare Clinic, Dundrum, Dublin. Medical staff at the facility treated the lacerations to his face. The injury inflicted to his nose was sutured and the wound just below his lower lip had been closed with surgical glue. The injury suffered to his tooth was diagnosed, but was treated at a later date by dentists at Dalkey Dental Clinic.

Through his father, Adam made a claim for dog injury compensation against the owners of the dog. Counsel for Adam Russell, Brian Sugrue, advised Circuit Court President Justice Raymond Groarke that Adam Russell, who was 12 at the time of the attack, was bitten on his face by the dog while playing with it, and that the dog’s owners should have been more attentive of the situation that Adam was in.

“Adam suffered three specific face wounds,” Sugrue stated.  “He sustained a significant laceration to the bridge of his nose, a puncture wound to his lower lip and a chip fracture to one of his upper teeth.”

Mr Sugrue said Adam Russell’s injured tooth would possibly need a crown in the future but part of the €32,000 dog attack compensation settlement offer took future dental work into account.

Consultant Plastic Surgeon Patricia Eadie was brought in to consult on the case and advise the court on the extent of Adam’s injuries. She had examined Adam’s scars late in 2016 and said that revision surgery may be necessary. The scarring he suffered on his nose is permanent.

Judge Groarke was advised that Mr Sugrue was recommending acceptance of the €32,000 compensation offer.  He commented this was within the ball park of compensation for such injuries, though was not to be considered generous.  The compensation offer was approved. As Adam is currently a minor, it will be invested in court funds until Adam becomes 18 years of age in 2019.

Child Emotional Injury due to Car Accident Compensation Approved in Court

Two sisters, were not physically injured in a rear-end car accident, have had their emotional injury compensation settlement approved at the Circuit Court.

On 11th February 2016, the two sisters – aged six years and four years at the time of the accident – were travelling in the back seat of the family car being driven by their parents. Suddenly, it was rear-ended on the Newcastle Road in Lucan, Dublin. The  other driver admitted liability for causing the accident.

The day after the accident, the two girls were brought to their family’s GP to be examined. Neither girl was diagnosed with physical injuries from the incident. However, within a few days of the accident occurring, the elder sister complained of having a persistent headache. Both sisters started showing symptoms of panic when large vehicles passed the car, fearful that a repeat incident would occur.

Concerned, their parents brought them to seek medical advice. A further review of their condition resulted in both girls being diagnosed with “a mild effect on the mental health”. The elder sister was particularly affected by the accident, experiencing worry, and panic around large vehicles. She also hyperventilated while travelling in the family car, especially close to where the accident had occurred.

Through their mother, they made an emotional injury compensation claim against the driver of the negligent vehicle. On the advice of the family’s solicitor, they accepted an offer of settlement amounting to €33,000. As the claim had been made on behalf of plaintiffs unable to represent themselves, the emotional injury compensation settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in their best interests.

The case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The court was told the circumstances of the accident, the nature of the girls´ injuries and the fact that they had only missed one day from school as a result of the accident in order to be examined by the family GP.

The judge also heard the girls´ mother was satisfied with the amount offered. Te judge was told that the emotional injury compensation settlement was to be divided equally between the sisters. Approving the settlement, Judge Groarke ordered that it be paid into court funds until the girls reach they reached eighteen years of age.

Boy Receives Compensation for Fall in Tayto Park Playground

A thirteen year old boy has received €25,000 in compensation for injuries his suffered following a fall from a playground tower at Tayto Park in March 2012.

Conor Bolger, now thirteen years of age, of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, was visiting Tayto Park in March 2012. While playing at the playground, he fell from the playground tower, breaking his elbow. Conor was rushed to hospital, and underwent a surgical procedure to place pins in his lower arm after he fractured his elbow.

Through his father, Conor filed the legal compensation claim against Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, Co Meath trading as Tayto Park, due the injuries he was inflicted with in the incident and the subsequent surgery and physiotherapy which he had to endure.

It was argued by Mr Bolger’s legal representation that tower he was climbing was overcrowded at this time. This created an unsafe environment, and contributed to the fall. In addition to this, it was claimed, the ground surrounding the tower did not have a sufficient amount of protective wood mulch. They claimed that regular inspections and safety checks were not being carried out in the area. The legal team felt that, had these measures been in place, the plaintiff’s injuries may not have been as severe.

Counsel for Tayto Park (Ashbourne Visitor Centre) David McGrath SC denied these allegation. He stated the boy was climbing the Tayto Park tower when he “just fell” and this was not due to any issue with the tower itself. Mr McGrath advised the High Court Justice Kevin Cross that that boy’s family were happy to agree to a settlement of €25,000 for Tayto Park fall compensation.

High Court Justice Cross approved the settlement, stating that Conor’s scarred elbow was not “too upsetting”. He also commented that Conor was known to enjoy playing basketball at the time of the incident and would have had difficulty doing this due to dexterity issues from the injuries.

Unfair Dismissal Claim Heard by Workplace Relations Commission

The Workplace Relations Commission has awarded a man €15,000  in compensation for his unfair dismissal from the Boyne Valley Group.

A supervisor at the Boyne Valley Group´s distribution centre was dismissed for allegations of gross misconduct in May 2015. The man, originally from Drogheda in County Louth, was dismissed due to allegedly making personal remarks to a female colleague about her appearance, her future family plans and her financial affairs.

It was further claimed that the supervisor had slapped the woman´s hand when she had asked to see a mobile phone he was holding at the time, and had made comments to her implying some of the workforce had been employed on the basis of sexual favours rather than merit. The woman´s complaint was supported by several colleagues, her mother and boyfriend.

The Boyne Valley Group accused the man of singling out the woman and harassing them with unwanted attention. This resulted in him publicly to humiliating her on several occasions. An investigation was launched into the allegations, which led to no concrete evidence of a physical assault on the woman. However, the former supervisor was dismissed on the grounds of breaching the company´s policies on bullying and harassment.

The man sought legal counsel and appealed the decision. He made a claim for compensation for unfair dismissal against his former employers. His case was heard recently by the Workplace Relations Commission and, under cross-examination, the man admitted making comments that could be considered insulting. He stated that he had realised his error and that he had tried to offer an apology.  However, the woman had refused it.

The Chair of the Commission heard the details of the case against the former supervisor, afterwards commenting the processes the company had adopted during its investigation into the allegations and conducting the disciplinary procedures and been fair. The Chair also accepted it was not the Commission´s role to impose its own decision when the decision to dismiss was “within the band of reasonableness”.

However, the Chair disagreed that the man´s dismissal was within the band of reasonableness, and said it was a disproportionate response to the situation. The Commission awarded the former supervisor €15,000 compensation for unfair dismissal, adding that, although the comments were unwelcome to the employee in question, the matter should have been dealt with in a more “constructive manner”, and should not have lead to the supervisor’s dismissal.

Woman Awarded Compensation for a Hospital Fall

A woman, who fractured her spine in an avoidable accident, has been awarded €58,500 compensation for a hospital fall by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court.

Seventy-nine year old Margaret Fitzpatrick attended the Mater Hospital in April 2015 to undergo a gastroscopy procedure as a day patient. Following the conclusion of the procedure, Margaret was given a cup of tea and left alone to recover from being sedated. However, while still under the effects of the anaesthetic, she attempted to get out of bed and fell – sustaining a fractured spine.

Margaret – from Finglas in Dublin – remained at the hospital for nearly a month before being transferred to Clontarf Orthopaedic Hospital for further treatment. She was allowed home after three months, but is now heavily reliant on her family for day-to-day living, needs the support of a Zimmer frame to move around, and has to wear a lumbar brace at all times.

After seeking legal advice, Margaret claimed compensation for a hospital fall against the Mater Hospital. In her claim it was alleged that, due to a previous history of falling, she should have been closely monitored during her recovery. It was also alleged the hospital had been negligent in its duty of care by failing to adhere to its falls prevention policy.

The claim for compensation for a hospital fall went to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Judge James O´Donohoe. Judge Donohoe heard evidence from an expert witness who testified there was no indication the falls prevention policy had been applied in Margaret´s case. The judge also heard evidence from the recovery unit´s head of nursing who explained how Margaret´s accident had happened.

Commenting “what speaks volumes to this court is that the ward nurse who attended the plaintiff was not called to give evidence,” Judge O´Donohoe found in Margaret´s favour and awarded her €58,500 compensation for a hospital fall – giving the Mater Hospital leave to appeal the award provided they paid Margaret €30,000 of the award immediately.

Judge Upholds Settlement of Car Crash Compensation Claims

A judge has upheld the settlement of seven car crash compensation claims and dismissed allegations by a car hire company that the crash was fabricated.

In June 2011, three passengers in a hired Ford Fiesta and four occupants of a Peugeot 406 were injured when the two cars were involved in a car crash on a roundabout in Lifford, County Donegal. The injured parties made car crash compensation claims against the driver of the Ford Fiesta and the car hire company from which the car had been rented – Ryans Investments NI Ltd, trading as Hertz Rent-a-Car

In 2015, the injured parties were awarded compensation of between €5,050 and €9,550 in settlement of their car crash compensation claims in Buncrana Circuit Court. However, the car hire company appealed the award – alleging the car crash had been fabricated and the injured parties had exaggerated their injuries. The appeal hearing was heard at the High Court in July before Mr Justice Charles Meenan.

At the appeal hearing, the court was told that the driver of the hired Ford Fiesta had been overheard calling the driver of the Peugeot 406 when he had returned the vehicle to Hertz´s office in Derry. The call apparently had been made to get the details of the Peugeot 406, but the friendly nature of the negligent driver´s salutation aroused the suspicions of the car hire company.

The court heard the injured parties and the negligent driver were known to each other through their association with the Joseph Plunkett and Charlie D’Arcy Societies, and it was this association that strengthened the car hire company´s suspicions of a set up. The injured parties acknowledged they knew each other, but called the allegations of fraudulently making car crash compensation claims outrageous.

Judge Meenan closed the appeal hearing by saying he would reserve judgement until October, but earlier than expected he announced his verdict this week – finding in favour of the injured parties and upholding the settlements of their car crash compensation claims. The judge said there was insufficient evidence to prove the accident had been set up or that the injured parties had exaggerated the extent of their injuries.

Claiming Compensation for a Loss of Hearing at Work

Ensure you receive legal advice about claiming compensation for a loss of hearing at work to ensure the consequences of your injury are taken into account.

Claiming compensation for a loss of hearing at work follows a straightforward procedure. Once you have been diagnosed with a noise induced hearing loss or a loss of hearing due to a sudden loud noise in the workplace, you apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim.

Provided your employer does not withhold his or her consent for the Injuries Board to assess your claim, the Injuries Board will calculate how much compensation for a loss of hearing at work you are entitled to and, provided your employer´s insurers agree with the assessment, your claim is settled.

However, the primary basis of the Injury Board´s assessment will be your doctor´s diagnosis. This only states the extent of the injury you have sustained, and not the consequences for your day-to-day living and any psychological injuries you have also sustained.

Therefore, if you are unable to watch TV, drive or socialise with friends because of your loss of hearing, these are significant factors that should be accounted for in your application for assessment. The same applies if you have suffered a loss of confidence due to being unable to hear clearly.

To ensure these factors are taken into account when the Injury Board conducts its assessment is to communicate them clearly on the application form – and the best way to achieve that is with the help of a solicitor who has experience of submitting applications for assessment to the Injuries Board.

A solicitor will also be able to check the Injuries Board´s assessment to see if the proposed settlement is appropriate for the injury you have suffered and negotiate with your employer´s insurance company if you are approached with an unsolicited offer of compensation for a loss of hearing at work.

Therefore, it is in your best interests to discuss your specific situation with a solicitor before submitting your application for assessment to the Injuries Board, or have somebody call on your behalf if your loss of hearing is total.

Eligibility to Claim for an Injury from a Lip Filler Procedure

Your eligibility to claim for an injury from a lip filler procedure can vary according to the information you were given – and you gave – prior to the procedure.

Other than a little bleeding, swelling or numbness immediately after a lip filler procedure, serious injuries from this type of cosmetic surgery are rare in Ireland. Occasionally infections develop, but these can be quickly treated with no long lasting effects.

If you were to be one of the rare cases in Ireland in which a serious adverse event has occurred, you may be eligible to claim for an injury from a lip filler procedure. However, your eligibility to make a claim could depend on what you were told prior to the procedure – and what information you imparted.

In Ireland, if you are over eighteen years of age, you are required to sign a consent form before you undergo any type of cosmetic surgery. When you sign the consent form, you are acknowledging there are risks involved in the surgery and you accept those risks.

If the injury you sustained was one of the risks you had been advised of – or you suffered an allergic reaction due to failing to disclose information about yourself – it is unlikely a claim for an injury from a lip filler procedure will be successful.

If you sustained an injury you were not advised was a “habitual risk”, you will likely be eligible for compensation subject to your solicitor being able to demonstrate that “in the circumstances and at the time” the action or lack of action responsible for the injury was avoidable and due to a lack of care.

In order to support your claim for an injury from a lip filler procedure, your solicitor will engage the services of a medical expert. The expert will not only support the claim, but also help your solicitor determine the level of compensation you are entitled to.

Compensation settlements for injuries caused during lip filler procedures can differ considerably. Contributing factors include the nature of the injury, whether it can be reversed, your age, your sex, and the impact the injury has had on your quality of life.

These consequence can vary considerably and, as you cannot apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim, it is always in your best interests to discuss your injury with a solicitor – firstly to establish that you are eligible to claim for an injury from a lip filler procedure, and secondly to ensure your claim is settled for a fair amount.

Judge Awards Compensation for a Botched Laparoscopy

A High Court judge has awarded a woman who lost eight pints of blood during a hospital procedure more than €855,000 compensation for a botched laparoscopy.

On June 4th, 2002, the fifty-year-old plaintiff from Portlaoise in County Laoise attended the Midland Regional Hospital for a routine laparoscopy to help determine why she was unable to get pregnant. In order to perform a telescopic examination, a trocar was inserted into her abdomen. Unfortunately, the surgical instrument tore an artery and punctured a vein as it was being inserted, causing the woman to lose eight pints of blood.

The woman was rushed into intensive care, where she was put on a ventilator and spent two days on life support. She remained in hospital for six days and – due to the medical negligence of her consultant obstetrician Dr John Corristine – continues to experience pain in her abdomen. Following her recovery from her experience, the woman sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a botched laparoscopy.

In her claim it was alleged there had been a failure to take adequate precautions for her safety and that there had been a failure to check that the equipment used during the procedure was in a good and proper working order. The HSE acknowledged liability for the botched procedure, her initial pain and suffering and the scars that remain from her treatment, but contested the ongoing abdomen pain was a consequence of the negligent laparoscopy.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard medical evidence that the botched laparoscopy was not only responsible for the plaintiff´s ongoing pain and suffering, but that her condition may deteriorate in the future as a direct result. The judge said the woman´s quality of life had been significantly impaired as a result of what had happened, and although the consequences of the medical negligence were not catastrophic, they were “very serious”. The judge awarded the woman €855,793 compensation for a botched laparoscopy.

Defective Car Injury Claims Settled in Court

Two defective car injury claims have been settled in the Circuit Civil Court after the car bought by one of the plaintiffs was found to be unfit for purpose.

In November 2013, the two plaintiffs and three other family members were travelling from Dublin to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition. On their journey along the M1 at a speed of around 80kmph, the sun roof of the car they were travelling in blew off. Alarmed at the sudden noise, the driver of the car – one of the plaintiffs – hit the brakes hard and pulled over onto the hard shoulder.

The braking action caused the driver, her 72-year-old mother, and the three other family members to suffer whiplash style injuries due to the sudden deceleration of the vehicle. The driver´s mother – the second plaintiff at yesterday´s hearing – suffered a compression fracture in one of the vertebrae of her lower back. Two children also travelling in the car were unharmed.

After receiving treatment for their injuries, the mother and daughter both made defective car injury claims via the Injuries Board against the dealership from whom the car had been purchased just four months earlier. They alleged in their legal action the car had not been fit for purpose, of merchantable quality nor free from defects at the time it had been purchased.

The car dealership denied liability for the plaintiffs´ injuries and withheld its consent for the Injuries Board to assess the defective car injury claims. The Injuries Board issued the plaintiffs with an Authorisation to pursue their defective car injury claims in court. The case was heard yesterday by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told an independent motor assessor had found corrosion around the remaining frame of the sun roof that would have been present on the vehicle at the time it was sold.  The corrosion, the assessor testified, led to the sun roof blowing off and was a situation that could have been avoided if there had been an adequate pre-sale inspection by the dealership.

Following the assessor´s testimony, a representative of the dealership acknowledged the company was at fault – leaving Judge Groarke to rule on how much each of the defective car injury claims should be settled for. As the driver plaintiff had recovered from her injuries quickly, she was awarded €12,500 compensation. Her mother was awarded €25,000. The defective car injury claims of the three other passengers will be heard at a later date.

Settlement of a Cyclist Brain Injury Claim Approved

The settlement of a cyclist brain injury claim has been approved at the High Court after a consideration was made for the cyclist´s contributory negligence.

On 2nd August 2013, the thirty-three year old cyclist was cycling through Dublin when he was hit by a van at the junction of the Ongar Distributor Road and Shelerin Road in Blanchardstown. According to an eye-witness, the cyclist was thrown three metres into the air by the force of the impact. Forensic analysis later determined the van was travelling at 57kmph at the time.

The cyclist – who had not been wearing a cycling helmet – suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident. He was taken to the Beaumont Hospital, where he underwent a decompressive craniotomy and – after coming out of intensive care – transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre. Such was the severity of his injury, he suffered amnesia for four months.

The driver of the van – who was uninsured and unlicensed to drive – was jailed for 3½ years in November 2015 for dangerous driving, causing serious harm, and failing to stop after a traffic accident. Following the conviction, the wife of the injured cyclist made a cyclist brain injury claim against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). Liability for the man´s injuries was not contested.

After reports had been compiled to assess the man´s future needs, a settlement of the cyclist brain injury claim amounting to €3 million was agreed. Although not required to wear a cycling helmet by law, the settlement included a consideration of the cyclist´s own contributory negligence. As the man was unable to represent himself, the settlement then went to the High Court for approval.

At the approval hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of the accident, the consequences to the cyclist´s quality of life and the conviction of the negligent driver. Judge Cross approved the settlement of the cyclist brain injury claim, commenting it had been a dreadful incident. The judge closed the hearing by wishing the cyclist and his family well for the future.

Approval of Eyebrow Scar Injury Compensation Put on Hold

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has put the approval of an eyebrow scar injury compensation settlement on hold until further medical reports are received.

The proposed settlement of eyebrow scar injury compensation was intended to compensate a four-year-old girl for an injury she suffered while travelling with her mother on a Dublin bus in 2015. Although strapped into her buggy, the girl – who was aged twenty-two months at the time – had hit her head on an upright support when the bus driver braked sharply to avoid a collision with an unmarked garda car.

The girl´s mother had taken her to Temple Street Children´s Hospital, where a cut on the young girl´s eyebrow was cleaned and sealed with seristrips. The girl subsequently developed a fear of being put into her buggy and was also seen by her GP in relation to a soft tissue injury. Although a barely visible scar remains, it is possible the girl´s eyebrow will not develop normally.

Through her mother, the girl made an eyebrow scar injury compensation claim against Dublin Bus and the Garda Commissioner. Liability for the girl´s injury was admitted, and an offer of eyebrow scar injury compensation amounting to €10,000 was forthcoming. However, as the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the offer of compensation had to be approved by a judge before the settlement could be made final.

At the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard the circumstances of the accident and the injury that the young girl had suffered. On inspection of the eyebrow, Judge Groarke said he could still see a visible scar and it was difficult to tell if the girl had made a complete recovery. He added he was reluctant to approve the proposed settlement until a medical report was prepared on how the injury may interfere with the growth of eyebrow hair in the girl´s later life. He subsequently adjourned the approval hearing for six weeks.

Judge Approves Interim Cerebral Palsy Settlement for Six-Year-Old Boy

A judge has approved an interim cerebral palsy settlement for a six-year-old boy and complimented the Health Service Executive for its cooperation.

The six-year-old boy from Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon was born at Sligo General Hospital in May 2010 after his birth had been avoidably delayed. According to the details of the case told to the High Court, a CTG trace at 5:30pm on the evening of the boy´s birth indicated that he was suffering foetal distress and should be delivered at the first possible opportunity.

However, rather than perform an emergency C-Section procedure within an appropriate period of time, the boy´s delivery took place more than two hours later. Due to the avoidable delay, the boy was starved of oxygen in the womb and was born with cerebral palsy. He now has a weakness on the right side of his body, although this does not appear to have prevented him from becoming a sociable child.

On the boy´s behalf, his mother made a claim for cerebral palsy compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE was quick to acknowledge liability and, as talks began with the boy´s parents to agree a cerebral palsy settlement, senior HSE personnel apologised for the mistake that had led to their son´s birth injuries and explained how it had happened.

The boy´s parents and the HSE agreed to an interim cerebral palsy settlement of €740,000 which will cover the family´s costs for the next five years – the extended period of time being due to the family having moved to Canada. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the interim cerebral palsy settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the boy´s best interests.

At the approval hearing – and after hearing details of the case – Mr Justice Kevin Cross complimented the HSE for its attitude, and said that an apology and an explanation was “absolutely something to be encouraged”. Approving the interim cerebral palsy settlement, Judge Cross said he was delighted with the progress the little boy had made, and he wished him well for the future.

Family Awarded Compensation for a Fatal Accident at Work

A family has been awarded almost €810,000 compensation for a fatal accident at work following an admission of liability by Cork County Council.

On 23rd November 2012, Michael O´Donovan (44) from Aghabullogue in County Cork was fatally injured while helping to clear pine trees at the Carr’s Hill pumping station at Arderrig. Michael – who was an employee of Cork County Council – had been standing behind the digger being used to fell a fifty-foot-high Scots pine. But, as the tree fell, it landed on a telephone cable. The pole supporting the cable snapped and hit Michael on the head as it fell.

An ambulance was summoned and Michael was resuscitated. However, the head injuries he sustained were fatal, and he died later that day in hospital. An inquest into the fatal accident returned a verdict of accidental death, but the jury was critical of the “careless and reckless” manner in which the task had been performed and made recommendations about how tree felling operations should be conducted in the future. The recommendations have since been adopted.

Cork County Council was subsequently prosecuted for three health and safety failings, and fined €48,000 by Cork Criminal Court in February 2016. Following the conviction, Michael´s wife – Yvonne – and her three children claimed compensation for a fatal accident at work. Incredibly, Cork County Council denied liability for Michael´s death and contested their claim on the grounds he had contributed to the tragedy by his own lack of care.

The civil hearing to resolve the claim took place last week at the Circuit Civil Court before Mr Justice Robert Eagar. The first day of the hearing, the court heard about the circumstances of the accident and, on day two, was told that Cork County Council was prepared to admit liability and the hearing could proceed for the assessment of damages only. After hearing actuarial evidence on behalf of the family, Judge Eagar awarded the family almost €810,000 compensation for a fatal accident at work.

Creche Employee Injury Claim Settled during Liability Hearing

A childcare worker´s creche employee injury claim has been settled for an undisclosed sum during a hearing to determine liability at the Circuit Civil Court.

In January 2015, Natasha Carberry (26) was working at the Precious Minds creche in Lucan, Dublin, when she was asked by a senior member of staff to help her change nappies in the babies room. Natasha was already looking after a group of one and two year old children, but she complied with the request, taking the children who were not sleeping with her.

The senior member of staff left the babies room shortly after to attend to other matters, and Natasha was left alone with nine children. While she was helping one of the children, she tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor and fell – twisting awkwardly as she landed and damaging soft tissues in her back and leg.

Despite seeking prompt medical attention from her GP, Natasha still suffers from back pain as a result of her accident and may have to look for another career. She applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her creche employee injury claim, but Precious Minds withheld their consent for the assessment to proceed and Natasha was issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

The hearing to determine liability was held recently before Judge Brian O´Callaghan at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing, a forensic engineer gave evidence that Natasha had been placed in an unduly stressful situation and that the creche had failed to have regard for her safety on the day of the accident due to the high child/adult ratio that existed once the senior member of staff left the room.

Precious Minds contested the creche employee injury claim on the grounds that one of Natasha´s duties was to keep the floor clear of hazards to protect the children from coming to harm. The creche claimed that, as Natasha had failed to notice and remove the plastic plate over which she had tripped, she was the author of her own misfortune.

However, following a brief adjournment, Judge O´Callaghan was informed that Natasha´s creche employee injury claim had been settled by mutual consent for an undisclosed sum and without an admission of liability. The judge complimented the two parties on reaching an agreement and awarded Natasha her legal costs before striking the claim.

Nurse Awarded Injury Compensation for Tripping in Tesco

A Dublin nurse has been awarded €48,000 injury compensation for tripping in Tesco after the store was found negligent in its control of customer traffic.

In January 2014, Bernadette Higgins (32) was making her way to the wine section of the Tesco Metro store in Terenure, Dublin, when she tripped over a six-pack of beer that had been left on the floor by a customer waiting to use the self-service check-out.

The customer helped Bernadette to her feet and apologised, but due to a pain in her knee an ambulance was called and she was taken to St. James´s Hospital. At the hospital an x-ray revealed a fracture of Bernadette´s left knee – a knee she had reconstruction surgery on five months previously.

As a result of her accident in Tesco´s, Bernadette had to undergo two further surgeries and is still having physiotherapy treatment. In addition to a visible scar on her knee, Bernadette still experiences pain in her left knee and has had to give up her hobbies of football and running.

Bernadette applied for an assessment of injury compensation for tripping in Tesco to the Injuries Board, but Tesco declined their consent for the assessment to be conducted. Bernadette was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

The hearing of her case took place last week at the Circuit Civil Court before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, who was told that Tesco was denying liability for Bernadette´s accident as the six-pack of beer had only been on the floor for seconds before Bernadette´s accident, and there was nothing they could have done to prevent it.

However, the judge ruled that the layout of Tesco Metro in Terenure meant that customers entering the store had to negotiate other customers waiting to pay for their shopping. The judge said that Tesco should provide a defined path for customers at the self-service checkout in order to better control customer traffic.

Judge Groarke initially awarded Bernadette €60,000 injury compensation for tripping in Tesco, but after taking into account that she was not properly looking where she was going, he reduced the award to €48,000 to account for her contributory negligence.

Settlement of Compensation for a Hypoxic Brain Injury Approved

The High Court has approved a €7.1 million settlement of compensation for a hypoxic brain injury in favour of a former barrister from County Meath.

In 2014, Frank Cowan (46) from Clonee in County Meath attended the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry, Dublin, due to suffering from persistent back pain. The former lawyer and barrister underwent routine cervical spine surgery; but, during the procedure, the management of his anaesthetic was inadequate and Frank suffered a hypoxic brain injury due to not receiving sufficient oxygen.

As a result of the anaesthetist´s negligence, Frank now requires around-the-clock care. Although he can smile at his two children and reacts in the presence of his family, he cannot communicate his needs or express when he is in pain. He is currently being cared for in a specialist care home, paid for by a trust set up by family and friends soon after he sustained his injury.

Frank´s wife – Janette – claimed compensation for a hypoxic brain injury on her husband´s behalf. The anaesthetist´s negligence was admitted last month, and a €7.1 million settlement of the claim was negotiated. As the claim for compensation for a hypoxic brain injury had been made on Frank´s behalf, the settlement of the claim had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Frank´s best interests.

Consequently, an approval hearing was scheduled for the High Court in Dublin. At the hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of Frank´s injury and that the family intend using the settlement of compensation for a hypoxic brain injury to provide care for Frank in the family home. The judge also heard that the litigation process had been distressing for the family, and that they were willing to accept the settlement to get the matter “done and dusted”.

After conveying his sympathy to the family for the terrible tragedy they had suffered, Judge Cross approved the settlement of compensation for a hypoxic brain injury and wished the family well for the future.

Judge Awards Compensation for an Injury Working in Dunnes Stores

A judge has awarded a woman €15,000 compensation for an injury working in Dunnes Stores after a damages assessment hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

In March 2012, Jessica Kelty (23) was working in Dunnes Stores in Tallaght, Dublin, when she was asked to go to the stockroom to bring a trolley of bread. As Jessica starting pushing the two-metre high trolley out of the stockroom, the tray on the top shelf of the trolley fell and struck her on the head.

Jessica – who also lives in Tallaght – was given first aid by a colleague and then attended the A&E department at Tallaght Hospital, where she was detained overnight for observation. Despite being diagnosed with no permanent injury, she has since suffered headaches and neck pain.

Jessica claimed compensation for an injury working in Dunnes Stores, and although the company admitted liability the amount of compensation being claimed was contested. No agreement could be found by negotiation, and the case went to the Circuit Civil Court for the assessment of damages.

At the hearing, Judge Terence O´Sullivan heard the circumstances of Jessica´s accident and was told that she had been knocked to the ground and felt dizzy afterwards. Solicitors representing Dunnes Stores argued that there had been no significant injury and attributed her neck pain to the work Jessica now does as a hairdresser.

Judge O´Sullivan noted that Jessica had not attended her doctor for three years after the accident or gone for any physiotherapy, and commented that she had done a poor job of looking after herself. Jessica´s solicitor told the judge that she had self-medicated with painkillers bought from her local pharmacy.

Saying that the court drew the conclusion she “wasn´t that badly hurt”, Judge O´Sullivan awarded Jessica €15,000 compensation for an injury working in Dunnes Stores, and gave the store leave to appeal the award of compensation provided that a payment of €10,000 was paid immediately to Jessica.

Child´s Claim for Electric Gate Injury Compensation Resolved

A nine-year-old boy´s claim for electric gate injury compensation has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with the approval of a €19,000 settlement.

In May 2010, Joel Gannon was just two-and-a-half years of age when his head got stuck between the railings of an electric gate as it was closing outside of his home in Cabra, Dublin. Joel´s head and shoulders were dragged along the ground as the gate closed, and although his father was able to free him quickly, Joel suffered a fractured left clavicle and abrasions to the left side of his face.

On her son´s behalf, Lyndsay Gannon made a claim for electric gate injury compensation against the Tuath Housing Association – the housing association responsible for the family home – and Dublin City Council. In her claim for electric gate injury compensation, Lyndsay alleged that the gate should have been covered with a metallic net to prevent such accidents from happening.

Liability was contested by both defendants but an offer of compensation amounting €19,000 was made to the family and they accepted it on the recommendation of their solicitor. However, as the claim for electric gate injury compensation had been made on behalf of a child, the offer had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Joel´s best interests.

Consequently an approval hearing was scheduled for the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of Joel´s accident and that an offer of settlement had been made without an admission of liability. After hearing that Joel had made a full recovery from the accident, Judge Groarke approved the settlement – commenting that Joel was lucky his father was close at hand at the time.

The settlement of compensation will now be paid into court funds until Joel reaches the age of maturity. If funds are required for Joel´s education or related medical costs before he turns eighteen years of age, the family can apply to the Circuit Civil Court to access some or all of the settlement.

Interim Settlement of Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of a Chicken Pox Infection Approved in Court

A €2.5 million interim settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of a chicken pox infection has been approved by a judge at the High Court in Dublin.

Eoghan Keating was soon to be celebrating his second birthday when, on 24th August 2012, his parents took him to the Accident and Emergency Department of Waterford Regional Hospital suffering from a high fever and having developed a rash on his abdomen.

Eoghan was diagnosed as having mumps and discharged. His parents – Larry and Martina – were told to treat him with ibuprofen and Carpol if his symptoms continued but, during the night, Eoghan´s health deteriorated. Larry and Martina called the caredoc GP service when Eoghan became lethargic and developed a swelling on his neck, and were told to return to the hospital.

On their return, Eoghan was correctly diagnosed as having a chicken pox infection. He was intubated and ventilated before being transferred to the Children´s Hospital in Dublin. Unfortunately the correct diagnosis had been made too late to prevent the infection causing a brain injury and – now six years of age – Eoghan is tetraplegic and cannot talk.

Martina sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the misdiagnosis of a chicken pox infection on her son´s behalf. In the action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) it was alleged that there had been a failure to identify the indications of a serious infection and admit Eoghan when the family first presented at the Waterford Regional Hospital.

The HSE admitted liability for Eoghan´s brain injury and an interim settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of a chicken pox infection was agreed. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the €2.5 million interim settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Eoghan´s best interests.

Consequently the sequence of events leading up to Eoghan´s brain injury and the consequences of his injury were related to Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. At the approval hearing, Richard Dooley – the General Manager of Waterford Regional Hospital – read an apology to the court apologising for the “deficiencies in care provided to Eoghan”.

Judge Cross told the Keatings “your suffering cannot be described or defined” before approving the interim settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of a chicken pox infection. The judge then adjourned the case for two years in order that an assessment of Eoghan´s future needs can be conducted.

High Court Awards Compensation for Being Trapped in a Shopping Centre Elevator

The High Court has awarded a woman who suffered a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia €25,060 compensation for being trapped in a shopping centre elevator.

Fifty-four year old Marie Dicker – a department store supervisor from Walkinstown in Dublin – was visiting the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght on August 31, 2012, when she took the elevator to travel down to the ground floor.

Soon after the elevator started to descend, it suddenly stopped. Marie banged on the door and shouted for help after finding the elevator´s alarm button unresponsive. Eventually a security guard heard the noise and was able to release her.

Although she had been trapped in the elevator for fewer than five minutes, the upsetting incident resulted in Marie suffering a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia. She was unable to go into rooms without leaving the door open behind her and had to remain close to the exit of any room she entered.

Marie sought professional medical help and was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression. She then spoke with a solicitor and made a claim for compensation for being trapped in a shopping centre elevator against Square Management Ltd and Pickering Lifts Ltd.

The two defendants admitted that there had been a breach in their duty of care, but contested how much compensation for being trapped in a shopping centre elevator Marie was claiming. The case consequently went to the High Court for an assessment of damages and was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

At the hearing, Judge Barr was told that Marie has been under the care of a psychologist since the incident and has responded well to cognitive behaviour therapy. However, the defendants claimed that Marie showed no signs of anxiety when she was evaluated by a psychiatrist on their behalf.

After being told that Marie´s treatment is expected to last a further twelve to eighteen months, Judge Barr said he was satisfied that the incident had caused a recurrence of Marie´s childhood claustrophobia and he awarded her €25,060 compensation for being trapped in a shopping centre elevator.

Health Minister Commits to Open Disclosure in Medical Negligence Cases

Health Minister Simon Harris has said he is going to introduce legislation to enforce the HSE´s guidelines for open disclosure in medical negligence cases.

In November 2013, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and State Claims Agency launched a nationwide program of open disclosure in medical negligence cases to support an “open, timely and consistent approach to communicating when things go wrong in healthcare”.

Although guidelines were published to support the policy of open disclosure in medical negligence cases, critics have claimed that the policy has not been consistently applied, and that a legal duty of candour in Ireland is required to overcome the “culture” of keeping quiet when mistakes are made.

In response to those critics, Health Minister Simon Harris has committed to introduce legislation to enforce the HSE´s guidelines as part of a series of measures intended to improve patient safety in Ireland.

Mr Harris was speaking at the State Claims Agency´s first annual “Quality, Patient Safety & Clinical Risk Conference” at Dublin Castle when he announced a “program of significant patient safety measures” that would be overseen by a new National Patient Safety Office.

According to Mr Harris, the new department will be responsible for:

  • Establishing and supporting a nationwide patient advocacy service.
  • Implementing a patient safety surveillance system.
  • Setting up a national advisory council for patient safety.

Working in conjunction with the Department of Justice and Equality, the National Patient Safety Office will also be responsible for accelerating the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill – a bill creating a national healthcare database to improve the provision and management of healthcare services throughout Ireland.

Due to the bill containing measures to protect patients´ private healthcare information, the proposals are unlikely to be enacted until after the European Union has issued revised data protection standards. However, the fact that Mr Harris has acknowledged the importance of open disclosure in medical negligence cases will please many patient healthcare advocates who believe former Health Minister Leo Varadkar sidestepped the opportunity to introduce appropriate legislation in the Civil Liberty (Amendment) Bill 2015.

Damages in Claim for Bicycle Courier Accident Compensation Determined at Hearing

The value of a claim for bicycle courier accident compensation, made against a Dublin taxi driver, has been determined at a hearing of the High Court.

In March 2015, bicycle courier Rotimi Omotayo was knocked from his bike when a Dublin taxi driver by Kenneth Griffin pulled out of stationary traffic on Custom House Quay. Fortunately Rotimi suffered relatively minor injuries, but alleged in his subsequent claim for bicycle accident compensation that he had lost three months of earnings because of his injuries.

The taxi driver´s insurance company disputed the amount of compensation being claimed, and also alleged that Rotimi had contributed to the cause of the accident by cycling along the hatched markings between the two carriageways. Unable to conduct an assessment, the Injuries Board gave Rotimi an Authorisation to take his claim for bicycle courier accident compensation to court.

The hearing took place recently at the High Court, where Mr Justice Bernard Barton heard experts from both parties give their account of how the accident happened. He concluded that Mr Griffin´s account was closer to the actual events, as expert witnesses described how the only damage done to the taxi was a broken wing mirror.

However, Judge Barton ruled that, as Rotimi was about to turn right from the Eastbound carriageway, he was entitled to be cycling in, or close to, the hatched markings between the two carriageways. The judge added that Mr Griffin had failed to keep a proper lookout before executing his manoeuvre and, as such, was fully liable for causing the accident.

The judge awarded Rotimi €30,000 general damages in settlement of his claim for bicycle courier accident compensation, but said there was insufficient evidence before the court to justify his claim for loss of earnings. Other items of special damages that had been “properly vouched and agreed” were allowed, including Rotimi´s legal costs.

€100,000 Settlement of Compensation for a Scar due to an Adverse Reaction Approved in Court

The High Court has approved a €100,000 settlement of compensation for a scar due to an adverse reaction in favour of a three-year-old girl.

Sophia Ryan was born on the 19th October 2012 at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin seventeen weeks premature. Immediately after her birth, Sophia was transferred to the Special Care Baby Unit, where she was administered medication via a series of catheters.

Prior to the insertion of the catheters, Sophia´s skin had been cleaned with chlorhexidine – a different antisepsis lotion from the povidone-iodine usually used on premature babies – as part of the National Children´s Research Centre´s “SKA trial”.

Sophia´s mother – Anne – had given permission for the lotion to be used on Sophia after being assured that it would not have any side effects or cause her daughter any discomfort. However, the morning after Sophia´s birth, nurses noticed she was distressed and had redness and ulcerations on her back.

The condition was attributed to an adverse reaction to the chlorhexidine. Sophia was administered morphine to provide pain relief and a cream used to prevent bacterial skin infections – Fucidim – was applied to her skin.

When a plastics specialist noted that Sophia had suffered a deep dermal skin burn on her back, the Fucidim treatment was discontinued and an alternate cream applied. Sophia´s condition improved, but she has been left with discoloured skin and a scar on her back that was likened by a consultant paediatric dermatologist in May 2014 as being similar to a chemical burn.

Through her father – Tom – Sophia claimed compensation for a scar due to an adverse reaction against the National Maternity Hospital; alleging that her mother would never have consented to the application of chlorhexidine had she been aware about the potential side effects.

The hospital made an offer of compensation for a scar due to an adverse reaction without an admission of liability, at the approval hearing at the High Court, Mr Justice Richard Humphries was told that Sophie will likely need a skin graft in the future to hide the discolouration and permanent scar.

On hearing the details of the hospital´s offer of €100,000, Judge Humphries approved the settlement of compensation for a scar due to an adverse reaction and ordered that the hospital also pay the Ryan´s legal costs.

Woman Awarded Compensation for a Slip on a Wet Manhole Cover

A woman who injured her ankle in an accident at Dublin Zoo has been awarded €105,000 compensation for a slip on a wet manhole cover by the High Court.

Gwen Kane (43) from Firhouse in Dublin was visiting Dublin Zoo with her family on 12th June 2011 as a treat to celebrate her son´s first birthday. As Gwen passing the sea lion enclosure, she slipped on a wet manhole cover and fell – injuring her right ankle.

Gwen was taken to hospital, where she was diagnosed as having dislocated the ankle. The ankle was put into a plaster cast for seven weeks and Gwen had to use crutches for a further nine weeks to help support her injured ankle.

Despite regaining her mobility, Gwen continued to experience pain from her accident. She sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a slip on a wet manhole cover – alleging that the Zoological Society of Ireland had been negligent by failing to clear rainwater away from walkways and viewing areas in order to provide a safe environment for the zoo´s visitors.

The Zoological Society of Ireland admitted liability for Gwen´s injury, but rejected the Injuries Board assessment of her claim. Gwen was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her case in court, and a hearing for the assessment of damages recently took place at the High Court.

At the hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the circumstances of Gwen´s accident and the consequences to her quality of life. He heard that, as a consequence of her accident, Gwen had to give up her hobbies of Breton folk dancing, cycling and long-distance walking – activities that she participated in for charity.

Judge Barr said he was satisfied Gwen had given a fair and accurate account of the consequences of the accident, and awarded her €105,000 compensation for a slip on a wet manhole cover in respect of her pain and suffering, with a further award of €9,988 special damages to account for the financial cost of her injury.

Interim Settlement of Compensation for Birth Injuries due to Medical Negligence Approved in Court

An interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to medical negligence at the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital has been approved in court.

On 19 August 2013, Catriona Enright was admitted to the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick, thirty-seven weeks into her pregnancy with son Charlie. After tests were conducted, the decision was made to induce labour and Catriona was administered Syntocinon.

Despite hyper-stimulation being a known side effect of Syntocinon, Catriona´s condition was not adequately monitored. A subsequent misinterpretation of the CTG tracing and a belated recognition of foetal distress led to Charlie being born “flat” the following day, unable to breathe independently.

Charlie was transferred to Cork University Hospital, where he was diagnosed as having suffered an intra-cranial haemorrhage and treated with therapeutic hypothermia (“head cooling”). However, due to the brain damage Charlie suffered prior to his birth, he is severely and permanently disabled.

On her son´s behalf, Catriona claimed compensation for birth injuries due to medical negligence against the Midwestern Regional Maternity Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE). Liability was admitted for Charlie´s birth injuries and an interim settlement of €1.75 million agreed while a report is prepared into Charlie´s future needs.

As the claim for compensation for birth injuries due to medical negligence was made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Charlie´s best interests. Consequently, at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the circumstances leading up to Charlie´s birth.

Judge Barr approved the interim settlement, saying it was a very good one that should take care of the boy´s needs for the next two years. After two years, the family will have to return to court for the approval of a subsequent interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries due to medical negligence or the approval of a lump sum payment, assuming that no system of periodic payments is introduced in the meantime.

Permanent Scar Compensation Claim Resolved at High Court

A permanent scar compensation claim has been resolved at the High Court with the approval of a €106,000 settlement in favour of a seventeen-year-old girl.

In August 2009, Shauna Burke from Corbally in County Limerick was on holiday with her family at Slattery´s Caravan Park in Lahinch, County Clare, when she lacerated her leg on a nail that was allegedly protruding from a box attached to a pole. Shauna – who was ten years old at the time – received medical treatment for her injury, but – now seventeen years of age – has a permanent visible scar above her knee.

On Shauna´s behalf, John Burke – her father – made a permanent scar compensation claim against the owner of the caravan park – Austin Francis Slattery. Slattery denied that he was liable for Shauna´s injury and the resulting scar, but agreed to a €106,000 settlement of the permanent scar compensation claim – made up of €90,000 for Shauna´s pain and suffering and €16,000 for her future medical care.

As the permanent scar compensation claim had been made on behalf of a child, the offer of settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Shauna´s best interests. Consequently at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr heard allegations that the nail on which Shauna cut her leg was a hazard that should have been removed due to it being located in an area often frequented by guests at the caravan park.

After inspecting the scar, Judge Barr said that the proposed settlement of the permanent scar compensation claim was a good one and that he was happy to approve it. Because Shauna is still a legal minor, the judge ordered that the settlement should be paid into court funds, where it will remain in an interest yielding account until Shauna´s eighteenth birthday.

Settlement of Claim for the Negligent Administration of Chemotherapy Approved

The settlement of a claim for the negligent administration of chemotherapy has been approved at the High Court in favour of a permanently brain damaged woman.

Pauline Carroll (65) from Mountmellick in County Laois attended the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore on 1st November 2010 for an update on her cancer. Pauline had previously undergone surgery to remove a tumour and had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since August 2010.

Despite requesting that she see a doctor first, Pauline was immediately given another course of chemotherapy. When she was able to see a doctor, she was informed that the chemotherapy treatment should not have been administered because her white blood cell count was too low.

Two days after the negligent administration of chemotherapy, Pauline suffered a cardiac arrest at her home. She was taken to hospital, where she suffered a second cardiac arrest that led to her sustaining permanent brain damage. Pauline is now in a vegetative state and cared for at a nursing home.

After seeking legal advice, Pauline´s husband – Kevin – made a claim for the negligent administration of chemotherapy against the Midland Regional Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

In his legal action, Kevin alleged that the chemotherapy treatment should not have been administered before Pauline had seen the doctor, especially as it was known that Pauline had complained of cardiac pain three months earlier, and the chemotherapy drugs she had been administered were cardiotoxic.

The HSE denied negligence and claimed there was no connection between the administration of chemotherapy, Pauline´s cardiac arrest and subsequent permanent brain damage. However, after years of negotiations a settlement of the claim for the negligent administration of chemotherapy was agreed.

According to the terms of the settlement, the HSE will pay Pauline´s family €975,000 compensation and pay for Pauline´s care at the nursing home for the rest of her life. As the claim for the negligent administration of chemotherapy was made on behalf of a person unable to represent themselves, the settlement had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently the details of the claim for the negligent administration of chemotherapy were related to Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. Approving the settlement, Judge Cross commented it was a “very good legal outcome for what has been an unfortunate and tragic outcome”.

Man Ordered to Pay Compensation for Defamatory Comments Posted on Facebook

A County Monaghan man has been ordered to pay €75,000 compensation for defamatory comments posted on Facebook about the National Director of the NARGC.

Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court heard that on or around December 22, 2015, John Gilsenan from Castleblayney in County Monaghan posted defamatory comments on Facebook relating to the way in which the National Director of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) had managed the Association´s finances.

The defamatory comments alleged that Desmond Crofton – from Stonestown in County Offaly – had made decisions regarding the organisation´s finances that had caused the NARGC “to go broke”. After other members of the Association had been alerted to the comments, a confrontation ensued, and Crofton was suspended from his position as National Director on full pay.

Crofton took legal advice and claimed compensation for defamatory comments posted on Facebook against Gilsenan. At the Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court, Judge John O´Hagan was told that Gilsenan had initially contested the claim, but had since abandoned the matter and – as the claim was now uncontested – the case was before the judge for the assessment of damages only.

After hearing the facts of the case, Judge O´Hagan ordered that Gilsenan should pay Crofton €75,000 compensation for defamatory comments posted on Facebook. The judge commented that he was awarding Crofton the maximum amount possible in order to “teach people posting messages on the social media site to be very careful”.

UN: Ireland´s Ban on Abortions for Fatal Foetal Abnormalities “Inhuman and Degrading”

Ireland´s ban on abortions for fatal foetal abnormalities has been described as “inhuman and degrading” by the United Nations´ Human Rights Committee.

According to Article 40.3.3º of the Constitution and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, the right to life of an unborn foetus is protected unless the mother´s health is at risk. The ban on abortions for fatal foetal abnormalities means that mothers carrying unborn children with no hope of survival after birth have to leave Ireland to have a termination.

One such mother was Amanda Mellet. Amanda was given the devastating news in November 2011 that her unborn child would die in the womb or shortly after birth due to a fatal foetal anomaly. Amanda travelled alone to the UK to have a termination and – due to limited funds – had to return to Ireland just twelve hours after undergoing the procedure.

Unlike cases in which women suffer miscarriages, Amanda did not receive any post-operative medical care in Ireland or bereavement counselling – a situation that was aggravated when the ashes of her unborn child were delivered to her by courier three weeks later. Amanda also felt stigmatised by having circumnavigated Ireland´s ban on abortions for fatal foetal abnormalities.

Amanda co-founded the organization “Termination for Medical Reasons” in order to campaign for a change to the ban on abortions for fatal foetal abnormalities. She also contacted the European branch of the Centre for Reproductive Rights – who filed a complaint on Amanda´s behalf with the United Nations´ Human Rights Committee.

Earlier this week, the Committee upheld the complaint and described Ireland´s ban on abortions for fatal foetal abnormalities as “inhuman and degrading”. The Committee said that the ban discriminated against Amanda and jeopardised her well-being by subjecting her to unnecessary financial and emotional suffering.

The Human Rights Committee reported: “The State party should amend its law on voluntary termination of pregnancy, including if necessary its Constitution, to ensure compliance with the Covenant, including effective, timely and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination in Ireland, and take measures to ensure that healthcare providers are in a position to supply full information on safe abortion services without fearing being subjected to criminal sanctions.”

In addition to telling the Government to reverse the ban on abortions for fatal foetal abnormalities, the Committee said that the state should compensate Amanda for failing to take her medical needs and socio-economic circumstances into account. The Committee commented that many of the negative events Amanda had experienced could have been avoided if she had had been allowed to terminate the pregnancy “in the familiar environment of her own country and under the care of health professionals whom she knew and trusted.”

Injury Claim for a Car Crash in Antrim Resolved at High Court

A passenger´s injury claim for a car crash in Antrim has been resolved following a hearing at the High Court in Belfast and an award of £464,655 compensation.

In July 2012, 29-year-old Rosie Sands was a passenger in a friend´s car travelling along the A57 near Doagh in County Antrim, when the car was involved in a head-on collision with an oncoming jeep and trailer driven by Stephen Hamilton.

Rosie´s friend – 21-year-old Michelle Hulford – was tragically killed in the accident, and the driver of the car and two further passengers were also injured. Rosie from Exmouth in Devon was taken to hospital with injuries to her back, abdomen and shoulder.

Rosie returned to Exmouth on her release from hospital, but suffered from flashbacks and nightmares that prevented her from completing her honours degree at Bath Spa University and competing in the British Sailing Championships.

She was subsequently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and, after seeking legal advice, Rosie made an injury claim for the car crash in Antrim – seeking compensation for her personal injuries, her loss of earnings and the cost of her care and treatment.

The driver of the jeep admitted liability for causing the accident, and the injury claim for a car crash in Antrim proceeded to the High Court in Belfast for the assessment of damages, where it was heard by Mr Justice Adrian Colton.

At the hearing, Judge Colton heard how Rosie´s life had changed “irrevocably” due to the accident. Formerly a Gold Standard sailor, Rosie´s injuries now prevent her from competing competitively. She has also had to abandon a planned career in the RAF or Navy.

Judge Colton said that the evidence Rosie had given in support of her injury claim for a car crash in Antrim had been “honest, understated, stoical and admirable”. He awarded Rosie £464,655 and wished her well for the future.

Final Payment of Delayed Delivery Cerebral Palsy Compensation Approved in Court

A final payment of delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation has been approved in the High Court in favour of sixteen year old girl described as “heroic”.

Sixteen-year-old student Mary Malee was born on 11th October 1999 by emergency Caesarean section at Mayo General Hospital after an alleged delay in locating a paediatrician. Due to the alleged delay and a miscommunication when the paediatrician arrived, Mary´s delivery was delayed by eighty minutes – during which time her brain was starved of oxygen and she suffered cerebral palsy.

On Mary´s behalf, her mother – Maura Malee from Swinford, County Mayo – claimed delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation from the Health Service Executive, alleging that there had been a failure to ensure the presence of a paediatrician when it was known that Mary was in distress in the womb, and that the hospital´s medical negligence led to the failure to conduct Mary´s birth in a timely manner.

An interim settlement of delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation was approved in March 2014 and Mary´s case was adjourned for two years in anticipation of laws allowing for the introduction of phased payments of compensation for catastrophically injured claimants. As structured settlements are still not available, Mary and her parents returned to the High Court last week to have a €5.56 million final payment of delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation approved.

At the hearing, Mary explained to Mr Justice Peter Kelly that “the stress of ongoing engagement with the HSE and the courts is not what I want”. The judge also heard that Mary has ambitions to become an advocate for people with disabilities, and describing Mary´s achievements to date as “heroic”, Judge Kelly approved the final payment of delayed delivery cerebral palsy compensation.

Also at the hearing an apology from the Mayo General Hospital was read to Mary, expressing the hospital´s deep regret for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth”. Mary subsequently gave a statement to the press in which she said: “Cerebral palsy won’t kill me but I have to learn to live with it … it’s for life. This shouldn’t have happened to me and others like me. Justice has been done and I’m bringing closure to this, we can move on with our lives”.

Pony Ride Injury Compensation Claim Settled during Hearing

A pony ride injury compensation claim, made by a woman left with a permanent scar after her accident, has been settled during a hearing to establish liability.

Maria Gray (35) – a dentist from Belfast – was among a group of friends having a hen weekend in Galway when she went on a pony trek at Feeney’s Riding School in Thonabrocky on 15th July 2013. The trek started without incident but, as the party slowly descended a steep incline, the legs of Maria´s pony buckled and Maria fell from the saddle.

Maria sustained a deep cut on her chin and a wrist injury. She was taken to hospital, where the cut was cleaned and stitched, but she now has a permanent scar that is visible to her patients. Maria´s wrist injury deteriorated and she had to undergo eight weeks of physiotherapy – during which time she was unable to work because of a splint on her arm.

After seeking legal advice, Maria made a pony ride injury compensation claim against the owners of the riding school – Gerard and Siobhan Feeney. In her legal action, Maria alleged that pony was too small for her 5 foot 8½ inches frame and was only suitable for a child under the age of fourteen. She also claimed that the school had not given her adequate instruction on how to ride the pony.

The Feeney´s denied that the pony was too small for Maria, and argued that she had been offered a larger pony to ride, but had declined the opportunity. Without the riding school owner´s consent to carry out an assessment, the Injuries Board issued Maria with an authorisation to pursue her pony ride injury compensation claim through the courts.

The hearing to determine liability opened before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam at the High Court last week. Maria told the judge it was her belief that the pony had already been out on a trek earlier on that very hot day. Consequently it was hungry and tired, and kept stopping to eat grass. She added that the pony was only suitable for a child under fourteen years of age because of its age.

Before the second day of the hearing could get underway, the judge was told that the parties had come to an agreement and the pony ride injury compensation claim could be struck.

Claim for Brain Damage due to Negligent Surgery Heard in Court

The details of a claim for brain damage due to negligence surgery have been heard in the High Court prior to the approval of an interim settlement.

Jude Miley was born on 16th July 2011. In January 2012 Jude was diagnosed with a condition affecting the contour of his diaphragm and he underwent surgery at Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children to assist his breathing.

Unfortunately, a suture used in the operation was left untied and, due to its proximity to Jude´s heart, damaged the organ every time Jude took a breath. Two days after the operation, Jude went into cardiac arrest – suffering brain damage when his brain was starved of oxygen.

On his son´s behalf, Greville Miley – from Dundrum in Dublin – made a claim for brain damage due to negligent surgery against the hospital; alleging that the suture had been placed without the surgeon having sight of the heart and other vital organs.

Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children only admitted liability for Jude´s injury last year – originally contesting the claim for brain damage due to negligent surgery on the grounds that the risk of cardiac arrest was a known risk of the surgery, and nothing could be done about it.

As Mr Justice Anthony Barr heard at the High Court earlier this week, Jude´s parents were also excluded from the hospital´s internal investigation after being asked to be kept informed of any developments. Both Greville and Anne Louise subsequently had to give up their jobs to care for their son.

However, once the hospital had admitted liability, an interim settlement of the claim for brain damage due to negligent heart surgery amounting to €1.8 million was agreed. This interim settlement will allow the family to buy a suitable home to raise Jude and compensate Greville and Anne Louise for their loss of income.

Judge Barr approved the interim settlement of compensation and adjourned the case for an assessment of Jude´s future needs to be made.

HSE Settles Claim for Undiagnosed Bleeding on the Brain

The Health Service Executive has admitted partial liability in a claim for undiagnosed bleeding on the brain and settled the claim for €2.7 million.

On 26th June 2006, Paula Dundon (42) attended the Naas General Hospital complaining of a sudden and severe onset of headaches accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Paula was treated with painkillers and underwent a CT scan on her brain.

The CT scan allegedly failed to determine the cause of her headaches but, as her condition did not improve, Paula – from Brownstown in County Kildare – underwent a second CT scan three days later that revealed a large intra cerebral bleed on the left side of her brain.

Paula was transferred to the Beaumont Hospital, where a further investigation determined that she had suffered an intra cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage. Due to the length of time between attending Naas General Hospital and being transferred to the Beaumont Hospital, the bleeding on Paula´s brain caused her to suffer brain damage, and the former hairdresser now requires 24-hour care.

On his wife´s behalf, Michael Dundon made a claim for undiagnosed bleeding on the brain. In his legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE), Michael alleged that there had been a failure to adequately assess Paula´s condition when she attended the hospital in Naas and the failure to carry out a prompt diagnosis that would have accelerated Paula´s transfer to the Beaumont Hospital.

The HSE contested the element of the claim for undiagnosed bleeding on the brain that related to the failure to assess, but agreed that Paula´s brain injury should have been identified sooner – facilitating her transfer to the Beaumont Hospital where she could have received appropriate treatment and her brain damage would not have been so severe.

A settlement of the claim for undiagnosed bleeding on the brain was agreed for €2.7 million. However, as the claim had been made on behalf of a plaintiff who was unable to represent herself, the settlement had to be approved by a judge. The approval hearing took place earlier this week before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

Approving the settlement, Judge Cross said Michael and his two children should be congratulated for the care they had given to Paula since her injury. He wished the family all the best for the future.