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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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