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.