The High Court has approved the settlement of a roofer´s fall from height injury compensation in favour of a man who suffered life-changing brain damage due to the accident.
On 18th July 2012, Paul O’Brien (50) from Glenealy in County Wicklow was working on the roof of a house in Bray on the first day of a roofing contract – his first paid employment since the construction industry went into decline in 2008.
When it started to rain, Paul went to descend from the roof of the house using a ladder that had been propped up against the property to provide access to the roof. As he attempted to get onto the ladder, it slipped on the timber decking it had been placed upon, and Paul crashed to the ground.
Paul suffered a significant head trauma in the accident which manifested into permanent brain damage, and Paul now has limited short-term memory which will prevent him from ever working again.
Through his wife – Sandra – Paul made a compensation claim for a roofer´s fall from height against his employer – Sean Lyons of Clondalkin, Dublin – claiming that Lyons failed to provide a safe environment in which to work or suitable scaffolding to enable him to conduct his work safely.
It was also alleged that the ladder that had been provided was unfit for the purpose of safely descending from the roof, that it had not been fastened to the property, and that the combination of an unsuitable ladder and the wet timber decking on which it had been placed resulted in a hazardous means of exit from the roof.
At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Sandra O´Brien had taken a two-year sabbatical from her job to care for her husband; and that a settlement of roofer´s fall from height injury compensation had been agreed out-of-court amounting to €1.5 million.
Judge Irvine approved Paul´s settlement, stating that it was a good one when taking into consideration that Paul´s contributory negligence may have been a factor had the case gone to court. She then closed the hearing, saying that she sympathised with the position of the O’Brien family.