Claims News

Mother and Son Kept Apart for 51 years Sue Adoption Agency Fro Wrongful Separation Compensation

Posted on: August 14th, 2018

A mother who claims her son had been illegally adopted, has said she hoped the settlement in her wrongful separation compensation legal action would encourage others to act, and that the authorities would support and assist them.

Tressa Reeves, formerly Donnelly and her son Patrick Paddy Farrell, originally named Andre Donnelly, had taken the action against St Patrick’s Guild (Incorporated) adoption society which was run by the Sisters of Charity Nuns, and the State followin of her long search for him following his adoption in 1961.

The defendants in the compensation action denied the claims that Ms Reeves made.

On the what was the fourth day of the hearing, following lengthy talks between the side, Eanna Mulloy SC, instructed by Neil Cosgrave solicitor, for the mother and son told the court late this evening the parties had reached “a comprehensive agreement”.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald said he was “really delighted” the case had been resolved and agreed to strike out the proceedings, with liberty to apply to have the action reentered.

The terms of the settlement are were not made public.

Both Farrell (aged 57) and Reeves (aged 79) said his ‘adoption’ was illegal and claimed his placement with the Farrells was done without the legal safeguards provided under the adoption laws. Additionally they claimed false birth and baptism certs were produced for baby Andre.

During the case it was alleged that false misrepresentations made in relation to Patrick’s location and claims were made that St Patrick’s engaged in a conspiracy, deceit and did not provide them with information about each other in a timely manner.

Additionally it was claimed that the State did not recognise the mother and son’s rights. The claims were all denied.

Ms Reeves gave birth to her son at a clinic in Dublin on 13 March 1961 and just days later he was taken and placed with a family in Co Carlow and given the name Patrick Farrell. The Court was told that Ms Reeves spent decades looking for him and they were reunited in 2013 – Mr Farrell only discovered in 2012 that he had been illegally adopted.

Speaking outside the Four Courts following the completion of the legal action, Ms Reeves said that when her search began there had not ‘even been a landing on the moon’ and that since then there had been many advances in technology that made the task easier.

However, Ms Reeves stated that said things had not improved for the men and women affected by illegal adoption, some of whom she said, did not even know their own identity.

 

€256k PTSD Awarded to Chinese Woman Knocked Down by Car in Dublin

Posted on: July 17th, 2018

An accountancy student has been awarded more than €250,000 in personal injury compensation damages after a High Court judge found she experienced post-traumatic stress disorder after being struck by a car in Dublin in 2011.

The total award to Cheng Zhang (36) by Mr Justice Anthony Barr was €465,526 but this was reduced as contributory negligence. The contributory negligence attributed to her was assessed at 45pc as she had opted to cross the junction when the pedestrian light was red.

The judge said that due to the car crash Ms Zhang became profoundly mentally unhealthy and could no longer work. Her job was her only source of income and, as a result, she fell into rent arrears, became homeless and required local authority emergency accommodation.

Due to the level of intelligence, ambition and high level functioning which Ms Zhang displayed prior to the accident, Judge Barr said that was satisfied that she would have gone on to qualify as a certified accountant and would have secured full employment if it was not for the accident.

Ms Zhang, a native of the Liaoning province of China came to Ireland in 2003 to study English. When the accident occurred she was studying accountancy.

She had sued the driver of the car Stephen Farrell of Shelbourne Park Apartments,  Ringsend, Dublin as a result of the accident  April 17 2011. She was crossing at the junction of Merrion Row and Merrion Street Upper when she was thrown into the air having been hit by a car which was turning left from Merrion Street Upper into Merrion Row.

It was stated in Court that she suffered soft tissue injury to her knees and pelvis and a blow to the head. This meant that she was unable to move or communicate for about an hour after the accident occurred. The Court was also told that Ms Zhang went on to develop severe and persistant mental illness in the form of post traumatic stress disorder  as well as the condition referred to as fibromyalgia.

Legal representative for Mr Farrell argued that Ms Zhang had listed a number of physical complaints for which no organic basis could be established and that she now suffers from an anxiety disorder.

Mr Justice Barr accepted the evidence of Ms Zhang’s psychiatrist that she suffered significant and serious mental health issues due to the road accident and that following the accident there was a catastrophic change to her mental stability.

He also accepted the evidence of the psychiatrist Ms Zhang’s symptoms are severe, chronic and enduring despite treatment efforts to date.

 

Bus Passenger Awarded €25k for Injuries Sustained in Sudden Braking Incident

Posted on: July 4th, 2018

A bus passenger who was injured after a bus she was travelling was involved in a crash has been awarded €25,000 in the Circuit Civil Court.

The accident occurred when a man ran onto a road in front of a bus to attack a group of Asian people, forcing the bus drover to suddenly brake.

Judge Terence O’Sullivan was advised that the man had flung a bottle at group of people and then “turned on a sixpence in a millisecond” giving a Dublin Bus driver no chance to swerve and avoid hitting him. Susan Lennox BL told the court Rachel Hardiman (28) was a passenger on the bus at the time and was thrown forward sustaining injuries to her face, neck, shoulders and arm in the incident that took place on September 23, 2012.

Judge O’Sullivan, in approving an award to Ms Hardiman of €25,000 bus injury compensation and costs against Dublin Bus, said although the driver had lifted his foot off the accelerator after spotting the man on the road, the court did not believe this to have been a sufficient course of action. He also granted Dublin Bus an order for €25,000 and costs against Mr Richardson, the individual who threw the bottle in the incident that resulted in the bus traffic accident.

Gerard O’Herlihy, legal representative for Dublin Bus, told Judge O’Sullivan James Richardson had been joined to the proceedings as a third party but was not present in court despite having been served with the proceedings.

The judge felt any competent driver would have had enough time to slow down as drivers could not always expect pedestrians to do exactly what they expected. The bus driver had incorrectly predicted that the pedestrian was going to continue across the road instead of turning around and this was not what happened.

€37,500 Hot Chocolate Burn Compensation Awarded to 10-Year-Old Girl

Posted on: June 25th, 2018

€37,500 in damages has been awarded to a Wexford girl, aged 10,  who was scaled by hot chocolate in a New Ross-based takeaway in 2014.

Kaya Caulfield, taking the burns injury compensation action through her mother Leann Kelly, of 21 Ard Mhicil, New Ross, brought the civil action against Cillgarman Ltd, trading as O’Brien’s Sandwich Bar, South Street, New Ross. The Court was told by Counsel Grainne Fahy, instructed by solicitor Martin Lawlor, that Leann Kelly had bought the beverage for her daughter Kaya at O’Brien’s Sandwich Bar. The young girl, who was aged six at the time, was inflicted with burns when the hot chocolate as she sat in her mother’s car.  It is claimed that the spillage occurred as the lid was not properly secured to the hot chocolate cup.

After the spillage Kaya was taken to the Care Doc and subsequently to Waterford Regional Hospital. From here she was transferred to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin where she was diagnosed with 2% superficial scalding to the medial aspect of both thighs. Her wounds were dressed and she was an in-patient at the hospital for 48 hours.

The Court was told that the scar had now healed and can no longer be seen which is not normally the case with burns injuries such as those suffered by Kaya.

Presiding Judge Alice Doyle said that a hot chocolate burns compensation offer of €37,500 with €900 special damages plus costs had been made by Cillgarman Ltd’s insurance company. Judge Doyle approved accept the compensation settlement, awarding Kaya the full amount.

Wrongful Birth Compensation of €1.8m Awarded Following Incorrect Foetus Test

Posted on: June 21st, 2018

The first ever wrongful birth case in Ireland has been settled for an interim payment of €1.8m after a mother, who is a carrier of a rare genetic condition,  claimed she was deprived of her right to travel for an abortion.

Her baby was delivered with the same disabling condition after a prenatal test on the foetus for that condition came back with a normal result.

This is the first ever case for wrongful birth, based upon the right to travel, that has been successful at the High Court.

The mother advised the High Court that she had planned to exercise her constitutional right to travel to the England for an abortion if the test had returned results showing that her unborn child had the same debilitating genetic condition. However, her child was born with the this condition and now requires 24-hour care. The mother alleges that, based on the test results, she was deprived of the ability to have an informed consent and to make an informed choice in respect of the continuance of her pregnancy.

Legal Counsel for the mother, Oonagh McCrann SC, told the High Court that the parents proceeded happily and joyfully with the pregnancy after the normal result came back on the test. Subsequently, they experienced much shock and grief when the baby was delivered and found to have the rare genetic condition with very significant and profound disability.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross placed a barring order in relation to reporting of details that may identify the mother and child. The mother had taken the wrongful birth compensation action against the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Dublin. Complete liability in the case was officially accepted by latter on June 13 last.

It said that “in the particular circumstances of this case and in light of the outcome of the recent referendum repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution”, liability was accepted and the public policy defence was withdrawn.

Mr Justice Cross, noting liability had been accepted, said he would have thought the result of the referendum had nothing to do with this.

 

Donegal Widow Awarded Compensation for Sea Death of Husband and Son in 1981

Posted on: May 20th, 2018

Winifred Byrne, a Donegal widow, has finally been awarded €245,570 in lost at sea compensation.

Ms Byrne secured Ombudsman’s support for State compensation in 2009 after she was excluded from a scheme over exclusion from a Government scheme by the n Minister for the Marine Frank Fahey during the 1990s. Mr Fahey launched a restricted scheme to encourage families who had lost vessels between 1980 and 1989 to stay in fishing, by awarding compensatory them “tonnage”

Ms Byrne, a resident of Bruckless in Co Donegal, has been awarded an ex-gratia payment from current Minister for Marine Michael Creed, after a 14-year dispute when she was left out of the scheme. Despite there being 67 applications through the scheme, only six were approved and 75% of the funds paid were to constituents of the then Minister Fahey.

Ms Byrne’s husband Francis and her 16-year-old son Jimmy were lost along with three other crewmen after their fishing boat Skifjord perished off the coast in 1981.

As the scheme had not been widely publicised the Byrne family brought an official complaint in 2004 after their initial application had been rejected. Ombudsman Ms Emily O’Reilly ruled in their favour in December 2009, commenting that the scheme had been improperly managed.

Danny Byrne said that his mother has now received the payment, and praised Minister of the Marine Mr Michael Creed, and to former Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins who had supported the family’s cause over the years.

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West commented on the case saying, “I want to extend my congratulations to the Byrne family for the sheer determination and perseverance they exhibited in seeing through their campaign against successive Irish Governments on the Lost at Sea scheme.  I am delighted that they have now finally received the compensation that was legislatively owed to them and hope that this will close what I am sure has been a difficult, and at times frustrating, case.

“The Byrnes, who tragically lost two members of their family, three crew members and their entire livelihood had been fighting against their exclusion from the scheme for over 3 decades.”

 

Woodwork Student (15) Awarded €42,500 School Injury Compensation

Posted on: May 6th, 2018

A 15 year old boy has been awarded €42,500 School Injury Compensation after cutting his finger on a band saw during a woodwork class.

Robin Reinplu, The Drive, Meadowvale, Arklow, filed the personal injury compensation action against Arklow CBS in Co. Wicklow, in relation to the classroom accident that took place on January 13, 2016.

Mr Reinplu’s legal representative Michael Byrne SC, said he had been operating a band saw to cut a piece of wood when he was brushed against by another student in the class. His finger was cut by the band saw which was still running.

Robin, now aged 17, was quickly taken to his family doctor, who sent him for further treatment to to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin. The injuries he suffered included a two to three centimetre cut on his index finger, and a fracture on his finger tip. After surgery to mend his nail bed he was left with a six centimetre scar.

After the surgical treatment, Robin missed school for a number of weeks and underwent a program of hand therapy and, following further review, it was seen that he was suffering a loss of sensation and grip, and a difficulty playing basketball. The scar also was sore during periods of cold weather, the court was told. 

Reimo Reinplu, the boys’ father, who took the the schoolroom compensation action, argued that the school was negligent in not taking any safety precautions, providing proper guidance on using the machine and did not maintain adequate supervision in the classroom during the class period. As a result of these factors Robin was ‘jokingly’ knocked into by a classmate.  The safety guard on the band saw should have been set at a level which would have prevented the boy’s accident from happening.

The personal injury case was submitted against Edmund Rice Schools Trust, the owner and operator of the CBS school in Arklow. The Trust denied liability in the matter relating to the classroom injury compensation claim. 

The settlement offer of €42,500 for school accident injury compensation was approved by Judge Kevin Cross.

Van Driver Awarded €116,000 after being Rear-Ended in Traffic

Posted on: April 18th, 2018

A driver who suffered a serious back injury after being rear-ended while stopped in traffic in Castlemartyr, Co Cork has been awarded over €116,000 in compensation.

His vehicle was struck from behind by a Ford Transit van whose driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.

The man, Christopher Quilligan, of Avalon, Lehenaghmore, Farmers Cross, Cork, took a a case for rear-ended traffic accident compensation in Cork.

John O’Mahony, Mr Quilligan’s legal representative began presenting evidence in the case. However, before the second day of the hearing, yesterday afternoon, counsel  for the defence Tom Creed advised presiding Mr Justice Robert Haughton that the parties had reached agreement on a settlement of €116,956.

The Judge praised the parties for reaching a settlement and liability was accepted. The case was before the court only for final assessment of damages.

Mr Quilligan, describing the events of leading up, during and following the accident said: “It was 5.15pm. All of a sudden there was a bang. I was pushed forward. The driver behind fell asleep and pushed me on 10 to 15ft and pushed me on to the car in front of me. When I initially got out of the car I had low back pain and pain across my ribs where I was wearing a seatbelt. I drove the car home. That evening after a few hours I went to Cork University Hospital. The pain was severe and protracted.”

Mr Quilligan was aged 23 when the accident occurred. He was in a very fit and healthy with no previous history of back difficulty but due to this accident, he suffered a rupture that made surgery necessary.

His legal Counsel Mr O’Mahony stated that: “The problem is that, notwithstanding neurosurgical interventions ,he has continued to be symptomatic. He has had a rough period of time since December 2012.”

Thumb Dislocation Compensation of €15,000 award to Wexford-based Garda

Posted on: April 16th, 2018

Wexford-based garda Awarded €15,000 in Thumb Dislocation Compensation following sustaining injuries while attending to a house call in relation to a party in Wexford town.

Garda Barry Hennessy told the court that, as a keen golfer, he now has to use pain killers in cold weather has been awarded €15,000 personal injury compensation in the High Court for the injury he sustained.

During a Garda Compensation hearing Garda Hennessy told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that the injury does affect his life aside from sometime suffering pain and stiffness.

Now aged 36, Hennessey told his barrister David Richardson he was called to a house in Clonard Village, Wexford, that in June 2009 as loud music from there was disturbing locals.

Upon reaching the house he had found the door open so he entered and found a man lying on a couch. A second individual came in he started to roar and shout.

Garda Hennessy told the Court that he had been jostled and struck in the face. Subsequently, when he tried to make an arrest, his left thumb was pushed back and dislocated.

At that point Garda Hennessy withdrew as he had seen that there were golf clubs and a fishing rod in the apartment. A colleague brought him to Wexford Hospital when he returned to the garda station. Here his thumb was manipulated under local anaesthetic. His thumb remained in a cast for several week and Garda Hennessy was absent from work for a few weeks.

Garda Hennessy told the Court: “There is nothing I cannot now do with my thumb but when it involves lifting something or gripping something it can still be painful. I have had to take pain killers before playing golf”.

He added that he had been advised that he should have surgery to help the injury. However, he chose not to do so.

Judge Twomey awarded Garda Hennessy €15,000 and revealed in the announcement that he (Garda Hennessy) had not undergone physiotherapy or opted for the other treatments that were available to him.

 

Former RTÉ Employee Awarded €50,000 after WRC Ruling on Age Discrimination

Posted on: March 23rd, 2018

The former RTÉ presenter Valerie Cox was awarded €50,000 yesterday by the Workplace Relations Commission after they found the broadcaster had discriminated against her on age grounds.

The WRC was told Ms Cox, who was employed by RTÉ for 21 years before her retirement in 2016, had two separate contracts of employment with two separate sets of terms and conditions.

Speaking on Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Cox said: “I loved working with you, it was a lovely, lovely job. I would have loved to have stayed on, I don’t know how long for but I would have loved it.

“I’m working as a freelance journalist and still loving it. It’s one of the best jobs in the world,” she said.

Ms Cox was on two contracts with RTE. The first contract, dating from August 2004, was a full-time contract of direct employment, which involved work as a radio reporter on programmes including Today with Sean O’Rourke. It was from this position that she retired when her contract terminated on March 8th, 2016 when she turned 65.

The second contract was a freelance contract for the ‘What It Says In The Papers’ slot on RTE Radio’s flagship programme ‘Morning Ireland’, as well as early morning slots on the weekends.

Ms Cox claims that when she contacted RTE to resume her freelance contract work after her a short break, she was advised told by RTE that she could not come return due to her age.

RTE said it did not comment on specific cases, regardless if they were planning to appeal the ruling or not.

The WRC ruling has been described as a “landmark decision” by politicians. Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin commented that Ms Cox’s case will the first of many on the basis of ageism as people seek to work later in life and he urged Government to prioritise legislation which will abolish the compulsory retirement age of 65 from many sectors of the public service.

Reacting to the ruling Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Conveney reacted to the ruling by announcing that he plans to remove the compulsory retirement age are being advanced and will come into effect “as soon as possible”. In the meantime interim arrangements have been put in.

Man Awarded of €750k Street Assault Compensation for Cork Shop Incident

Posted on: March 6th, 2018

A man has been awarded over €750,000 Street Assault Compensation by a High Court judge.

The man, Cian McCarthy, was attempting to get back into a Cork shop as he tried to escape from potential attackers.  The shop owner denied him entry and he was later struck with a massive fist blow to the head. Mr McCarthy had earlier been escorted from the Centra store after a disagreement at the deli counter when somebody jumped the queue.

According to Justice Kevin Cross, Cian McCarthy was an innocent party and had sustained a severe brain injury in the assault outside Centra supermarket on Grand Parade, Cork city during the Cork Jazz Festival in 2011.

The Judge commented that the security guard at the shop in question should have recognised that the three individuals involved in the queue-jumping row were following Mr McCarthy and advised the second security guard on the premises of this. Justice Cross defendants’ duty of care did not end at the door of the shop.

He also ruled that in denying Mr McCarthy entry and in pushing him in the direction of danger, the defendants knew or ought to have been aware that Mr McCarthy would suffer some assault and potentially some injury.

The three people involved in the row about the queue-jumping followed Mr McCarthy out of the shop, chased him and tried to strike him with a box to the head. The judge remarked that Mr McCarthy did not resistance and backed away trying to protect himself.

Mr McCarthy escaped from the attacker and ran towards the door of the shop seeking safety. The judge said the second security guard who was not aware that Mr McCarthy was the innocent party and did not witness him being beaten and pursued outside blocked Mr McCarthy’s re-entry to the premises. Mr Justice Cross concluded the security guard pushed Mr McCarthy back towards the crowd.

The judge held the best explanation for what occurred

a combination of the security guard’s push and the grapple with the other man which caused the clash knocking a young woman who was standing outside the shop.

He added: “Unfortunately the young woman’s boyfriend intervened with a massive fist to Mr McCarthy’s head causing him to fall to the ground, crack his head and suffer a serious head and brain injury”. That man was later sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to five years jail with the last two years suspended for the assault on Mr McCarthy.

Mr Justice Cross granted a stay in the event of an appeal.

Circus Performer (53) has Workplace Injury Compensation Action Struck Out

Posted on: February 24th, 2018

A circus performer has had her work injury compensation case struck out.  Amanda Bratby sustained an injury to her back when steel tubing came loose and struck her prior to a big top grand finale.

She told the court that, after her trapeze act, she was waiting for the grand finale to begin with the other circus performers at the rear of the main circus stage when the accident occurred.

Ms Bratby said that she was picking up her work shows for the grand finale when she was struck by the steel tubing, which is usually used to make the tight wire secure, after it became loose.

Ms Bratby (aged 53) took the work accident compensation action against Fossett Brothers Circus Ltd for the suffering she sustained in the accident on October 11, 2012. Fossetts accepted liability for the action and the legal case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Ms Bratby’s legal representatives stated that their client was hade her work life severely impacted due to stiffness and pain and could not achieve an earning capacity similar to her pre-accident level. She was unable to continue being employed as a trapeze artist with the same self-assured nature following the accident.

Prior to the accident occurring Ms Bratby has, the court was told, ambitions to   become a circus ring master.

During a work tour in the Netherlands not long after the accident occurred and she participated in nine performances. However, could only carry out basic tricks on the trapeze and without using the swing.

Legal representatives for Fossetts made the argument that she (Ms Bratby) earned two and a half times more after the accident than prior to it. When cross examined Ms Bratby said that she could not stand over her claims that she had experienced a loss of income in the aftermath of being injured.

Presiding judge Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon gave the parties five minutes recess for parties to consider next steps and following this time period, Ms Bratby’s legal representatives told her that the work accident compensation action be struck out.

Wexford-based Garda Awarded €25,000 in Work Assault Compensation

Posted on: February 8th, 2018

A garda sergeant, who suffered a head-butt injury in the course of his work resulting in serious snoring issues has been awarded €25,000 Work Assault Compensation.

Sergeant Noel McSweeney suffered the workplace injury while on a missing person search in May 2012.

Mr Justice Michael Twomey was told by Barrister Ellen Gleeson that Sergeant McSweeney, had been taking part in a missing person search in May 2012 when the incident happened.

The court was told that the missing woman had been found in a car where she was very intoxicated, drugs were found on the scene, and behaving aggressively.

Sergeant McSweeney told the Court that the woman struggled when they tried to take her into custody. He said: “She jumped back and threw her head backwards, hitting me in the nose and upper teeth”. In addition, he said that he suffered cuts to four of his upper front teeth and his nose had also been injured. He now had an airflow restriction in his nose as he suffered a deviated septum.

The woman was taken into custody.

Sgt McSweeney told the court that, after the head butt attack, his snoring affected his wife’s sleep to the extent that he had to sleep in the spare room on a number of occasions.

He added: “The appearance of my nose wasn’t upsetting to me so I decided not to have surgery correcting it.  Perhaps if I was a model it would be different”.

He also said that he had decided against corrective surgery as he had only experienced physical slight discomfort.

When it came to calculating the sum of compensation to be awarded to Sgt McSweeney, Judge Twomey referred to the Book of Quantum and approved work attack compensation award of  €7,500 with regard to the minor dental injuries and another €18,000 in Garda workplace nose injury damages.

Limerick Woman Awarded €25k for Finger Damaged on Water Meter Cover

Posted on: January 29th, 2018

A Limerick woman has been awarded €25,000 in damages in personal injury compensation following a fall on a damaged water meter cover outside her home in 2012.

The woman, Kirdwin Johnson (30) stated that she could not fully extend her thumb after the incident. She fractured her wrist in the incident which happened while she was cleaning on August 4, 2012.

Presiding Judge Gerald Keys was advised by Johnson that her foot became stuck as she “fell back on my arm”. He arm remained in a cast for the following five to six weeks.

Legal representative for Ms Johnson Jack Nicholas BL, asked her show the extent her injury by extending both thumbs. He (Mr Nicholas) also stated that: “The right thumb doesn’t extend as far back as the left thumb.”

It was noted in court that Ms Johnson had previously lodged a number of personal injury claims in the Circuit Court.

When asked by the legal team defending Limerick City County if she had noticed the stopcock on the footpath prior to the incident, she answered: “I have seen it but I never paid attention to it before.”

The orthopaedic consultant who examined Ms Johnson after the initial incident did not “make an issue” of the injured thumb in his report after the accident. He was not present in court.  Ms Johnson claims that she was at a graduation ceremony for her son in 2015 when she first noticed a “weakness in her thumbs”.

Ms Johnson’s injuries were reviewed by Dr Jim Fehily twice, once in September 2016 and once in December 2017. Dr Fehily said that he was of the opinion, following the examination that her (Ms Johnson’s) thumb injury was “unlikely” to be due to the fall near her house in 2012.

There was no official record of any other complaints about damage to the stopcock/meter and Judge Keys noted that there were no dates included on the original photographs presented in court. He remarked that: “I am not saying that this lady is making this up, but I have to be satisfied.” Judge Keys went on to say that the damaged stopcock was “trap for anybody and anyone who walks by” and that “you can’t leave a situation like that unattended”.

Given the evidence and arguments Judge Keys said he had “no choice but to conclude that the plaintiff succeeds” but was “not satisfied” the thumb injury was related to the fall.

He awarded Ms Johnson €25,000 in personal injury compensation.

Bettystown Playground Accident Results in €975,000 Personal Injury Compensation Award

Posted on: January 25th, 2018

A young man who fell off a child’s swing in a Bettystown, Co Meath, playground resulting in paralysed from the waist down as a result of committing what a judge described as a ‘silly act’ has been awarded received €975,000 in personal injury settlement of his High Court action against the owners of a caravan park.

Liam Daly suffered a serious spine injury when he was aged 15 after landing heavily on his back. He had fallen from a swing in a playground at the caravan park where the family’s mobile home was located in Bettystown.

The High Court heard the teenager had been swinging on a swing designed for toddlers and young children. Mr Daly is now aged 20.

Taking the personal injury compensation action through his father John Daly, Mr Daly, with an address at Nephin Road, Dublin 7, sued David, Gerard, Kenneth and Michael Lynch trading as Lynch’s Caravan Park, Bettystown, as a result of the accident on July 24, 2013.

Mr Daly alleged that the cradle seat of the swing was caused to rotate at the maximum arc position and he was thrown off. Additionally, there was an allegation that enough was not done to see that teenagers did not use the swings.

The claims were denied by the legal representatives for Lynch’s who alleged there was contributory negligence by the plaintiff in getting on to a swing which was designed for younger children and unsuitable for someone of his age.

Legal counsel for Mr Daly, Bruce Antoniotti SC, advised the court that said the Daly family had been using a mobile home at the caravan park for 10 years before the accident occurred. Liam had gone to the playground at around 7pm on the day that he sustained his injuries.

He sat on the cradle of the swing in question but, as he swung, he fell back and sustained a very serious spinal injury. He (Liam) is now wheelchair bound. Despite his injuries Mr Daly is able to drive a car and is hopeful of being employed

It stated that the protective matting at the playground was not ‘state of the art’ by Counsel who also deemed this irrelevant as it would not have made a difference whether the matting was state of the art or not.

Mr Justice Cross, in approving the personal injury compensation settlement said in all the circumstances, it was a good settlement. He stated that Liam Daly was just 15 years old at the time of the accident but the outcome of that “silly act” were very serious for him and his family.

Galway City Council Pays Out Over €4m for Personal Injury Compensation Claims Over Three Years

Posted on: December 15th, 2017

A recent report in the Galway City Tribune has revealed that the city has paid over in excess of €4 million in personal injury claim compensation since the beginning of 2015.

The huge expenditure on insurance covers public areas, as well as paying the excess on all claims that are made.

The official figures, obtained by the newspaper through a Freedom of Information request show that the cost of public liability insurance for Galway City Council was  €3.4 million over the same time period. Breaking the costs down year by year gives a figures for 2014 of €1.5 million, €1.4 million in 2015 and just less than €500,000 in 2016.

Along with to paying for insurance cover, Galway City Council also had to pay for the excess on personal injury claims. The figures for this excess amounted to €142,000 in 2016; €242,000 in 2015; and €205,000 in 2014.

A large proportion of the personal injury compensation claims are for injuries suffered in falls on the streets of the city.

As an effort to address this, it was revealed in August 2017 that the paving and cobbles on the Shop Street thoroughfare are to be replaced due to the number of people falling over and hurting themselves.

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.

This comes on the back of a report, in March 2017 which 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.”

 

Whiplash Compensation Claims Higher in Ireland than Rest of Europe: Personal Injuries Commission Report

Posted on: December 6th, 2017

Ireland currently experiences a much higher rate of whiplash than in most other European countries, according to the findings of the Personal Injuries Commission.

The Personal Injuries Commission was established in January 2017 to examine personal injuries claims with a particular emphasis on the proliferation of soft tissue and whiplash claims.

Car insurance costs increased by 70% in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016. It is believed that exaggerated or fraudulent claims are behind for this sharp increase.

However, the Personal Injuries Commission believe that setting up an independent medical panel to assess cases of whiplash would interfere with a claimant’s rights, so it is not recommending that course of action.

Alternatively it calls 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. In essence, it states that doctors should adopt a standardised approach to diagnosing, treating and reporting on soft tissue injuries, which are mostly whiplash related.

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”.

The belief is 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 app-ear 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 (SCA) Handling Employee Sexual Harassment Claims

Posted on: November 9th, 2017

According a recent report by State broadcaster RTE, five members of staff employed in the State healthcare system took sexual harassment legal actions over the last number of years, claiming they were assaulted by service users.

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

The State Claims Agency had initially declined to release any information on such claims, despite calls from Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency for them to make a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies available for perusal. These pleas 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. Following this 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 assailed person 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.”

Dog Bite Compensation of €32,000 Paid after Schoolboy bitten by Neighbour’s dog

Posted on: November 2nd, 2017

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.

Counsel for Adam Russell, Brian Sugrue, said the boy was visiting the home of Erica Deacon and Eoin Gibson in the Ballinclea Heights estate in Killiney when the dog, a Weimaraner short-haired German pointer, attacked him (Adam) at the defendant’s home.

Mr 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.

Adam, taking the compensation case through his father Colm Russell, was playing at the residence of Deacon and Gibson on 28 September 2013 when the German Pointer dog suddenly attacked and bit him.

He was rushed to the Swiftcare Clinic, Dundrum, Dublin, where the lacerations to his face were tended to. 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 had later been treated by dentists at Dalkey Dental Clinic.

“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.

The court was told that Consultant Plastic Surgeon Patricia Eadie 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 will be invested in court funds until Adam Russell becomes 18 years of age in 2019 on 19 December.

Sharp Rise in Compensation Claims Against the State

Posted on: October 8th, 2017

Recent figures released show that the cost of compensation claims taken against the State rose by a massive 22% during 2016.

The increase, which brings the total cost of compensation claims to €2.2 billion, was included in 2016 accounts produced by the State Claims Agency, the Government entity which handles legal actions taken against the State. It is clear from these figures that there has been a surge in the amount of costs incurred due to legal actions involving the State in recent years.

Séamus McCarthy Comptroller and Auditor General for  the Government’s financial watchdog remarked on the consistent increase in compensation claims saying, “The number of claims under management has increased significantly since 2011”.

The figures included in this latest release show that the number of legal actions against the State given a ‘pending’ status numbered 8,900 at the end of 2016. At the end of 2011 this number was 6,000.

The total amount of compensation and legal costs paid out for legal actions against the State in 2016 was €256.2 million. In 2015 the figure was €219.3 million, showing a growth of 20% year on year. This correlates with the total number of actions taken, which grew by 24% to 2,300. There were a number of factors that contributed to this rise.

Factors Leading to Rise in Compensation Claims Against the State

  1. Compensation pay outs for legal actions taken against the child protection agency Tusla and the Health Service Executive (HSE) made up the majority (€1.9 billion) of the €2.2 billion total amount paid out.
  2. The Department of Justice and Defence, including the Gardaí, prison service and Army, was responsible for claims worth €175 million compared to €27 million for to the Department of Health.
  3. The compensation bill for the Department of Education was approximately €50 million.

The State Claims Agency was established as part of the National Treasury Management Agency(NTMA), to tackle at the increase in compensation claims being taken against the State.



This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.