Child Injuries in Ireland

In order to claim compensation for child injuries in Ireland, it has to be established that your child sustained an injury due to the negligence of somebody who owed them a duty of care. Child injury compensation claims are made by a parent or guardian acting as a “next friend” and settlements of child injury compensation claims in Ireland have to be approved by a judge before payment can be made. To get impartial and accurate legal advice about claiming compensation for child injuries in Ireland speak with one of our professional and courteous solicitors.

Settlement Approved in Injury Claim for Falling from an Unsafe Window

Posted on: October 4th, 2016

The €46,000 settlement of a young girl´s injury claim for falling from an unsafe window was approved yesterday by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court.

In August 2012, fifteen-month old Róisín Byrne was playing in her parent´s temporary one-bedroom flat when she fell out of the large Georgian sash window and fell eleven feet onto the emergency fire casing below. Róisín fracture a rib when she landed and punctured a lung.

Róisín´s parents – Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy – had previously complained to the caretaker of the flats in Blackrock, County Dublin, that the window was dangerous as it opened just twenty-one inches from the floor and lacked a security mechanism to lock it shut.

On Róisín´s behalf, her mother made an injury claim for falling from an unsafe window against the owner of the property – Enda Woods – alleging negligence. Chloe applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim, and the Injuries Board´s assessment of €46,000 was agreed by both parties.

As the injury claim for falling from an unsafe window was made on behalf of a child, the Injuries Board´s assessment had to be approved by a judge to ensure the settlement was in Róisín´s best interests. Consequently, the circumstances of Róisín´s accident were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the approval hearing, Judge Groarke heard that Róisín is now five years of age and lives with her parents in Balbriggan. The judge was also told that Róisín had made a full recovery from her accident except from a scar on her forehead that remained from when she hit her head on landing.

After reviewing the circumstances of the case and the Injuries Board´s assessment, Judge Groarke approved the settlement of the injury claim for falling from an unsafe window. The settlement will now be paid into court funds where it will remain in an interest-bearing account until Róisín is eighteen years of age.

Court Approves Settlement of Claim for a Creche Eye Injury

Posted on: August 22nd, 2016

The Circuit Civil Court has approved the settlement of a young boy´s claim for a creche eye injury that related to an accident dating back to 2007.

In July 2007, Calum Lawless from Dunshaughlin in County Meath was just three years of age when he tripped and fell on an uneven floor surface at the Happy Days Creche in Clonee, Dublin. Calum was taken to the VH1 Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University, bleeding profusely from a cut close to his right eye.

At the hospital, a three-centimetre laceration was closed using glue and steri-strips. Calum´s eye remained closed for a week after his accident and, for more than a month, he had significant bruising around the area. Now twelve years old, Calum has a permanent visible scar that – due to its location – cannot be disguised with plastic surgery.

On her son´s behalf, Calum´s mother – Lorraine – made a claim for a creche eye injury against the owner of the Happy Days facility – Hansfield Company Ltd, of Castleknock, Dublin. In the legal action, Lorraine claimed that the owner of the creche was liable for Calum´s injury due to its negligence in failing to provide a safe play environment.

Hansfield Company Ltd admitted its liability for Calum´s injury and offered to settle the claim for a creche eye injury for €45,000. The settlement offer was agreed by Calum´s family but, to ensure it was in Calum´s best interests, the settlement offer also had to be approved by a judge as the claim was made on behalf of a minor.

Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, the circumstances of Calum´s accident and its consequences were told to Judge James O´Donohoe. After inspecting the two-centimetre scar and hearing that the family was satisfied with the proposed offer of compensation, the judge approved the settlement of the claim for a creche eye injury.

Court Approves €5 Million Settlement of Compensation for a Wing Mirror Injury

Posted on: July 26th, 2016

The High Court has approved a €5 million settlement of compensation for a wing mirror injury that left a young boy with intellectual difficulties.

On 13th August 2008, Ryan Bastin was just five years of age and enjoying a family holiday at his grandparent´s home in Mitchelstown, County Cork, when he ran out into the road to follow his father, brother and sister, who had gone to look at cows grazing in a neighbouring field.

As he ran across the road, Ryan was struck by the wing mirror of a car driven by Hannah Murray from Ballyporeen in County Tipperary. Ryan picked himself up from the road, but immediately started vomiting. An ambulance was called and Ryan was taken to Cork University Hospital.

During his transfer to the hospital, Ryan lost consciousness. On his arrival he was diagnosed with a fractured skull and underwent a series of operations. Ryan remained in intensive care for several months before returning to his family home in Brussels.

After undergoing rehabilitation treatment in Brussels, Ryan claimed compensation for a wing mirror injury through his mother – Sinead Mullins. In the claim it was alleged that Hannah Murray had not been driving with due care and attention, and should have seen Ryan run into the road.

Murray denied her liability for Ryan´s injuries and said that she was driving within the speed limit at the time. A forensic expert supporting her defence calculated that Murray had a maximum of 1.75 seconds to react after Ryan had run into the road.

The case went to the High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that Ryan had been left intellectually impaired as a result of the accident. It was argued that, even with just 1.75 seconds to act, Murray could have swerved just enough to have avoided hitting the child.

Judge Cross found in Ryan´s favour, but attributed him with 40% contributory negligence. As a settlement had been agreed in principle subject to the determination of liability, this resulted in a settlement of compensation for a wing mirror injury amounting to €5 million.

The judge approved the settlement and wished Ryan and his family all the best for the future.

Settlement of Compensation for an Injury at a Caravan Park Approved at Court

Posted on: July 2nd, 2016

A €106,000 settlement of compensation for an injury at a caravan park has been approved at the High Court in favour of a seventeen-year-old girl.

When she was just ten years of age, Shauna Burke from Corbally in County Limerick went on holiday with her family to Slattery´s Caravan Park in Lahinch, County Clare. On 17th August 2009, Shauna was playing with friends near the family´s mobile home when she cut her leg on a nail that was alleged to be protruding from a metal box mounted on a pole.

Despite receiving medical attention at the time, Shauna (now seventeen years old) has a visible scar above her knee. Through her father, John, Shauna claimed compensation for an injury at a caravan park against Austin Francis Slattery – the owner of the venue. Slattery denied negligence but, after a period of negotiation, an offer of settlement was made.

As the claim for compensation for an injury at a caravan park was made on behalf of a minor, the offer of settlement first had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Shauna´s best interests. Consequently the circumstances of Shauna´s injury were related to Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

At the approval hearing, Judge Barr was told that the nail allegedly responsible for Shauna´s injury was a hazard located in an area that was frequented by visitors to the caravan park and should have been removed or replaced. The judge also heard that the €106,000 offer of settlement was comprised of €90,000 compensation for Shauna´s pain and suffering and €16,000 special damages towards future medical treatment.

Judge Barr inspected the scar above Shauna´s knee and approved the settlement of compensation for an injury at a caravan park, commenting that it was a very good offer. The judge then instructed that the compensation settlement should be paid into court funds, where it will remain until Shauna turns eighteen years of age and becomes a legal adult.

Settlement of Compensation for an Injury in a Hotel Pool Approved in Court

Posted on: May 4th, 2016

The Circuit Civil Court has approved a €21,000 settlement of compensation for an injury in a hotel pool made by the father of an injured six-year-old girl.

Emma Olteanu was just four years of age when she went swimming at the Clarion Hotel in Clondalkin in October 2014 with her father, Marius. Emma was wearing special swimming socks to prevent her from slipping by the pool, but despite this precaution against the risk of injury, Emma tripped on the raised edge of a pool mat and hit her chin against the side of the pool.

Emma was taken by her father to the A&E Department at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght, where the cut on her chin was cleaned and stitched. However, as a consequence of the cut, Emma has a two-centimetre scar on her chin of which she is very conscious according to her parents.

Marius – from Lucan in County Dublin – claimed compensation for an injury in a hotel pool on behalf of his daughter against Kingsoak Taverns Ltd. trading as Clarion Hotels – claiming that the pool mat over which Emma had tripped was worn and presented a hazard. Liability was admitted by Kingsoak Taverns Ltd., and a €21,000 settlement of compensation for an injury in a hotel pool was negotiated.

As the compensation claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the €21,000 negotiated settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Emma´s best interests. Consequently, the case was brought before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court, who was told the circumstances of Emma´s accident and about the visible scar she had as a result.

Judge Groarke approved the settlement of compensation for an injury in a hotel pool and the compensation will now be paid into court. The funds will remain in an interest-bearing account until Emma reaches the age of eighteen unless an application is made to the court to release some of the money for Emma´s education or for medical reasons.

Settlement of Claim for an Injury Caused by a Product Defect Approved in Court

Posted on: February 27th, 2016

The settlement of a young child´s claim for an injury caused by a product defect made against clothing designer Ralph Lauren has been approved in court.

In April 2010, newborn Amelia Duhy was given the gift of a Ralph Lauren branded dress and pants combination by a friend of the family. When Amelia was ten weeks of age, her parents – Julie and Robert Duhy from Drogheda, County Louth – took her on holiday and, during one of the days during their vacation, dressed Amelia in the designer label combination.

That evening, Julie noticed red marks on the outside of Amelia´s thighs as she was preparing her daughter for bed. When the family returned to Drogheda, the marks were still visible, and Julie took Amelia to the family GP. The GP told Julie that the marks were not attributable to an allergic reaction and referred Amelia to a consultant plastic surgeon.

The consultant´s opinion of the injury was that it was “secondary to a tight constriction band”. As the Ralph Lauren dress and pants combination was the only possible cause of the injury, Julie sent them for examination by an expert in the technology of elastic fabrics. His opinion was that the elastic that had been used around the leg of the pants was more powerful than would be used in an adult garment.

Julie sought legal advice and, on behalf of her daughter, made a claim for an injury caused by a product defect against Ralph Lauren Ireland Ltd. The company denied it´s responsibility for Amelia´s injury and entered a full defence against the claim for an injury caused by a product defect. However, after a period of negotiation, an offer of settlement was made amounting to €17,500.

As the marks on Amelia´s thigh had now disappeared, Julie was advised to accept the offer. Julie agreed, but as the claim for an injury caused by a product defect had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement offer first had to be approved by a judge. Consequently, details of the case were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the approval hearing, Judge Groarke was told that the dress and pants combination had been manufactured in China and then imported to Ireland with a Ralph Lauren label stitched into the garment. He also heard that, although the marks on Amelia´s thighs had remained for two and a half years, they had never wept and the elastic had never broken the skin.

Julie told the judge that she had photographed the marks over the two and a half year period, but the only treatment Amelia had needed while the marks were still present was the massaging of Bio oil into the top of her thighs. Judge Groarke approved the offer of settlement and closed the hearing.

Girl Awarded €55,000 Compensation for a Scar Injury in a Crèche Accident

Posted on: February 22nd, 2016

A five-year-old girl has been awarded €55,000 compensation for a scar injury in a crèche accident after a judge rejected the initial proposed settlement.

In October 2013, Ruth Reilly was left unattended at the Giraffe Childcare Crèche in Navan, County Meath, when she fell and struck her head against a wall. Ruth, who was just two years of age at the time, was treated for a head would at the site before being taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where stitches were applied.

The injury has left Ruth with a permanent and visible scar on her forehead and, on his daughter´s behalf, Seamus Reilly claimed compensation for a scar injury in a crèche accident. Liability for Ruth´s accident and injury was admitted by the crèche, and a settlement of €40,000 was agreed. However, as the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to first be approved by a judge before the claim could be resolved.

Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, the circumstances of Ruth´s accident were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. Judge Groarke heard how Ruth suffered a deep laceration on her forehead and was bleeding heavily after her accident. The judge was also told by Ruth´s mother that, despite her tender age, the five-year-old girl is very conscious of the scar that remains.

After considering the visibility of Ruth´s scar, Judge Groarke said that the offer of €40,000 compensation for a scar accident in a crèche injury was insufficient. The judge said that the scar was “nasty and noticeable at a conversational distance”, and he increased the settlement of the claim to €55,000 – commenting that he was not criticising the way in which the defendant had handled the case, but €40,000 did not reflect the full value of Ruth´s injury.

Judge Approves Settlement of Claims for an Emotional Injury in a Shopping Centre

Posted on: January 13th, 2016

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved two settlements of claims for an emotional injury in a shopping centre in favour of two young girls.

In March 2013, eleven-year-old Abbie and eight-year-old Casie Kennedy were shopping with their mother – Claudia – at the Dundrum Shopping Centre. While in the changing room of the H&M store, the three shoppers heard a man swearing at the store´s staff, and ordering them to open the till before telling them to get down on the ground.

Not knowing that what they could hear was a mock armed robbery that had been staged as part of a training exercise, Claudia and her terrified daughters stayed in the store´s changing room until the noise stopped. Only then did Claudia open the changing room door; but, unable to see anything, she kept the girls in the changing room for several minutes more.

When she could hear voices in the store, Claudia escorted the girls back into the store and approached the manager to find out what had happened. Very angry about the trauma her two daughters had experienced, Claudia rang the H&M head office in England to complain that nobody had checked for the presence of customers before starting the training exercise.

Dissatisfied with the offer of a €30 voucher, Claudia sought legal advice and made claims for an emotional injury in a shopping centre on behalf of her daughters. In the claims against H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd, Claudia alleged that the sisters had been in fear for their and their mother’s lives and emotionally traumatised by the incident

H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd offered to settle the claims for an emotional injury in a shopping centre by paying compensation to Abbie (€10,000) and Casie (€8,000). At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Rory MacCabe was told that the family was happy to accept the offers. After hearing that Abbie and Casie still suffered nightmares as a result of their experience, Judge MacCabe approved the settlements.

Mother Claims Compensation for a Scalding Injury on an Aer Lingus Flight

Posted on: January 2nd, 2016

The mother of a young boy is claiming compensation for a scalding injury on an Aer Lingus flight after her son was injured in an on-board accident.

Few details have been released about how the unnamed boy was injured on the flight from Dublin to John F Kennedy International Airport on 30th June 2014 – only that “he was injured as the result of scalding hot liquid”.

The claim for compensation for a scalding injury on an Aer Lingus flight was filed recently in New York, alleging that the boy was scalded due the negligence of flight crew and that – as a result of the accident – he “was deprived of his enjoyment of life, pursuits and interests and in the future will be deprived on the same”.

Aer Lingus denies negligence but, under the Montreal Convention, is liable to pay compensation for a scalding injury on an Aer Lingus flight irrespective of how the injury was sustained. The airline has requested a copy of the child´s medical history to determine the level of compensation due ahead of negotiations scheduled to start at the end of the month.

Second Aer Lingus Scalding Injury Claim also in Mediation

The claim for compensation for a scalding injury on an Aer Lingus flight is the second claim of this nature in recent months. In August 2015, an Aer Lingus scalding injury claim was filed in Jacksonville, Florida, on behalf of a ten-year-old girl allegedly scalded by hot tea on a flight from Dublin to Orlando.

The parents of the injured girl are claiming $75,000 compensation for a scalding injury on an Aer Lingus flight to account for the burns sustained by their daughter when tea spilled from a cup on which the lid had not been properly fitted. The girl suffered burns to her lower body and upper thighs, and the parents claim that she may need plastic surgery in the future.

Aer Lingus denies that the flight crew served the tea at an excessively hot temperature but are still liable under the Montreal Convention for the girl´s injuries. The airline is currently in mediation to determine how much compensation for a scalding injury on an Aer Lingus flight the girl should receive.

Previous Settlement of Compensation for a Scalding Injury on an Aer Lingus Flight

The two claims for compensation for a scalding injury on an Aer Lingus flight are not unprecedented. In June 2011, Sophie Gorman (5) from Knocklyon in Dublin was also scalded by hot tea on an Aer Lingus flight from London when a member of the flight crew spilled her mother´s cup of tea on Sophie´s legs.

Despite receiving first aid during the flight and medical attention on her arrival at Dublin Airport, Sophie needed ongoing treatment with antibiotic cream to heal the burn marks on her legs. In July 2012 – when Mr Justice Matthew Deery approved a settlement offer of €7,000 – the judge was told that Sophie will have a permanent skin pigment irregularity as a result of her accident.

If you have suffered an injury due to having hot liquids spilled on you during an Aer Lingus flight, please speak with a personal injuries solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity to establish your entitlement to compensation for a scalding injury on an Aer Lingus flight.

Court Awards PTSD Compensation for a Child Traumatised by a Fire

Posted on: December 21st, 2015

The High Court has awarded a fourteen-year-old boy €51,244 PTSD compensation for a child traumatised by a fire at the family home five years ago.

In June 2010, Aaron Monds was one four children rescued from a fire in the family home that had been started by a faulty Hotpoint dishwasher. Aaron – who had been identified as suffering from a mild intellectual disability – was only nine years old at the time and was severely traumatised by the incident.

For years after seeing the family home in Kinnegad in County Westmeath engulfed in flames, Aaron displayed symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. He developed an irrational fear of fire and would check and re-check electrical appliances each night to ensure they were switched off and unplugged.

On Aaron´s behalf, his father – Henry Monds – claimed PTSD compensation for a child traumatized by fire against the manufacturers of the faulty dishwasher – Indesit UK Ltd. Indesit UK Ltd acknowledged that its dishwasher had caused the fire and – by proximate cause – the company admitted liability for Aaron´s post-traumatic stress disorder.

As the Injuries Board does not make assessments for psychological injuries, a hearing was scheduled at the High Court to consider how much PTSD compensation for a child traumatised by fire Aaron should be awarded. The hearing took place before Mr Justice Bernard Barton, who was told that Aaron´s condition had improved due to years of therapy.

The judge also heard that, for many years after the fire at the family home, Aaron had suffered night terrors and still had anxiety attacks about another fire in the family home. Judge Barton accepted the medical evidence that Aaron´s current symptoms would be described as residual of a post-traumatic stress disorder and he awarded Aaron €51,244 PTSD compensation for a child traumatised by a fire.

Settlement of Injury Claim for a Car Accident in Wicklow Approved in Court

Posted on: November 23rd, 2015

The settlement of an injury claim for a car accident in Wicklow has been approved in the High Court in favour of a sixteen year old girl.

Beth Cullen from Kilmacanogue in County Wicklow was just six years of age when she was badly injured in a car accident that occurred on the notorious “Nine Bends” stretch of the N11 near Ballinameesda. As a result of the November 2005 accident, Beth lost her sight in her left eye, her sense of smell and her sense of hearing in one ear.

Through her father – William Cullen – Beth made an injury claim for a car accident in Wicklow against her mother – Caroline Barrett – who had been driving the car when the accident occurred. In the injury claim for a car accident in Wicklow, it was alleged that Beth´s mother had failed to steer, stop, swerve or manage the car, and failed to have any or any adequate regard for the safety of her passenger.

Liability was conceded by Barrett´s insurance company, and a settlement of the injury claim for a car accident in Wicklow amounting to €1.3 million was agreed. As the claim had been made on behalf of a legal minor, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Beth´s best interests before the claim could be fully resolved.

Consequently, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of the accident and the impact it had on Beth´s life. After hearing that Beth was doing well at school despite her injuries, the judge approved the settlement and wished Beth well for the future. As Beth is still a legal minor, the compensation settlement will be paid into court and be released when Beth is eighteen years of age.

Judge Approves Settlement of Claim for Finger Injury Caused by Pharmacy Door

Posted on: November 2nd, 2015

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has approved the €40,000 settlement of a young girl´s claim for a finger injury caused by a pharmacy door.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard how, in November 2012, six-year-old Julia Roman had severed the end of her finger when it became trapped between the doors of the Doc Morris Pharmacy in Lucan, County Dublin.

The judge was told that immediately after the accident, Julia´s father – Costica – recovered the amputated part of her finger, and rushed his daughter to the Emergency Department of Our Lady´s Children´s Hospital in Crumlin.

Doctors immediately admitted Julia for emergency plastic surgery and were able to reattach the fingertip. Julia had to return to the hospital on several occasions for her finger to be monitored and to have the dressing protecting it changed.

Fortunately Julia – now nine years of age – seems to have suffered no long-term consequences other than a small scar, although she told Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that she had to give up playing the piano after the accident because of pain in her finger.

The judge also heard how Julia´s mother – Elena – had made a claim for a finger injury caused by a pharmacy door against the owners of the store Unicare Pharmacy Ltd and the company that installed the doors – Lovco Cleaning and Building Services of Tallaght in Dublin.

The two defendants admitted liability for Julia´s injury and made an offer of €40,000 to settle the claim for a finger injury caused by a pharmacy door. Judge Groarke approved the settlement after being advised that the family were satisfied with it.

Teenager´s Claim for Injuries in an Electrocution Accident Resolved in Court

Posted on: October 13th, 2015

A teenager´s claim for injuries in an electrocution accident has been resolved in the High Court with the approval of a €700,000 compensation settlement.

Kurt O´Callaghan from Wexford City was just ten years old when, on July 3rd 2008, he and his friends were playing in woods near their homes. The friends had made a camp in the woods and Kurt wrote a “Keep Out” sign to be hung on a nearby electricity pole. However, when Kurt climbed the wall of a nearby housing estate to reach the pole, and started nail the sign to it, he nailed into a high-voltage electric cable and was blown off of the wall with the force of the electric shock.

A passing motorist saw the accident and took Kurt to hospital. The young boy was transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, where he remained for the next three months, undergoing surgery and receiving treatment for severe burns to his shoulders, head, neck, hands, and chest. It is likely that Kurt will need further surgery and skin grafts in the future.

On behalf of her son, Denise O´Callaghan made a claim for injuries in an electrocution accident against the Electricity Service Board (ESB). In the legal action it was alleged that the ESB knew – or should have known – that the ease of access to the electricity pole represented a risk of injury, and that there had been a failure by the ESB to assess the wall that Kurt had climbed to pin his notice on the pole as a risk despite its proximity to the electricity cables.

The claim for injuries in an electrocution accident was supported by a report compiled by an expert electrical engineer. The report criticised the ESB for not identifying the risk of danger and, as well as finding that the ESB had failed in its statutory requirement to ensure that electricity poles were inaccessible to a height of three metres, the expert found 52 other nails that had been used to hang posters from the electricity pole in the past – implying that the ESB´s alleged failure in its duty of care had been ongoing.

Liability for Kurt´s injuries was denied by the ESB, and the claim for injuries in an electrocution accident was scheduled for a full court hearing. Prior to the hearing, however, the parties reached agreement on a settlement of the claim for €700,000. As the claim had been made on behalf of a legal minor, the approval hearing was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who said that the settlement of the claim was a good one in the circumstances as – if Kurt´s claim for injuries in an electrocution accident had gone to a full hearing – Kurt may have had to overcome the issue of contributory negligence.

High Court Compensation Awards Rise by 34% in 2014

Posted on: September 23rd, 2015

The motor insurance industry has blamed over-generous judges for a 34 percent rise in High Court compensation awards over the past year.

The increase in High Court compensation awards was highlighted by by Davy Stockbrokers analyst Emer Lang, who used information gathered from the Courts Service annual report to show that a total of €155 million was awarded over 509 personal injuries claims in 2014.

Ms Lang compared the average claim value of €304,000 in 2014 to that of the previous year (€227,000) to arrive at her figure of 34%. During the same period, the average value of assessments conducted by the Injuries Board has remained steady at €22,600.

Experts from the motor insurance industry were shocked when they were told of the increase. AA Ireland’s Conor Faughnan said there was a need for training for judges to help them understand that High Court compensation awards are paid for by the country´s two million drivers.

Some of the blame for the increase in High Court compensation awards has been attributed to changes made under the Courts and Civil Law Act 2013, in which cases expected to settle for in excess of €60,000 are heard in the High Court.

Prior to the increase to €60,000, the lower limit for High Court compensation awards was €38,092, and Dorothea Dowling – founding chairperson of the Injuries Board, and the chair of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board – believes that plaintiffs are shunning Injuries Board assessments for more money at the High Court.

“The Department of Justice was forewarned well in advance,” Ms Dowling told the Independent. “This is what happens when you increase the limits of the lower courts – it sends out the message that €38,000 is small money.”

Ms Dowling does not share the same opinion as Mr Justice Bernard Barton, who in July this year criticised the government for not updating the injury compensation values published in the Book of Quantum – the publication on which the Injuries Board bases its assessments – since 2004.

In McGarry v McGarry Judge Barton commented “it is unquestionably in the interests of the proper administration of justice that the Book be reviewed and be kept updated to properly reflect [High Court compensation awards]”.

Approval of Compensation for Emotional Trauma at the Giraffe Crèche Refused by Judge

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015

A judge has refused to approve a settlement of compensation for emotional trauma at the Giraffe Crèche – one of three crèches exposed for alleged mistreatment of children.

Four year old Emilie Kiely started attending the Giraffe Crèche in Stepaside in 2011 when she was eight months old. In September 2012, Emilie started exhibiting signs of stress and anxiety whenever her parents were preparing to take her to the childcare facility – a change in behaviour which coincided with Emilie being moved to the “Toddlers Room”.

In May 2013, the crèche was one of three exposed by the RTE Prime Time documentary “A Breach of Trust” for allegedly mistreating children. Emilie´s shocked parents withdrew their daughter from the crèche after seeing one of the minders responsible for Emilie´s care screaming at children in the broadcast.

Emilie´s father – John Kiely from Sandyford in Dublin – sought legal advice and made a claim for compensation for emotional trauma at the Giraffe Crèche on his daughter´s behalf – alleging that Emilie had suffered stress, emotional upset and terror due to a breach in the crèche’s duty of care.

The owners of the Childcare and Early Learning Centre denied the claims, but made an offer of €15,000 compensation for emotional trauma at the Giraffe Crèche without an admission of liability. As the offer of compensation was in settlement of a claim brought on behalf of a minor, the offer had to be approved by a judge before it could be accepted.

At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge James O´Donohue was told that Emilie would cry “No crèche! No crèche!” when her parents were getting her ready to go to the childcare facility and was obviously scared of going. The judge ruled that the proposed settlement of compensation for emotional trauma at the Giraffe Crèche was inappropriate for the level of injury that it was alleged Emilie had suffered.

Judge O´Donohue said that it would be in Emilie´s best interests if the claim for compensation for emotional trauma at the Giraffe Crèche went to a full hearing before another judge – a decision that will affect up to twenty-five other claims for compensation that have been made on behalf of children that attended the childcare facility between 2011 and 2013.

Four Different Checks for Crèches and Pre-School Operators

Posted on: May 18th, 2015

According to a report in the Sunday Business Post, four different checks for crèches and pre-school operators are soon to be introduced.

The four different checks for crèches and pre-school operators are being introduced by the government in response to a documentary broadcast on RTE´s Prime Time in May 2013 which exposed the alleged mistreatment of children in three childcare facilities.

The controversy that was generated by the broadcast prompted the government to introduce systems intended to guard against a repeat of the alleged abuse, and to resolve the concerns of the European Commission regarding the varying compliance with minimum standards and regulations.

The date for the introduction of the new checks for crèches and pre-school operators has not yet been announced, but they will consist of:

  • Inspectors from Tusla – the child and family agency – will check on the standards of health and welfare for crèches and pre-school childcare facilities.
  • The Department of Education will hire inspectors to check on the delivery of the early years curriculum for children.
  • Thirty education specialists from the Better Start program will assist operators with the delivery of play-based learning for young children.
  • Inspectors from Pobal will check the delivery of the free pre-school year on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The new checks for crèches and pre-school operators has caused a level of consternation among some in the childcare industry. Teresa Heeney – the Chief Executive of Early Childhood Ireland – told the Sunday Business Post that the level of bureaucracy was overwhelming.

Heeney – who´s organization represents the interests of 3,500 childcare facilities in Ireland said: “What operators cannot tolerate is that these people want it in blue, these people want it in red, and these people want it in white. They all have to agree that green will do for all of them.”

However, children´s minister James Reilly commented that while a robust inspection service was critical, he did not expect it to involve more bureaucracy than was essential. Minister Reilly told the Sunday Business Post that inspectors from different agencies would be using a shared IT system so that they would all have access to the same data on the childcare facilities.

The focus on the childcare sector is set to intensify due to a number of cases being taken by children and their parents against the Links Crèche in Abingdon, Dublin – one of the crèches feature in the Prime Time documentary. There are believed to be twenty-five assault cases taken on behalf of children and another twenty-five breach of contract cases in progress taken on behalf of the children’s´ parents.

€25,000 Compensation for an Accident on the Luas Approved at the Circuit Civil Court

Posted on: April 2nd, 2015

The settlement of a teenage girl´s claim for compensation for an accident on the Luas has been approved at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

Aoife Heron from Raheny in Dublin was just six years of age when, on 14th February 2008, she boarded a Luas at Connelly Street ahead of her mother – Elaine – who was pushing Aoife´s younger sister in a buggy.

As Elaine was boarding with the buggy, the automatic doors of the Luas closed – trapping the buggy between them – with Aoife still inside the train and her mother outside on the platform. The doors opened to allow Elaine to retrieve the buggy; but as Aoife went to join her mother on the platform, they closed once again – on this occasion trapping the little girl´s head.

An ambulance was called and Aoife was treated by paramedics for a head injury. Aoife later attended the family´s GP, who diagnosed a small amount of bruising and a soft tissue injury.  As a result of her accident on the Luas, Aoife – now thirteen years of age – has a scar on her head and developed a fear of travelling on the train.

Through her mother, Aoife made a claim for compensation for an accident on the Luas against Veolia Transport Dublin Light Rail Ltd – the operators of the Luas – alleging negligence and breach of duty. Veolia initially denied its liability for Aoife´s head injury but after a period of negotiation agreed to a €25,000 settlement of compensation for an accident on the Luas.

The settlement had to first be approved by a judge as it was in favour of a minor, and consequently details of Aoife´s accident and injury were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. After hearing that Aoife may need psychotherapy in the future to overcome her phobia of travelling on trains, the judge approved the settlement of compensation for an accident on the Luas.

More Compensation for Personal Injuries in a Shop Accident Says Judge

Posted on: March 6th, 2015

A judge has said that a girl who was hurt when an electronic display board fell on her should get more compensation for personal injuries in a shop accident.

In July 2012, Shauna Kelly was browsing through the electronic books in the Lower O´Connell Street branch of Eason´s in Dublin, when an electronic display board fell from its mounting and hit Shauna on her head and arm.

Shauna was taken to the Crumlin Children´s Hospital with concussion, where she was also treated for soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. X-rays revealed that no bones had been broken, but a splint was placed around her right wrist to give it some extra support while a sprain healed.

On her daughter´s behalf, her mother – Kathy Maher from Ballyfermot in Dublin – made a claim for compensation for personal injuries in a shop accident, alleging that Eason´s and the company that had installed the electronic display board – David James Retail Solutions Ltd of Edenderry in County Offaly – had failed in their duty of care.

Negotiations started to resolve the claim for compensation for personal injuries in a shop accident, and an offer of settlement was made amounting to €13,500. As Shauna was only fourteen years of age at the time – and still a legal minor – the offer had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be resolved.

Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard the circumstances of Shauna´s accident and the injuries that she had suffered. The judge was told that Shauna suffered from severe headaches for six months after the accident and that, two and a half years later, she still experiences some stiffness in her back.

Shauna´s barrister told Judge Groarke that an offer of €13,500 compensation for personal injuries in a shop accident had been made, but he was not prepared to recommend approval as he did not believe it adequately represented Shauna´s injuries.

Judge Groarke agreed, and declined to approve the offer of settlement – saying a more appropriate settlement of compensation for personal injuries in a shop accident could be determined in a full hearing of the case. The judge adjourned the approval hearing for a date to be scheduled later this year.

Hospital Negligence Claim against Kerry General Resolved at High Court

Posted on: February 17th, 2015

A hospital negligence claim against Kerry General has been resolved at the High Court with the approval of an interim compensation settlement.

On April 22nd 2011, Skye Worthington was born at the Kerry General Hospital after her mother – Colleen, from Castlegregory in County Kerry – had been administered syntocinon to speed up her labour. The syntocinon had the desired effect of accelerating Colleen´s contractions, but a prolonged deceleration of Skye´s heartbeat in the womb was ignored.

Skye – now three years of age – suffered brain damage due to being starved of oxygen in the womb and now suffers from cerebral palsy. Skye has difficulty sitting still, has to be fed through a tube and can only communicate with her eyes. An investigation into her birth revealed that if she had been delivered just fifteen minutes earlier, Skye would have suffered no birth injuries at all.

Through her mother, Skye made a hospital negligence claim against Kerry General and the HSE – alleging that her injuries were the direct result of hospital negligence in the maternity department of the hospital. The HSE admitted liability and an interim settlement of €2.32 million was negotiated pending an assessment of Skye´s future requirements.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard a statement read to Skye´s parents in which the HSE and Kerry General apologised unreservedly for the errors that led to Skye´s birth injuries. The statement also said that lessons had been learned from a review of Skye´s birth in which her parents had participated. Mr Justice Kevin Cross described the apology as “out of the ordinary”.

The judge then explained to Skye´s parents that the interim settlement of the hospital negligence claim against Kerry General was for three years. Once an assessment of Skye´s future requirements had been conducted, the family would either have the choice of a lump sum final settlement of the hospital negligence claim against Kerry General or – subject to legislation being introduced – annual periodic payments.

Mirror Publishes Complaints about Child Abuse in Care Homes

Posted on: February 14th, 2015

The Irish Mirror has published complaints about child abuse in care homes and raised concerns about how long it took for the complaints to be resolved.

According to information acquired by the Irish Mirror, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) received at least one complaint about child abuse in care homes and foster homes every week between 2012 and 2014. Details of the complaints reveal a catalogue of neglect and the failure of the HSE´s child and family agency – TUSLA – to deal with the complaints in an appropriate timeframe.

The complaints about child abuse in care homes and foster homes originated from many different sources including parents, members of the public and the children themselves. One of the most detailed complaints was made by a member of staff employed at a private care home, who wrote to HIQA after receiving no response from her complaint to TUSLA. In her letter she raised concerns about:

  • Staff being told to turn a blind eye to a resident who smoked weed all day long
  • Staff reports and court reports being retrospectively changed by management
  • Unqualified carers being hired on short term contracts to avoid paying tax, PRSI and benefits
  • Three children who were allowed to sleep all day and stay up all night
  • Two more children who were identified as “depressed and suicidal”, but no further action was taken.

The anonymous member of staff claimed that all of these actions were taken because the home would suffer a loss of income if children were removed from their care. The staff member requested intervention from TUSLA, but a lack of action from the HSE´s agency compelled her to write to HIQA – who could only chase up TUSLA as HIQA does not have the statutory authority to investigate allegations of poor standards.

Among other examples of child abuse in care homes and foster homes in Ireland, the Irish Mirror revealed allegations of bullying and sexual abuse at a children´s residential centre in Waterford and allegations of physical and sexual abuse of two children in foster care in Wexford. Complaints were made to HIQA after an “incident” in a care home left a resident hospitalised for days, and after TUSLA had returned a minor to a foster home despite him having been moved to a place of safety by Gardai.

Of equal concern was the length of time it took TUSLA to investigate the allegations of child abuse in care homes and foster homes. In one example it took TUSLA eighty days to respond to a series of communications from HIQA regarding visitation rights to a worried man´s two grandchildren after he had complained about their social worker´s standard of work. The social worker was eventually removed and the grandfather´s visitation rights restored.

In another example TUSLA failed to attend to concerns about a child´s safety during family visits in a foster care home. Almost a month passed until a social worker responded to an email from HIQA asking on what action was being taken, and then only after Gardai became involved. Fianna Fail’s spokesman for children – Robert Troy – told the Irish Mirror that the failure by TUSLA to address HIQA’s concerns about child abuse in care homes and foster homes is “a dereliction of duty”.



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