Personal Injury in Ireland

In order to claim compensation for personal injury in Ireland, it has to be established that you or a loved one suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of somebody who owed you a duty of care. Personal injury compensation can be awarded for physical or psychological injury and should take into account the potentially life-long consequences that an injury can have of the quality of life of the victim. To receive impartial and accurate legal advice about claiming compensation for a personal injury in Ireland speak with one of our professional and courteous solicitors.

School Fire Escape Door Accident Results in €26,000 Injury Compensation for Girl (8)

Posted on: December 8th, 2020

At the Circuit Civil Court. Judge Justice John O’Connor has given his approval for a school injury compensation settlement of €26,000 for an eight-year-old, Fran Rooney, who injured her left ring finger when it was crushed by a fire escape door which shut on top of it accidentally.

Representing Zarabelle O’Neill McAllorum at the Circuit Civil Court, Counsel Fran Rooney informed the judge that she, Fran, was just six years of age when the incident in question occurred at her school. The action was being taken against the Department of Education and Skills on the grounds of negligence in relation to the maintenance of the door at Gaelscoil Inse Choir, Islandbridge, Dublin, just over two years ago in 2018.

Appearing with B&P Byrne Solicitors, Rooney informed the presiding Judge John O’Connor that Zarabelle was taking the personal injury legal compensation action, via her mother Fiona O’Neill, against the Department of Education and Skills. He detailed the specific events of the accident in which Zarabelle injured her left ring finger and lost the nail from it.

He informed the judge that the fire escape door had been shut on her hand by a different student. It quickly became apparent that Zarabelle’s finger had been seriously injured and she was taken to  Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin to have the ailment treated medically.

Seven months after the incident, in june 2019, her medical doctors made a diagnosis decreeing that she still had not made adequate progress in her rehabilitation. Due to this she underwent a surgical procedure to have her left ring finger nail removed while she was placed under general anaesthetic. Shortly after this surgical procedure, according to Mr Rooney, Zarabelle developed a viral infection and had to be medically treated with a course of antibiotics. The Judge was informed that she has now made a full recovery from the injuries that she sustained.

An earlier settlement offer of €20,000 had been rejected by Zarabelle’s team of legal representatives. Judge O’Connor was informed that this has been rejected. The defendant’s returned with an higher compensation settlement offer of €26,000.

Judge O’Connor gace his approval for this and praised Mr Rooney for achieving the higher compensation offer.

€10k Compensation for Injury to Cork Road Bowler

Posted on: November 11th, 2020

Irish international road bowler Sean Kiely, who has appeared at international championships, has been awarded €10,000 personal injury compensation due the injuries that he sustained when he was punched during a fight when he was on a night out in Newmarket in 2018. He said that has not been in a position to go back to the sport that he loves so much.

The man who struck him – Michael Hourigan with an address at Coolagh, Newmarket, Co Cork – entered a plea of guilty to a charge of assaulting Sean Kiely at Gurranawarrig Upper, Newmarket, County Cork. The judge was informed that Mr Hourigan had brought €10,000 compensation with him to court for the injured party.

Speaking about the assault, presiding Judge Justice Seán Ó Donnabháin informed the court that said the charge of simple assault only carried a maximum possible prison sentence of six months and/or a maximum fine of €2,500. He added: “It is the lowest category of assault on the statute books. That is what the accused man pleaded guilty to.”

Siobhán Lankford, senior counsel appearing for the defence, informed the judge that the accused had been initially prosecuted for assault causing harm but the Director of Public Prosecutions accepted a plea of guilty to the simple assault charge. He was convicted and fined €1,000 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court by Judge Ó Donnabháin.

The injured party, Seán Kiely, said in his victim impact statement: “I loved road bowling as a sport but ever since the assault my heart has not been in it to go back playing. I represented Ireland in the European Championships in Holland in 2016 and had intended doing the trials for the 2020 championships but I didn’t have the confidence in myself to compete in the sport I love. However, even though I have missed out on this year’s trials I do hope to start back playing again this year. I have since tried to go back running without success.”

In the court Garda Micheál Dennehy described the course of events that lef to Mr Kiely being injured. He said the incident occurred on June 3 2018, outside the Highlands in Newmarket at 3,30am. A fight has begun there and ‘worked; its way down onto the road.

Garda Dennehy said: “Mr Kiely and his friends were in some kind of argument and Mr Kiely was punched in the face resulting in him falling. The defendant is a married man living in Newmarket who would not be coming to the attention of gardaí before this or since.”

Ms Lankford said the defendant was 42 years old and that he did throw a punch during a melee hitting Mr Kiely in the face. She said: “There was certainly a lot of movement and aggravation at the time.”

Bus Depot Falls results in €69,000 Compensation Award for Bus Éireann Employee

Posted on: October 2nd, 2020

At the High Court €69,000 work injury compensation has been awarded to a Bus Éireann employee who suffered an injury in an accident at a bus depot.

The work in question, Mark Seery, fell over a ground brake bar that was put in place to being buses to a halt. 51-year-old Mr Seery from Cloonlara Drive, Finglas, Co Dublin took the work accident compensation claim against Bus Éireann in relation to the accident that took place at around 3.45am on April 24, 2016 at Broadstone bus garage.

During the hearing Justice Cross said that he believed the testimony provided by Mr Seery’s engineer that the ground brake bar represented a significant trip hazard. This hazard was removed from its position following Mr Seery’s incident and replaced with bollards.

Working as a lead hand engineering operative with Bus Éireann, Mr Seery informed  the court he had parked a bus in a bay at the depot and was returning to move another bus when he fell. As it was night time the area was dark and there were no lights on. The court was informed that sensor lighting has since been put in place at the depot bay area. He said: “I tripped and fell against the wheel brace of another bus.”

He went on say that he has not ha a day without pain since the accident. he attended his GP for soem treatment due to pain in the hip and numbness in his leg and was later diagnosed with chronic pain. He commented: “The pain never went away. There is no rhyme or reason to why pain strikes or eases off. I have been told this is the way it is going to be.”

In the legal action submitted Mr Seery stated that there was an alleged failure to provide and maintain any adequate lighting in the area of the metal bar and the location of the metal bar was hidden by the shadows cast by buses parked nearby – as a result of this there was inadequate lighting.

Bus Éireann refuted the claims and alleged that there was an element of contributory negligence on the part of Mr Seery due to the fact that he allegedly had not taken ample care to identify any danger in the area. In relation to this Mr Justice Cross said that Bus Éireann were operation a workplace that essentially required Mr Seery to work in the dark. “He was going about his task to get another bus . I don’t believe he can be faulted for contributory negligence.”

Delivering his judgement Mr Justice Cross said it is probable that Mr Seery will continue to suffer some pain for the remainder of his life and and he (Mr Seery) is to be congratulated for his diligence in continuing to work. Justice Cross said that he found Mr Seery to be a truthful defendant and added “it is to his credit that he is no complainer and gets on with his work.”

The overall amount of workplace compensation awarded to Mr Seery was €69,725 and included more than €24,000 in special damages.

Man Awarded €16,000 Footgolf Accident Injury Compensation

Posted on: September 12th, 2020

A Glasnevin FC amateur goalkeeper has been awarded €16,000 personal injury compensation in relation to a toe injury he sustained while playing footgolf at a course in Co Dublin. Plaintiff Stuart O’Dwyer – with an address at Glenhill Avenue, Finglas, Dublin 11 – took sued Simon Rutledge  – proprietor of the White House pub restaurant, New Park, The Ward, Co Dublin – due to the injury he suffered at his facility. The accident occurred as he was attempting to kick the ball out of a patch of rough and onto the green on the 10th hole. His foot struck a metal stake that he had not seen as it was hidden by long grass. Judge John O’Connor was advised by Mr O’Dwyer’s legal representative, Barrister Laurence Masterson, that he (Mr O’Dwyer) had been at the golf course, participating in the sport, with his father on June 14, 2018. Mr Rutledge was not in court to defend the footgolf injury compensation claim.  Mr Masterson informed the Judge that judgment had been marked by the County Registrar against Mr Rutledge in the absence of an appearance in the case. In relation to the accident itself the Court was told that, on the day in question, Mr O’Dwyer was playing footgolf with his father. On the 10th hole he struck the ball off the 10th tee into some very long grass. In an attempt to kick the ball from there onto the closeby green he foot collided with the metal spike. This spike had been positioned solidly in the ground, concealed by the aforementioned long grass. In the accident Mr O’Dwyer’s big toe sustained a soft-tissue injury, as diagnosed by consultant in emergency medicine Dr JA McKeever at the emergency department of James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown afterwards which he attended soon after the incident in question. Mr O’Dwyer, an amateur goalkeeper with Glasnevin FC, lost the nail on his big toe and he has a slight deformity in the shape of a small lump on the toe when the nail returned. He experienced significant pain, discomfort and bruising. He had to have his tow splinted using a buddy strap in the hospital where he had been also been given crutches. €16,000 personal injury compensation and legal costs were awarded by Judge O’Connor to Mr O’Dwyer. He remarked that this is at the lower end of the Circuit Court jurisdiction.

Broken Glass Accident Leads to €50,000 Inadequate Safety Training Compensation for Waitress by court

Posted on: July 22nd, 2020

A waitress who suffered a hand injury after a glass she was polishing broke has been awarded €50,000 work injury compensation at the CIircuit Civil Court.

It was ruled that 24-year-old former waitress Daniela Tricolici should have been given adequate safety training in relation to polishing wine glasses by her them employers Ravellos Restaurant in Clonsilla in 2015.

Presiding Judge John O’Connor said in awarding Ms Tricolici €25,000 damages and her legal costs that: “I am satisfied on the balance of probability that the defendant in this case was negligent. There was no training provided and it should have been.”

Judge O’Connor said he was happy to rule that the defendant, ABE Restaurant Limited, Weaver’s Row, Clonsilla, had been negligent due to the fact that appropriate training for Ms Tricolici had not been provided.

Ms Tricolici, with at an address at Ravenswood Road Clonsilla, is now working in a bank. SHe told the Court that the stem of the glass had broken as she polished it in the bar area of the restaurant on September 18, 2015 and punctured her left little finger.

Giving evidence in the hearing, forensic engineer Conor Murphy informed the court that Ms Tricolici had shown him how she was polishing the glass with a towel when the accident took place. He commented that she (Ms Tricolici) should have been trained initially how to do it safely. Mr Murphy said Ms Tricolici, as indicated in a photograph provided to the court, had grasped the base of the wine glass in one hand while polishing the bowl with her other hand in a twist and turn fashion when the stem had snapped.

When questioned by barrister Conor Kearney, who was appearing alongside with Seamus Maguire Solicitors for Ms Tricolici, he said that the waitress had clearly been polishing the glass incorrectly and should have been stopped by her employer and shown how to do it properly.  He said that if Ms Tricolici had been cupping the bowl of the glass in one hand while using the polishing cloth with her other hand it was unlikely that the glass would have snapped and injured her as it did on the day in question.

Legal representatives for the defendant argued against this that there is no specific provision in legislation or a particular manual related to glass polishing, nor had he had seen proper and safe methods of glass polishing demonstrated on video by glass manufacturers. Additionally it was claimed that it would be imposing a massive burden on an employer to ask them to train someone when there was no accepted official training regime or accepted pattern of training in existence as to how a particular task should be carried out.

Following the accident the woman was taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, for the wound to be treated. Here it was discovered that she had been left with a small scar and that damage to a nerve in her finger had not properly mended. She suffers from hypersensitivity in the area of the injury to this day.

 

Massive $10.9bn RoundUp Settlement Agreed in US by Bayer

Posted on: June 25th, 2020

Bayer, the German drugs and pesticides producer has come to an agreement, following over a year of talks, to pay as much as $10.9bn to settle thousands of US-based legal actions taken in connection with users of weed killer Roundup developing cancer.

Bayer, the group that inherited the claims when it took over Monsanto in 2018, revealed in May that talks were coming close to an end. Three cases that have already gone to trial are not included in the settlement.

Of the settlement, $5bn must be paid prior to the end of 2020, with the same amount being paid in 2021. The settlement will be funded using the the company’s existing free cash flow and the proceeds of the recent sale of its Animal Health portfolio.

This settlement represents around three quarters of the claims taken in relation to RoundUp. There were almost 125,000 filed and unfiled claims.

Legal claims submitted stated that Roundup is to responsible for the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers in some users. However, Bayer refuted these claims and are supported in these claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In relation to the settlement Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann released a statement which said: “The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end.”

He went on to say: “It is financially reasonable when viewed against the significant financial risks of continued, multiyear litigation and the related impacts to our reputation and to our business.

“The decision to resolve the Roundup litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of healthcare and food. It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”

The settlement figure takes into account $1.25 billion for another class agreement in relation to possible future litigation and any other unresolved claims.

Bayer has always denied claims that Roundup or its active ingredient glyphosate can result in cancer based on the many years of independent studies being completed that indicate the product is safe for human use. In April the group were given Bayer shareholder approval in relation to its handling of the claims.

Settlement mediator Ken Feinberg also released a statement that revealed some 25,000 claims remain unsettled. He commented: “Bayer wisely decided to settle the litigation rather than roll the dice in American court.”

 

COVID-19 Compensation Claims from Meat Plant Workers Likely Due to ‘Fundamental Problems’

Posted on: June 2nd, 2020

Claims have been made that meat processing plant workers were put in a position where they had to go back to work regardless of the fact that co-workers had clear COVID-19 symptoms.

Recent reports have indicated that over 600 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the meat processing sector.

Deputy general secretary of trade union SIPTU, Gerry McCormack, said that some meat processing plants “completely ignored” HSE guidelines on Covid-19. He said: “What seems to have happened is that some employers really didn’t take this seriously. Some of them did. Some employers completely ignored the recommendations from the HSE on how to do physical distancing and put in proper processes to protect workers.”

He added: “If you contrast, for example, the meat industry with the dairy industry which are both providing food throughout this country and abroad and we have very little, if any, outbreaks in the dairy industry. It’s a well paid, well-regulated industry, as compared to the meat industry. We had a problem from the very beginning in that some employers weren’t taking this seriously.”

In addition to this, in the Dáil former minister and independent TD Denis Naughten has said that he discovered clusters of infection surrounding meat plants “where the levels of infection within the plants themselves is up on one third or, in some instances, half of the workforce”. He went on to say that he found evidence to suggest that meat processing plant staff did not self-isolate in the period between being tested and the results being returned which seriously undermines the validity of the negative results.

He submitted a Dáil question to ask Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to explain how this situation was able to taker place at meat processing plants.

Mr Naughten said that not tackling this development could result in many other problems. He said: “Ahead of the start of reopening the economy next week we must address the fundamental problems within the meat processing sector which could be replicated in other parts of industry and which could be catastrophic.”

“These failures in the system have resulted in new infection clusters in communities across the country which up to now had low levels of Covid-19 infection. If these fundamental issues are not addressed immediately, in advance of the easing of the lockdown next Monday, then we could very quickly be looking at a second spike in Covid-19 infections.

“After such heroic efforts by every citizen in the State to stop the spread of this virus we cannot allow a second wave of infection under any circumstances. So, while we must remain cautious in how we relax restrictions, we must also learn to live with Covid-19 which will be with us for a considerable time to come.”

 

Aer Lingus Facing Compensation Action Due to Passenger Treatment

Posted on: April 26th, 2020

An American Aer Lingus passenger has submitted a lawsuit claiming she was injured due to their treatment of her in an incident that occurred just prior to departure.

Mary Oshana is alleges that Aer Lingus flight crew forcibly removed her from the cabin toilet and dragged her to her assigned seat while her pants were still below her knees, exposing her buttocks and genitalia to other passengers. She also claims that this course of events resulted in her sustaining a hip injury.

Ms Oshana, a resident of Skokie IL, submitted her damages claim as, she says, she was handled “unreasonably, carelessly, and negligently” by Aer Lingus flight crew.

The complaint was filed in District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in relation to the events that took place just before a flight from Chicago to Dublin departed on April 26, 2018. The claim details how the flight taxied from the departure gate at O’Hare International Airport. However, it came to a halt and remained in place on the tarmac for around half an hour before it moved on towards the runway for take-off. Ms Oshana, during this delay, decided to leave her seat to go to the toilet. The claims details her claims that, that about 20 seconds after entering the toilet, she became aware that one or more persons were banging on the door.

She was informed that she must return to her seat. As she was seated on the toilet with her pants down, she told these people that she would do as they wished “in just a minute”.

It is alleged that two Aer Lingus flight attendants “broke through the lavatory door, grabbed the plaintiff under her arms, dragged her to her seat while her pants were below her knees, and threw her with great force into the arm rest and seat. In the process of being thrown with great force into the armrest and seat, the plaintiff, Mary Oshana, suffered pain and bruising in her hip, thighs and buttocks.”

Legal counsel for Ms Oshana claim the incident falls under the terms of the Montreal Convention, a treaty covering damages for victims of incidents on airlines. Aer Lingus chose not to make any comments on the event that took place or the contents of the claim that was submitted.

The hearing it scheduled to go to court later this year in June.

 

Witness to Road Crash Awarded €87,000 in PTSD Compensation Claim

Posted on: April 16th, 2020

A PTSD compensation award of €87,000 has been approved for a woman who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to seeing a partly decapitated body of a motorist when she arrived at the scene of a road traffic accident.

The woman in question, Lisa Sheehan, began to experience moderately severe PTSD and had to resign from her hairdressing job two years after the accident took place. She did not believe that she was in a position to continue with her duties.

From Banteer in north Cork, 36-year-old married mother of two Mrs Sheean submitted the lawsuit against Bus Éireann and FBD insurance which provided cover for the deceased motorist.

She informed the judge that she still has bad dreams and flashbacks of the incident. She said that her condition placed great strain on her relationships and she still attends counselling and medication sessions. She claimed that this suffering is a result of the negligent operation or control of both the bus and the car. Bus Éireann did not accept the negligence claims while FBD accepted that the accident was caused by the negligence of the deceased car driver.

However, both defendants informed the Court that they did not believe that Ms Sheehan’s psychiatric injuries did not give rise to any cause of action recognised by current legislation and, as such, they did not owe her a duty of care.

When the accident took place on January 28, 2017, Ms Sheehan was heading from work in Cork city to her home. When she was coming close to Mallow her car hit some debris and she came to a stop. She then saw the damaged bus and the severely damaged car which had hit it near by. When she went over to the the car she found “a badly disfigured and partly decapitated body”.

She contacted the emergency services and reviewed the surrounding area for others who might have been involved in the accident and eventually identified the bus driver whose face was covered in blood.

In relation to the legal claims that the defendants were registering, the judge said the law on primary/secondary victims is far from definitive in this jurisdiction. He went on to say that, while in his opinion nothing turned on that division in this case, he was happy Ms Sheehan was a primary victim as her car had been struck by debris from the crash.

He then awarded her €87,238 PTSD compensation in relation to her claim.

Tree Stump Accident leads to €55,000 Injury Compensation Award for Boy

Posted on: March 17th, 2020

A boy who cut his knee – when he was attending an Art Camp in Dundrum, Dublin – during a fall on a tree stump at a has had a compensation settlement of €55,000 approved in the High Court.

Just ten years old when the accident in question took place, Diarmuid O’Connor is now 15 and took the legal action via his mother Jacinta O’Connor of Ashton Avenue, Knocklyon, Dublin, against Artzone Ltd, the operators of an art camp at Taney Parish Hall, Dundrum, Dublin during February 2016

The accident took place during the break is classes at the camp when Diarmuid, now 15-years-old, and some of his friends were unsupervised as they wandered off among the bushes on the grounds of the camp. If was during this exploration that Diarmuid fell across the tree stump and cut his leg quite badly.

Camp staff were called to help him and they removed the other children from the scene and called an ambulance. The cut was so severe that it has left Diarmuid too self conscious to wear shorts during the summer months.

As he was giving his approval for the child accident compensation settlement, Justice Garrett Simons said that he was very happy with the agreed terms of the settlement. He made reference to the fact that there may have been many legal issues in relation to supervision and how the boy was permitted to wander off unsupervised if the case had gone to a full trial.

 

During break time, it was claimed, the boy went in an area with bushes after his friends and fell.

Assistants ushered the group away from the bushes and an ambulance was called.

The judge said the settlement was a good one. He noted that if the case had gone to trial there may have been issues in relation to the boy wandering off and to supervision.

Trial of Man for Sexual Assault of Four Girls at Creche Begins

Posted on: February 25th, 2020

A 29-year-old male is currently on trial after being accused of the sexual assault of four girls at the creché where he was working. Claims have been made that the man in question, from February 2015 to December 2016, sexually assault the group of girls on up to 23 occasions. The man pleaded not guilty in relation to the allegations that have been made by young girls who were aged between five and eight-years-old when the attacks occurred. The allegations include ten counts of sexual assault in relation to the first girl, eight in relation to the second girl, three in relation to the third and two in relation to the fourth. The offences are all alleged to have occurred in different places at the crèche and on a bus owned by the crèche. In order to safeguard the identities of the children involved, the man’s name and details of the location of the crèche cannot be made public. Prosecuting Counsel Orla Crowe said the man was first hired to cook in the kitchen of the crèche during 2013. However, a short time following this he began was given duties supervising after-school children. His tasks included taking children to school in the early mornings and picking them up after school ended for the day. He also supervised the older after-school children during the afternoons. Ms Crowe said the man had been accused of committing sexual misconduct on 12 December 2016. This happened after one of the young girls told another child about the incident and that child then informed a staff member about it. The child’s parents and the Gardaí were made aware of the situation and an official investigation. As part of the trial the children will be available for cross-examination by the defence via video link, and videos of previously-conducted interviews, carried out by specialist garda interviewers, were filmed during January 2017. These interviews will be shown to the court during the trial. The children’s parents and the specialist garda interviewers will also take the stand during the trial. The court was advised that the owner of the crèche where the man was working was aware that the man had no official qualification in child care when assumed the role but had begun his official training. He had completed a one-day child safeguarding workshop and was attempting to get the appropriate FETAC level 5 qualification that was legally required. Speaking about the man’s suitability for the position the proprietor said that she felt it would be good to have a male authoritative figure in the crèche and he was trying to become properly qualified, albeit this was taking a considerable amount of time. The woman went on to say that, as the law had been amended, anyone working in a crèche after 31 December 2016 had to have a FETAC level 5 qualification. The Man had been aware that he would not be able to continue in his role after this date as he was not qualified. On 12 December 2016 she was in the creche office when a staff member advised her that one of the after school children had told a separate child that she had kissed the man in his private area and then giggled. As, she informed the court, she was unsure what course of action to follow as she was wary that it could be a case of children being fanciful and talking about such things. She contacted the parents of the children affected. The next day a father of one of the girls advised her that he was going to get in touch with the gardaí in relation to the issue. Following this she contacted the man and advised his that he was suspended from his position as there was a serious allegation against him. The Gardaí then attended the crèche that afternoon with a warrant and retrieved footage from the CCTV system. Next Monday the trial continues.

Catholic Church Braced for Compensation Claims in Relation to Illegal Adoption Cases

Posted on: January 31st, 2020

At the High Court in Belfast a compensation case has been submitted in relation to illegal Catholic Church adoptions, arranged by the Catholic Church of children born in the Republic of Ireland, the first of many such cases that are expected to be submitted.

The plaintiff is Patrick FitzSymons, a Belfast-born actor known for his roles in Game of Thrones and Line of Duty. Mr FitzSymons was born to an unmarried couple in Co Clare in the 1960s. His parents wish to avoid the stigma of having a child out of wedlock and allowed the Catholic church agency St Patrick’s Guild to arrange his adoption to a married couple in Co Antrim. 

148 people are now involved in the cases about the adoptions which involved forging birth certificates and other baptismal records. The legal firm handling mr FitzSymon’s case, Coleman Legal Partners, are responsible for 25 similar cases and are expecting that number to grow even more. Since the original number has revealed as 126 by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar 20 months in May 2018 it was grown substantially. At the time the Taoiseach told the Dáil that the disclosures of the adoptions amounted to “another chapter from the very dark history of our country” which had “robbed children – our fellow citizens – of their identity”.

Mr FitzSymons solicitor, Norman Spicer of Coleman Legal Partners said that the firm is handling many similar cases but there is no plans to apply for a “class action” order because of the complexity of the individual cases. He said: “There is no provision for the North American-style of ‘class action’ under Irish law. However, a court has discretion to grant an order which may mirror to some extent the other system for a specific case or set of cases. We do not envisage making such an application. These are complex cases involving many different defendants, as a result it is difficult to say how long these cases will take as it depends on all of the parties involved and how quickly responses, replies and motions, and so on, can be turned around. Three years (the estimated time the case will take to process) would not be an unreasonable time frame but this is dependent upon many factors and is really only a ‘ballpark’ estimate.”

Mr Fitzsymons was born to parents in Co Clare. It was arranged, by St Patrick Guild. for him to be adopted by John FitzSymons, a pharmaceutical chemist from Warrenpoint in Co Down and Patricia Bradley, a qualified social worker native to Co Tyrone. In an earlier interview Mr FitzSymons detailed his relationship with his adoptive parents, who are now both deceased. He said that they “had loved me and provided for me as best they could’ and that his “natural parents, my birth mother in particular, had endured the institutional shaming and disapproval of Ireland at that time to do what she thought to be the right thing”.

In summer 2018, FitzSymons was informed by Tusla that he was just one of 126 people whose births were mistakenly registered between 1946 and 1969 by the Dublin-based St Patrick’s Guild. In a an earlier interview he described the severe emotional suffering that both sets of parents experienced due to the entire case. He remarked: “My natural parents, my birth mother in particular, had endured the institutional shaming and disapproval of Ireland at that time to do what she thought to be the right thing.”

 

 

 

 

PTSD Disclosure Statement Issued to External Facebook & YouTube Content Moderators

Posted on: January 26th, 2020

Reports have been filed in the US and Europe revealing that Accenture, a professional services company that provides external professional services globally, has sent disclosure forms to new hires and existing staff that state that they are fully aware of the possibility that the content they must view as part of the duties may result in them suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The disclosure statement is said to read: “I understand the content I will be reviewing may be disturbing. It is possible that reviewing such content may impact my mental health, and it could even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

Accenture contractors are employed as external outside monitors for social media sites. The are typically given duties including deleting any inappropriate content. In order to accomplish this task they must view and hear disturbing posts of a violent or sexual in nature. A normal day’s work would include these moderators considering the inappropriate nature of objectionable materials and having to look over hundreds of disturbing images.

This move comes as Facebook is readying itself for coming legal battles with former content moderators that were submitted due to the PTSD they are suffering from due to the content they had to view as part of their daily duties. Legal actions have been initiated in California and Ireland.

The disclosure statements were sent out to Accenture employees in the United States and Europe to complete. Exiting members of staff were issued with the statement in the form of an update. Accenture has three content moderation offices for Facebook in Europe based in Warsaw, Lisbon and Dublin, where workplace safety rules are some of the most stringent globally and include protections for mental health issues.

The form states that “no job is worth sacrificing my mental or emotional health” and that “this job is not for everyone” and includes suggesting that individuals who suffer with mental health struggles due to work might not fit in at at Accenture. There is no provision made, in that statement, to say that Accenture will, as required by federal law, make reasonable accommodations for employees who become disabled due to the duties of their job.

Facebook and Google, YouTube’s parent company have both released statements claiming that they were not asked to approve or review Accenture’s new disclosure form. However, both stated that they direct their professional service suppliers to provide psychological support for content moderators.

The disclosure forms included details of support services that are provided by Accenture such as a hotline and a wellness coach. However it was detailed that these services are not managed by professionally trained experts as, according to Accenture, they “cannot diagnose or treat mental disorders”.

Accenture has also issued a statement in relation to the move which claims the health and said the wellbeing of its contractors is was a “top priority” and added that only new joiners were being asked to complete the forms, whereas current employees were being sent the form as an update. The statement outlined: “We regularly update the information we give our people to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the work they do”.

Social media moderators should not complete this form without consulting with a solicitor first as doing so may impinge on their right to pursue a compensation claim for any future suffering caused by their work duties.

Coffee Accident Compensation Settlement of €41,000 Approved for Boy (5)

Posted on: January 8th, 2020

A coffee shop compensation claim action has been approved at the High Court €41,000 due to baby being allowed to pull a bowl of hot soup on top of himself in a coffee shop and sustained major burns.

The boy, Otto Devine, was aged just six months when the accident occurred, leaving the boy with superficial scald burns to his arms and legs at a coffee shop at the Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin. The accident occurred when the boy was with his father and grandfather on May 10, 2015. The legal representative, Carl Hanahoe BL, advised Justice Kevin Cross that the hot soup and sandwiches were put down in front of the baby on the table. The young child was able to pull the bowl down on top of himself, spilling the hot liquid.

Otto was brought by ambulance to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin to have his injuries treated. Medics diagnosed him with partial thickness burns to his hands, his left leg and right foot. There was also a redness to the right side of his face right hand and the inside of his left elbow. it was found that 3% of the boy’s body were covered with burns. He attended a subsequent appointment with the plastic surgery department . Here, his wounds were cleaned out and sterile dressings were placed on them.

Otto spent eight days in hospital. He suffered early toxic shock syndrome and developed a fever two days after his admission. Once the fever alleviated he was sent home on May 18, 2015. Due to the incident, Otto was left with three areas of minor scarring, the court was informed.

His (Otto’s) legal representatives told the judge that the soup should not have been brought to the table, and placed in front of the child, at a temperature which would inflict serious burns. The personal injury compensation claim was taken on behalf of Otto by his father, Conor Devine, against the Airfield Estate due to the accident. Justice Kevin Cross gave his approval for the settlement that was mediated and said that he was satisfied happy that Otto had made a good recovery from significant burns.

Australian Tourist Awarded €67,000 Museum Accident Compensation

Posted on: September 7th, 2019

A museum accident compensation award of approximately €67,000 has been approved at the High Court for an Australian tourist who fell and injured his leg when he slipped and rolled down stone stairs at the National Museum of Ireland.

Presiding judge Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon told the High Court that the museum’s Portland stone steps had been shiny and slippery at the time that Warren Baldwin (70), from Revesby New South Wales, ruptured a leg tendon in the accident on the steps. Mr Baldwin suffered major trauma, inconvenience and costs due to the fall.

On June 5, 2016 Mr Baldwin, slipped and fell on the third step from the end of the staircase he was descending in the National Museum. The steps were constructed in 1890, when the museum, located in Kildare Street building was developed.

Justice O’Hanlon said that the accident took place due to negligence in not have a railing in place for a to guide a person down the whole of the seven-step staircase.

She went on to say that Mr Baldwin would not have fallen if a proper safe and safe handrail in place on the steps at the time the accident took place. The wrought-iron bannister that is there is topped by a wooden rail and finishes at the third-last step where it links up with a stone balustrade.

Legal counsel for the National Museum of Ireland said that there was no problems with the stairs when the accident took place. They went on to say that there had been one handrail in place to guide people down the stairs and that of the 470,000 people attending, the museum during 2016 Mr Baldwin was the only individual who fell while walking down the stairs.

Justice O’Hanlon made the museum accident compensation award of €66,989 for Mr Baldwin and said that the museum did not fulfil it duty of care towards the safety of its visitors.

Public Service Card Data Breach could lead to Compensation Claims

Posted on: August 17th, 2019

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has released the finding of a report in the gathering of information during the application process for the Public Services Card (PSC)  which has deemed the practice was illegal. Due to the finding of the report there is a strong possibility that there will be a number of compensation claims made against the State.

The findings of the DPC review said that the PSC scheme does not comply with the transparency requirements of the data protection acts due to the amount of information given, by Department of Social Welfare, to individuals who were having their data processed as part of the application. The data that is currently being  held on over three million card holders must now be deleted and data processing by the Department must be come to an end within the allotted timeline or some enforcement sanctions may take place against those charged with managing the operation.

In a statement released on the finding of the reports the DPC said “Ultimately, we were struck by the extent to which the scheme, as implemented in practice, is far-removed from its original concept,” the DPC said in a statement published on its website.

“Whereas the scheme was conceived as one that would make it easier to access (and deliver) public services, with chip-and-pin type cards being used for actual card-based transactions, the true position is that no public sector body has invested in the technology capable of reading the chip that contains the encrypted elements of the Public Sector Identity dataset. Instead, the card has been reduced to a limited form of photo-ID, for which alternative uses have then had to be found.”

When it was first launched, the PSC was implemented for the processing of social welfare payments. Later, it was a required for applying for a range of other state services such as  first-time adult passport applicants, replacement of lost, stolen or damaged passports issued prior to January 2005, where the person is resident in the State, citizenship applications, driving test and driver licence appointments.

The PSC will, however, continue to be an acceptable form of identification for a range of services. Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon said: “Any cards that have been issued, their validity is not in question by anything we’ve found in this report,” she said. “They can continue to be used in the context of availing of free travel or availing of benefits that a person is claiming from the department.”

She added that this does not rule out possibility that a single card, or possibly a national identity card, could be used for all interactions with the state at some point in the future.  She stated: “No, we’re not saying that at all. We’re saying that if that’s what’s intended or required, there isn’t a lawful basis [as currently set up]. It can’t be the case that a national identity card automatically offends EU charter fundamental rights or EU data protection law because they exist all around Europe. It is a possibility, by carefully laying down the lawful basis for such a card.”

A number of civil society groups who have said that their are thinking about submitting a class-action style case in relation to this data breach. When the PSC was first introduced advocacy groups such as Digital Rights Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Age Action objected to its introduction. Digital Rights Ireland welcomed the announced vis its Twitter account saying: “We welcome @dpcireland‘s observation that the PSC morphed from a cryptographic token designed to enhance security for citizens, into a photo id card with no particular purpose, but for which various alternative uses had to be found to justify its existence. We note that @welfare_ie tried its best to use spin, expensive PR campaigns, and hectoring of newsrooms to provide a basis for the PSC. They had to, because there was no legal basis, and limited political support.”

Elsewhere, there have those who have claimed that the the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty should be relieved of her position due to the data breach. Reacting to the investigation findings, Minister Doherty said: “We only received the report yesterday. It’s a very comprehensive report. We are going to consider the report and issue a full response as soon as we can.”

Political party Sinn Fein have said that they are reviewing the potential for tabling a motion of no confidence in the Minister.

 

Ryanair Girl Hot Chocolate Accident leads to Girl (8) being Awarded €150k

Posted on: May 29th, 2019

A High Court personal injury compensation claim against Ryanair has been settled for €150,000 in favour of an eight-year-old girl who sustained second-degree scald burns when a cup of hot chocolate was slipped on her lap during a Ryanair flight. The girl, American Sriya Venkata Neti was travelling from Rome to Krakow on a Ryanair flight with her parents when the hot liquid and the paper cup fell on top of her as she took a sip of the hot chocolate. Sriya Venkata Neti, had through her father Srinivas Neti sued Ryanair over the accident on the Rome Krakow flight on June 25, 2016. She sustained burns to her thighs and buttocks and has been left with scarring, the court was told. The girl’s father, Srinivas Neti, provided an affidavit to the court, which said that the scarring has now substantially improved and whereas the injuries sustained were extremely serious. It also said that his daughter has made a good recovery and the condition of her injuries has greatly improved. During the case Sriya’s Counsel Hugh Mohan SC told the High Court the little girl suffered significant burns.  A medical report submitted to the court said the hot liquid pooled on the seat causing extreme burning pain and the child’s mother had to unbuckle her from the seat and her clothing had to be taken off. Her mother reported her daughter’s skin was gone from where the liquid landed and blisters were forming in other areas. When they reached their destination in Krakow the girl was airlifted to hospital and was then transferred to Toronto, Canada where she spent eight days being treated as an outpatient. After this she was returned home to California. In the claim it was stated that the alleged failure of the cabin crew to act lead to the burns suffered being exacerbated. In particular, it was alleged that there was no attempt to provide any or any appropriate means of cooling the burns worsened the injuries considerably. Ryanair denied all the claims. That were made in the legal action. Mr Justice Kevin Cross , in approving the settlement, told the Court that it must have been extremely painful when Sriya was scalded and also pointed to the fact that the young girl has also been left with scarring despite making a good recovery.

€20,000 Personal Injury Compensation Award for Boy (5)

Posted on: March 17th, 2019

A young child has been awarded €20,000 personal injury compensation damages after he tripped and fell near in a gully near his home in Co Donegal.

The child fractured his arm in two places. He was just five-years old at the time that the accident happened close to his home in Dungloe, Co Donegal on July 3rd, 2015. The boy, through his mother and father, took the personal injury compensation legal action against Donegal County Council at Letterkenny Circuit Civil Court.

Presiding Judge James O’Donoghue said he was of the opinion that Irish Water were the body charged with the responsibility of maintain the integrity of the water service. He quired is this was actually the case. He said: “I thought Irish water took over all that?” However, Barrister Patricia McCallum, instructed by solicitor Cormac Hartnett, told the court that this area was still governed by Donegal County Council in relation to personal injury compensation claims such as this.

At Letterkenny Circuit Civil Court, the boy’s parents were in attendance. When they were given the chance they advised the Judge that their son, who is now aged nine-years-old, had made a full recovery from the gully trap and fall incident.

Judge O’Donoghue gave his approval for €20,000 personal injury compensation offer. In addition to this he also awarded the costs to the young boy’s legal team.

€150,000 Assault Injury Compensation Awarded to Mother Following Violent Attack

Posted on: March 9th, 2019

A mother of two has been awarded €150,000 in violent attack compensation at the High Court after she was assaulted by the father of her two children, her former partner.

Jonathan McSherry (36), with a previous address of Cedarbrook Walk, Cherry Orchard, Dublin, went to prison to three and a half years for the assault on Jessica Bowes. He was allowed to go free after serving 22 months of the sentence. Mr McSherry confirmed that he broke almost every bone in Ms Bowes face and kicked her many times during the attack that happened on December 2015.

Mr McSherry, a former soldier, apologised to Ms Bowes and her civil action was now being heard by the High Court for a final assessment of compensation damages. Mr McSherry assaulted Ms Bowes after she arrived at her Clondalkin house in a taxi following a Christmas night out on December 20, 2015, to find him waiting there for her. Closed circuit camera footage of the attack displayed McSherry dragging Ms Bowes from the taxi, punching, kicking and dragging her. She was knocked out twice during the attack which lasted over one minute and a half before she managed to escape into a closeby house.

After the award was announced Ms Bowes made a statement in which she said that she hopes the ruling and compensation award will lead to more and more victims of domestic violence to  initiate legal actions.

She stated: “I hope this will act as a deterrent, that people will realise there are possible large financial consequences as well as the threat of prison for this sort of violence. I’ve already had people write to me about it. One woman sent me a letter and a holy medal on Tuesday thanking me for my courage and asking me to pray for her so that she could find courage to tell the truth too. “She went to the bother of writing the letter, getting a stamp and posting it”.

“I was very upset for her and I will pray for her. She signed the letter ‘an old lady’, and it shows this can happen to anyone from any background. I just hope now that with International Women’s Day coming tomorrow, women everywhere will find the courage to speak out” Ms Bowes went on to say.

Finally she commented: “I hope women young and old will that find strength. It’s important for women to realise help is there for them – from places like Women’s Aid – [and] that legal advice and professional help is available.”

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon told the High Court said that she felt that Ms Bowes’ account was authentic. The went on to say that this was an extremely serious case that led to the woman experiencing difficulties which were ongoing and permanent.

The judge said that it was also noted that Mr McSherry’s admissions and apology for the violent assault did not come immediately. It was also noted that it was not the function of the civil court to punish the defendant but rather to assess the proposed amount of compensation. However, the judge also took into account the measures that McSherry had taken to rehabilitate himself, but did not reduce the compensation damages that Ms Bowes was to be awarded. The Judge awarded €150,000 appropriate given the circumstances to Ms Bowes.

School Door Injury Compensation of €55,000 Awarded to Schoolgirl (9)

Posted on: February 24th, 2019

School accident injury compensation of €55,000 has been awarded to a nine-year-old girl who caught her finger in a school door and will no longer be able to grow her nail long.

Legal counsel for the the child Fiona Crawford told the court that the girl had been using the door of a classroom when it had closed back on to her finger. She was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital and, subsequently, to Galway, where an operation was carried out on her finger by surgeon Michael O’Sullivan.

Ms Crawford informed Judge John Aylmer that, due to the school door accident injury, the child was quite sensitive in cold weather and would not allow anyone to touch the affected finger as she had become very self conscious about the pain it could cause.  The tip of her finger was lost in the accident and it cannot be replaced, Letterkenny Circuit Court was told.

Ms Crawford told the presiding Judge that the girl in question experienced considerable discomfort and said she would not be allowed to have her nails grow long due to the injury. In addition to this, she has been left with a scar on the top of her finger and her writing had also been affected following the incident.

The girl was initially offered school injury compensation of €35,000 in the aftermath of the accident that happened in April 2017 at a Donegal primary school. Ms Crawford said this first €35,000 was much too low when the full extent of the injuries the life long effects that they will have were taken in account.

Judge Aylmer concurred with this sentiment and directed that an improved personal injury compensation offer should be made to the girl.

The legal teams returned later in the day and the Judge was informed that an improved school door injury compensation settlement offer of €55,000 has been agreed between the parties. The Judge gave his approval for the improved offer.



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