Public Liability in Ireland

In order to claim compensation for public liability in Ireland, you must have sustained an injury due to the negligence of a premises owner or person responsible for your health and safety who owed you a duty of care. Accidents which result in an injury in bars, restaurants, supermarkets and other places of public access are usually resolved by making a claim for compensation against the public liability insurers of the premises and, as claims for public liability in Ireland are not always straightforward to prove, you should speak with one of our courteous and professional solicitors for impartial and accurate advice about public liability compensation in Ireland.

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

Posted on: January 29th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharp Rise in Compensation Claims Against the State

Posted on: October 8th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Factors Leading to Rise in Compensation Claims Against the State

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

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

€25,000 Tayto Park Fall Compensation for Boy (13)

Posted on: October 5th, 2017

The High Court has approved an injury compensation settlement of €25,000 for a boy, 13-year-old Conor Bolger, as a result of a the injuries his suffered following a fall from a playground tower at Tayto Park in March 2012.

Mr Bolger, who was just eight years old at the time of the fall, of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, filed the legal compensation claim against Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, Co Meath trading as Tayto Park, through his father Brian Bolger due the the injuries he was inflicted with in the incident on March 25, 2012. The boy underwent a surgical procedure to place pins in his lower arm after he fractured his elbow

It was argued by Mr Bolger’s legal representation that tower he was climbing was overcrowded at this time and this caused the fall. In addition to this, it was claimed, the ground surrounding the tower did not have a sufficient amount of protective wood mulch as constant inspections and safety checks were not being carried out in the area. The legal team felt that, had these measures been in place, the plaintiff’s injuries may not have been as severe.

Counsel for Tayto Park (Ashbourne Visitor Centre) David McGrath SC denied these allegation and stated the boy  was climbing the Tayto Park tower when he “just fell” and this was not due to any issue with the tower itself. Mr McGrath advised the High Court Justice Kevin Cross that that boy’s family were happy to agree to a settlement of €25,000 for Tayto Park fall compensation.

High Court Justice Cross approved the settlement, stating that Mr Bolger’s scarred elbow was not “too upsetting”. He also commented that Mr Bolger was known to enjoy playing basketball at the time of the incident and would have had difficulty doing this due to dexterity issues from the injuries.

Compensation for the Abuse of a Toddler at a Creche Approved at the Circuit Civil Court

Posted on: May 24th, 2017

A settlement of compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche has been approved by a judge at the Circuit Court in favour of a six-year-old girl.

Between September 2012 and January 2013, the young girl attended the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, County Dublin. During her time in the Toddlers Room at the creche, her parents were concerned the girl would cry “No creche. No creche” each morning as they were getting her ready to attend. Their concerns increased when she started showing signs of anxiety and distress.

Her mother discusses her concerns with the carer responsible, and told her the girl was often withdrawn and tired when she was collected from the creche and experienced sleep disturbances at night. The carer told the girl´s mother she was receiving an appropriate level of care under her supervision and there was no reason to be concerned.

However, a few months later, the RTE documentary “A Breach of Trust” showed the same carer abusing children at the creche. The girl´s parents sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche on the grounds she had suffered stress and emotional upset due to the negligence of the creche and the creche´s failure to adequately supervise its staff.

Liability was denied but, in July 2015, an offer to settle the claim for €15,000 without an admission of liability was made. The offer went to the Circuit Court for approval, but was thrown out by Judge James O´Donohue, who said the proposed settlement of compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche was inappropriate in relation to the level of injury the girl was alleged to have suffered.

After a period of renegotiation, a new offer of settlement was made – this time for €23,000. Details of the offer and the circumstances of the girl´s injury were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court earlier this week and – after he was assured there was no serious risk to the young girl´s future psychological development – the judge approved the settlement of compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche.

Woman Awarded Compensation for a Back Injury due to Falling from a Broken Chair

Posted on: March 3rd, 2017

A woman from Dublin has been awarded €17,500 compensation for a back injury due to falling from a broken chair in one of the capital´s Chinese restaurants.

The woman suffered her injury in May 2014 while dining at the China Kitchen Restaurant in Beaumont. She told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that she had been dining with friends when a leg became detached from the chair she was sitting on, causing it to collapse.

The woman – a thirty-four year old cleaner from Finglas – jolted to her right side to avoid falling onto the floor but, due to her sudden movement, twisted her lower back. Feeling immediate pain, she visited her GP the following day who prescribed painkillers.

As she continued to experience pain in her lower back after working or sitting for a long time, the woman underwent a course of physiotherapy sessions. Although the sessions had some effect, she still continues to suffer intermittent pain across her lumbar region.

The woman claimed compensation for a back injury due to falling from a broken chair against Xwfx Ltd – the registered owner of the China Kitchen Restaurant – alleging that the restaurant had been negligent in providing her with a faulty chair and that the waiter that had come to her assistance after her accident had tried to repair the chair rather than replace it.

Xwfx Limited failed to answer a request from the Injuries Board for the restaurant´s consent to conduct an assessment of the woman´s claim, and subsequently failed to attend a court hearing after the woman had taken her case to court. The case was found in the woman´s favour in default of appearance and proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court for an assessment of damages only.

After hearing the details of the case, how the accident had occurred, and the consequences of the injury to the woman´s quality of life, Judge Linnane awarded her €17,500 compensation for a back injury due to falling from a broken chair.

Judge Declines to Approve Settlement of Injury Compensation for an Accident at Playschool

Posted on: January 25th, 2017

Mr Justice Raymond Groarke has declined to approve a settlement of injury compensation for an accident at playschool and sent the case for a full trial.

The claim for injury compensation for an accident at playschool was made on behalf of a five-year-old girl from Dublin who, in April 2015, was unsupervised when she climbed onto an open wardrobe and broke her right leg when she fell.

The girl was taken to hospital where she had surgery under a general anaesthetic to manipulate her bones back into position. She was discharged from hospital in a leg cast, and subsequently had to wear a walking boot for several weeks.

Through her mother, the girl made a claim against the Larkin Early Education Centre in Ballybough, Dublin. The claim was assessed by the Injuries Board, following which the playschool made an offer of compensation amounting to €31,000.

On the advice of a solicitor, the family rejected the offer of settlement and the case went to the Circuit Civil Court, where Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident and details of the offer.

After hearing that the girl still experiences pain in her right leg as a result of her accident, Judge Groarke agreed that the offer of injury compensation for an accident at playschool was indeed inadequate, and said that the case should be heard in full at a later date to be fixed by the Circuit Court office.

Although the Injuries Board conducted an assessment of the girl´s claim, the offer of injury compensation for an accident at playschool probably did not reflect the true amount of the Injuries Board´s assessment.

According to the Book of Quantum, compensation settlements for a moderate lower leg fracture in which the bones have been displaced range from €40,500 to €70,400. As injuries to the tibia are considered more serious than those to the fibula, the final settlement of injury compensation for an accident at playschool will likely be at the higher end of the range.

Claim for a Trip and Fall Accident in Tesco Resolved

Posted on: November 15th, 2016

A nurse´s claim for a trip and fall accident in Tesco has been resolved at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court with an award of €48,000 injury compensation.

The nurse – a thirty-two year old woman from Terenure in Dublin – had entered her local Tesco Metro store, and was heading for the wine section, when she tripped and fell over a six-pack of beer that had been left on the floor by a customer waiting to use the self-service check-out.

An ambulance was called and the woman taken to St James´s Hospital, where an x-ray revealed a fracture of the left knee. The woman had to undergo two surgeries and still attends the hospital for physiotherapy treatment more than 2½ after her accident.

The woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim for a trip and fall accident in Tesco. Consent for the assessment to go ahead was declined by the store, and the woman was issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim through the courts system.

Her case was heard last week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing the judge was told that Tesco denied liability for the accident because the hazard had only been present on the floor for a matter of seconds before the accident and there was nothing Tesco could have done to prevent it.

Judge Groarke also heard that the layout of the Tesco Metro store was such that customers entering the store had to navigate around other customers waiting to use the self-service checkout. The judge said that, if a better system of customer traffic control was applied, it would prevent accidents of this nature from happening.

The judge found in the woman´s favour, initially awarding her €60,000 compensation in settlement of her claim for a trip and fall accident in Tesco. However, Judge Groarke said that it was feasible that the woman was not paying full attention to her environment at the time, and reduced the settlement by 20% to account for her contributory negligence.

Man Awarded Compensation for a Fall between a Train and a Platform

Posted on: November 1st, 2016

A man has been awarded €25,000 compensation for a fall between a train and a platform after his reward was reduced due to his contributory negligence.

On August 2nd 2012, the plaintiff – a fisherman from Dun Laoghaire in Dublin – was travelling on a commuter train from Dun Laoghaire to Connolly Street, when he mistakenly alighted at Tara Street. Realising his mistake, the plaintiff turned quickly and tried to re-board the train. However, he slipped, and fell through the gap between the train and the platform onto the tracks below.

The plaintiff was able to haul himself back up onto the platform, re-board the train and continue his journey. On his arrival at Connolly Street, he reported the accident, but he had to return home soon after because of a pain in his right shoulder, He attended St Michael´s Hospital the following day, where an x-ray revealed a triple fracture.

The plaintiff applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a fall between a train and a platform, but Irish Rail declined its consent for the claim to be assessed. The Injuries Board issued the plaintiff with an authorisation to take his claim to court, and it was heard last week at the Circuit Civil Court before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told there was no CCTV footage of the accident despite there being “probably more CCTV cameras at Tara Street Station than there are at Pinewood Studios.” He was also told that there had been eleven previous incidents of passengers falling between a train and a platform in the past five years, yet no warnings for passengers to mind the gap had been given by the driver of the train.

Judge Groarke said Irish Rail had an “absolute requirement” to warn passengers to mind the gap and found Irish Rail liable for the plaintiff´s injury. However, the judge said that, although the plaintiff may have been distracted by getting off of the train at the wrong station, he had a duty of care to look where he was going. He attributed the plaintiff with 50% contributory negligence and reduced the award of compensation for a fall between a train and a platform from €50,000 to €25,000.

Judge Dismisses Appeal against Award of Swimming Pool Injury Compensation

Posted on: October 27th, 2016

A High Court judge has dismissed an appeal against an award of swimming pool injury compensation and increased the value of the award by more than €8,000.

The award of swimming pool injury compensation was originally made to a thirty-two year old plaintiff who, in November 2011, dived into the pool at the West Wood Club in Dublin and broke her two upper front teeth. The plaintiff claimed swimming pool injury compensation and, in May 2015, was awarded €30,000 by Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court.

The West Wood Club appealed the award – claiming that the plaintiff had contributed to her injury by not checking how deep the pool was before diving in. The appeal hearing took place earlier this week at the High Court before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan.

At the hearing, Judge Noonan was told that it had been the plaintiff´s first visit to the club as she was the guest of an existing member. The judge also heard that the pool was fifty metres in length, but had a depth throughout of just 1.35 metres. Counsel for the plaintiff explained that a pool of that length will often have a depth of 2 metre, at least at one end of the pool.

According to the plaintiff´s barrister, there were no signs by the poolside warning guests not to jump or dive into the pool, and it would not have been unreasonable for the plaintiff to believe that her actions were safe. Describing the signage as “woefully inadequate”, Judge Noonan said he did not accept West Wood´s claim that there was a lifeguard on duty at the time and dismissed the appeal against the award.

On hearing that the plaintiff had flown to Hungary after her accident to have crowns fitted to her broken teeth, and would likely need replacement crowns every five to ten years, judge Noonan increased the award of swimming pool injury compensation to €38,097 and said the West Wood Club was fortunate that the claim had not initially been brought in a court with a higher jurisdiction.

Settlement of Compensation for a Broken Clavicle Approved in Court

Posted on: October 21st, 2016

A €19,000 settlement of compensation for a broken clavicle has been approved by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court in favour of a nine-year-old boy.

Joel Gannon was just two-and-a-half years old in May 2010, when his head got caught between the railings of an electric gate as it was closing outside of his family´s Homestead Court home in Cabra, Dublin. As the gate closed, Joel´s head and shoulders were dragged along the ground, and only his father´s quick actions to remove him saved the young boy from further injury.

Joel was taken to the emergency department of Temple Street children´s hospital, where an x-ray revealed a broken left clavicle. Joel was also treated for bruising and abrasions to the left side of his face. Joel´s parents sought legal advice and subsequently claimed compensation for a broken clavicle against the housing association responsible for the Homestead Court complex on their son´s behalf.

In their claim against Tuath Housing Association, Joel´s parents alleged that a metallic net should have been placed across the railings of the electric gate to prevent accidents like Joel´s from happening. Liability for Joel´s injuries was denied, but the housing association made an offer of settlement amounting to €19,000. The family agreed to accept the offer on the advice of their solicitor.

However, as the claim for compensation for a broken clavicle had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement offer had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Joel´s best interests. Consequently the details of Joel´s accident and injuries were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at a special approval hearing of the Circuit Civil Court.

After hearing that Joel – who is now nine years of age – had made a full recovery from the accident, Judge Groarke approved the settlement of compensation for a broken clavicle. As is usual with settlements of compensation for legal minors, the settlement will be paid into court funds until Joel reaches the age of eighteen. Judge Groarke closed the hearing by commenting Joel was lucky his father was close at hand at the time of the incident.

Compensation for a Psychological Injury due to Being Trapped in a Lift Awarded to Woman

Posted on: October 8th, 2016

A judge has awarded €25,060 compensation for a psychological injury due to being trapped in a lift to a woman following a hearing at Dublin High Court.

On August 31, 2012, Marie Dicker (54) was visiting the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght with one of her three children. Soon after Marie and her child took the lift to travel down to the ground floor, the lift stopped moving. Marie pressed the alarm to summon help and banged on the doors to attract the attention of passing shoppers, but it took four minutes and thirty-five seconds for a shopping centre security guard to respond to her cries for help and open the lift doors.

Although trapped in the lift for less than five minutes, the incident caused Marie – a department store supervisor from Walkinstown in Dublin – to suffer a recurrence of childhood claustrophobia. Marie found that she was unable to go into rooms without leaving the door open behind her, which made it difficult to use public toilets or shop fitting rooms. She was also unable to travel in lifts and had to be close to the exit of any room she entered.

After being diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression, Marie sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a psychological injury due to being trapped in a lift against Square Management Ltd and Pickering Lifts Ltd. In her legal action against the two defendants, Marie claimed that a breach in their duty of care had resulted in her suffering from claustrophobia and panic attacks due to the lift incident.

Liability for Marie´s psychological injury was conceded, but the two defendants disputed how much compensation for a psychological injury due to being trapped in a lift Marie was entitled to. An evaluation of Marie´s condition conducted by a psychiatrist on behalf of the two defendants allegedly found no evident of anxiety at all. Consequently, the case proceeded to the High Court for an assessment of damages, where it was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

At the hearing, Judge Barr was told that, since the incident, Marie has been under the care of a psychologist and has responded well to the cognitive behaviour therapy she has been receiving. The treatment is expected to continue for a further 12 – 18 months. Commenting he was satisfied that Marie had suffered an emotional trauma and the resurfacing of childhood claustrophobia as a direct result of the incident, the judge awarded Marie €25,060 compensation for a psychological injury due to being trapped in a lift.

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.

Compensation for Personal Injuries in Ireland about to be Amended

Posted on: September 29th, 2016

The amount of compensation for personal injuries in Ireland plaintiffs will be entitled to is about to be amended with the release of a revised Book of Quantum.

The Book of Quantum is a guide used by the Injuries Board, solicitors, judges and insurance companies in order to assess how much compensation a plaintiff in Ireland is entitled to for a physical injury. The “Book” includes a comprehensive range of physical injuries and assigns them a financial value according to the extent of the injury and its permanence.

The current Book of Quantum was published in 2004 at the time the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (later the Injuries Board) was launched. In recent years the guidelines have been considered out of date and largely ignored in the consideration of court-issued awards of compensation for personal injuries in Ireland. The Book of Quantum has also been criticised for its lack of granularity.

Now, after research into 52,000 personal injury claims settled between 2013 and 2014 – and months of talks between the Injuries Board, the Courts Service and senior judges – an amended Book of Quantum is due to be published in the next few weeks. Those who have seen the work in progress say that the “new” Book of Quantum is a vast improvement on the “current” publication.

In addition to bringing the financial values assigned to physical injuries up to date, the injuries themselves will be classified in more detail. This is so that judges can more accurately compare details on a medical report against the Book of Quantum and award consistent amounts of compensation. The same should apply to insurance companies´ offers of settlement.

Although the revisions to the Book of Quantum are welcomed, it should be remembered that compensation for personal injuries in Ireland consists of just more than a consideration for a physical injury. Any quantifiable psychological injury, loss of amenity or financial loss due to an injury should also be factored into a compensation settlement.

Consequently, in order to ensure you receive a fair and appropriate settlement of compensation for being injured in an accident for which you were not at fault, you should always consult a personal injuries solicitor.

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.

Woman Awarded Compensation for being Hit by a Pallet Trolley in Dunnes

Posted on: July 14th, 2016

A woman, who was injured when a worker failed to notice her standing in the aisle, has been awarded compensation for being hit by a pallet trolley in Dunnes.

Eighty-eight year old Christina O´Reilly was shopping with her daughter at the Dunnes Store in Dublin´s Northside Shopping Centre, when she was hit in the back by a pallet trolley being pushed by a shop worker. Although the impact did not knock Christina to the floor, it was sufficient to aggravate an existing degenerative condition in her back that has left her in constant pain.

Christina claimed compensation for being hit by a pallet trolley in Dunnes, but the store refused its consent for the Injuries Board to assess her application. Christina was issued with an authorisation to take her claim to the Circuit Civil Court, but the hearing was delayed until recently due to Dunnes attempting to compile a defence against the claim.

When the hearing got underway, Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told that Dunnes were prepared to accept liability for Christina´s injuries and that the hearing was now for the assessment of damages only. The judge also heard how Christina had been an active member of society prior to the accident and had been forced to give up many social pursuits due to the pain in her back.

In an explanation of how the accident happened, Christina´s solicitor told Judge Linnane that the pallet trolley had been stacked above eye level and that it would have been impossible for the store worker to see Christina as he pushed it along the aisle. The judge also heard that Christina is now unable to do her own shopping and has to rely on help from her family.

The judge awarded Christina €60,000 compensation for being hit by a pallet trolley in Dunnes – allowing a stay to consider an appeal of the award provided that the store´s insurers paid Christina €45,000 and her legal costs immediately. The judge also stipulated that the decision about an appeal should be made quickly due to Christina´s age.

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.

Claim for Pony Trek Accident Compensation Resolved during Hearing

Posted on: April 25th, 2016

A claim for pony trek accident compensation, made by a woman unable to work for eight weeks because of her injuries, has been resolved during a hearing.

Thirty-five year old Maria Gray – a dentist from Belfast – was among a party of friends on a pony trek at Feeney’s Riding School in Galway on 15th July 2013 as part of a hen weekend. The trek started with a trot through nearby countryside and slowed as the party approached a steep downhill incline.

As the party descended the incline, the legs of Maria´s pony buckled and Maria fell from the saddle onto the hard tarmac surface. Maria sustained a cut chin – from which she still has a scar – and a wrist injury that prevented her from working as a dentist.

Maria made a claim for pony trek accident compensation against Gerard and Siobhan Feeney – the owners of the riding school. In her claim, Maria alleged that the pony she had been given to ride was unsuitably small for her 5 foot 8½ inches frame. She also alleged that she had not been instructed on how to ride the pony.

The Feeney´s contested the claim for pony trek accident compensation. They denied the pony was too small for Maria and that it was on its last legs and hungry due to having been used on another pony trek earlier in the day. They claimed that Maria had been offered a different pony to ride, but had declined, and been given inadequate instruction on how to ride a pony.

Without the Feeney´s consent to conduct an assessment, the Injuries Board issued Maria with an authorisation to pursue her claim for pony trek accident compensation through the courts process. Her case opened last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam.

At the hearing, Maria explained to the judge it was her belief that the pony had already been out on a trek earlier on that very hot day. Consequently it was hungry and kept stopping to eat grass. She also said that the pony was only suitable for a child under fourteen years of age because of its age.

The case was due to continue last Friday. However, prior to the hearing getting underway, Judge Fullam was told that the claim for pony trek accident compensation had been resolved following discussions and the case could be struck.

Court Settles Claim for Waitress Injury Compensation

Posted on: April 8th, 2016

A hearing of the High Court has settled a claim for waitress injury compensation, made by a woman who suffered a severe thumb injury when a jug shattered.

In December 2007, Sophie Caillaud – a French national with an address in Leitrim Village – suffered a deep laceration in her right thumb, when a glass jug she was filling at the luxury Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, Country Leitrim, shattered in her hand.

Forty-two year old Sophie, who was working as a waitress for the hotel at the time, had to undergo an operation to repair the soft damage tissue in her thumb, but has never been able to work as a waitress again as the thumb has never regained its strength.

After seeking legal advice, Sophie made a claim for waitress injury compensation against her former employer – Lough Rynn Castle Ltd. – and the two companies that manufactured and supplied the jugs to the hotel – Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd.

Sophie alleged in her claim for waitress injury compensation that the jugs used in the hotel were not fit for purpose, that other staff members in the restaurant previously suffered injuries due to the glass shattering and that the jugs should have been withdrawn from use.

The three defendants contested the legal action on the grounds of how much compensation was being claimed for Sophie´s injuries. The hotel also argued that Sophie had contributed to the cause of the accident due to her own negligence.

Consequently the claim for waitress accident compensation went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was presented with evidence that the joint between the thick handle and the thin glass of the jug was liable to be fragile if subjected to rapid heating and cooling – such as when used in a dishwasher.

When the defendants presented no evidence to contradict the expert evidence, Judge Cross found in Sophie´s favour – dismissing allegations that Sophie had contributed to the cause of her accident and was exaggerating her injuries and awarding her €500,000 in settlement of her claim for waitress accident compensation.

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.



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