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.

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members in the restaurant previously suffered injuries due to the glass shattering and that the jugs should have been withdrawn from use.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.

Judge Awards Compensation for Dislocating a Thumb in a Slip and Fall Accident

Posted on: February 3rd, 2016

A judge at the High Court has awarded a County Offaly woman €90,000 compensation for dislocating a thumb in a slip and fall accident.

On 28th May 2011, forty-four year old Sharon Kelly attended a birthday party at the Arc Café Bar in Dublin. Late into the evening, Sharon left her group of friends to visit the ladies toilet. However, as she walked across the parquet flooring in the bar´s lobby area on her way to the bathrooms, she slipped on some liquid on the floor and dislocated her thumb as she fell.

As well as several months of pain and suffering from her injury, Sharon now has a reduced pinch grip and has lost some of the sensation in the tip of her thumb. She claimed compensation for dislocating a thumb in a slip and fall accident from the owners of the Arc Café Bar, but consent to conduct an assessment of her injury was denied, and the Injuries Board issued Sharon with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr saw CCTV footage of Sharon´s accident and heard testimony from two witnesses that the toilets had been in poor condition that evening and complaints had been made to bar staff. Judge Barr dismissed arguments from the bar owners that Sharon´s accident was attributable to five hours of drinking and wearing four-inch heels.

The judge said that he was satisfied there was liquid on the parquet flooring where Sharon had slipped and fallen caused by a failure by the bar to monitor the floor surfaces. Awarding Sharon €90,000 compensation for dislocating a thumb in a slip and fall accident, Judge Barr said: “People cannot be expected to look at the floor when walking across a bar. [Sharon] was entitled to expect that the floor was dry and it was safe for her to walk across it.”

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

Posted on: January 2nd, 2016

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

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

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

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

Second Aer Lingus Scalding Injury Claim also in Mediation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Claim for Dunnes Slip and Fall Accident Compensation Settled for €23,000

Posted on: November 13th, 2015

An injured shopper´s claim for Dunnes slip and fall accident compensation has been settled for almost €23,000 after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

In November 2011, Anna Manning (60) from Clondalkin in Dublin was shopping at her local Dunnes Stores when she slipped on a loose potato wedge and fell. Although falling forward onto her hands and knees, and initially feeling alright, Anna had to attend her GP the following day due to pains in her neck and back.

Anna made a claim for Dunnes slip and fall accident compensation, but the store denied its liability and refused to consent to an Injuries Board assessment of her claim. Consequently Anna was issued with an assessment to pursue her claim through the court system.

Her case was heard recently at the Circuit Civil Court by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, who was told that Anna had a history of neck and back pains, and that they had been aggravated by her accident in Dunnes. The judge heard that Anna had also developed a pain in her wrist that affected her everyday quality of life.

Dunnes Stores continued to deny its liability for Anna´s injuries, and argued that she had been the author of her own misfortune by not looking where she had been going. However, the court was told that there had been a spillage of potato wedges in the same aisle shortly before Anna´s accident.

Judge Groarke found in Anna´s favour and awarded her €22,900 in settlement of her claim for Dunnes slip and fall accident compensation. He said that, on the balance of probabilities, the potato wedge on which Anna slipped had been a “brother or sister” of those that had been cleaned up earlier.

The judge added that Anna was a “very poor candidate” for a slip and fall in Dunnes Stores due to her previous medical history. He also rejected the claim by the store that Anna had contributed to the cause of the accident and refused to reduce the award on the grounds of contributory negligence.

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

Posted on: November 2nd, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Injury Compensation for Cutting Hand on Glass in Bar Awarded in Court

Posted on: October 20th, 2015

The Circuit Civil Court has awarded a painter €20,000 injury compensation for cutting his hand on a glass in a bar after a hearing to establish liability.

On 18th September 2011, David O´Keeffe was among a large group of friends who were watching the All Ireland Football Final in the Woolshed Baa & Grill on Parnell Street in Dublin. At the end of the game, David tried to manoeuvre through the packed bar to go to the bathrooms, but he slipped on the wet floor and fell backwards, cutting his left hand on a piece of glass that was on the floor.

David was helped to his feet by a staff member, and taken behind the bar where First Aid was administered. Two days later, due to the ongoing pain in his left hand, David attended the Accident & Emergency Department of St James´ Hospital, where the cut was cleaned properly and stitched.

After seeking legal advice, David made a claim for injury compensation for cutting his hand on glass in a bar against the Woolshed Baa & Grill. In his claim, David alleged that the bar had allowed uncollected glasses to stack up, which had likely fallen over and smashed. He also claimed that spilled drinks remained unattended to and that the bar was liable for his injury due to its negligence.

The owners of the Woolshed Baa & Grill denied that they were liable for David´s injuries, and contested his claim for injury compensation for cutting his hand on glass in a bar. They said that glasses had been collected and any spillages cleaned up, and that David´s injuries were due to his friends unsuccessfully trying to lift him up while he had a glass in his hand.

As the owners of the bar failed to consent to an Injuries Board assessment of the claim, David was issued with an authorisation to pursue injury compensation for cutting his hand on a glass in a bar through the courts. The hearing to establish liability was conducted last week before Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

At the hearing, Judge Linnane was told that the bar had followed its cleaning procedures on the day in question and that an accident report had been filled out at the time of David´s injury, but that the bar was unable to locate it. Judge Linnane said that she accepted David´s version of events as the bar had been packed “to the point that one would not have been able to see that the floor was wet”.

The judge found in David´s favour and awarded him €20,000 injury compensation for cutting his hand on a glass in a bar.

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

Posted on: October 13th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Settlement Agreed in Claim for Injuries Caused by a Dunnes Sauce

Posted on: October 8th, 2015

A claim for injuries caused by a Dunnes sauce, made by a woman who found shards of glass in a marinade, has been settled for an undisclosed amount.

On 13th September 2013, Amy Holden (22) from Ballybrack in County Dublin bit into a marinated pork chop that had been purchased the previous day from the Dunnes Stores in Cornelscourt and, while chewing the meat, felt a sharp pain in her mouth.

On removing the meat, Amy discovered shards of glass in the marinade sauce. As she was bleeding from the cuts in her mouth, Amy went to the Emergency Department of St Colmcille´s Hospital in Loughlinstown; where she was administered a tetanus injection and was x-rayed.

Despite the x-ray revealing no internal damage, Amy was advised to seek further medical attention if she started feeling any pain in her stomach or started vomiting. Amy later developed a sore throat, but fortunately nothing of greater severity.

Amy made a claim for injuries caused by a Dunnes sauce and, as the claim involved an issue of public liability, Amy´s first action was to make an application for assessment to the Injuries Board. Dunnes Stores denied that it was liable for Amy´s injuries, and the Injuries Board issued an authorisation so that Amy could pursue her legal action through the courts.

Amy´s solicitor calculated the value of Amy´s claim for injuries caused by a Dunnes sauce at €60,000, so the case was scheduled to be heard at the High Court. However, prior to the start of the hearing, the court was informed that the claim had been settled by negotiation and could be struck out.

No details were released about the out-of-court settlement of Amy´s claim for injuries caused by a Dunnes sauce, other than the claim was settled without an admission of liability by Dunnes Stores.

High Court Compensation Awards Rise by 34% in 2014

Posted on: September 23rd, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Halves Compensation for a Tooth Injury Caused by Eating Airport Food

Posted on: August 4th, 2015

A District Court judge has halved an award of compensation for a tooth injury caused by eating airport food to account for his own contributory negligence.

In March 2013, thirty-two year old Shane McQuillan from Swords in County Dublin purchased the ingredients for a sausage and bacon sandwich from the Gate Clock Bar at Dublin Airport; but, as he bit into the sandwich, he fractured his upper right back molar on a tough piece of bacon rind.

Alleging that his injury was attributable to the rasher of bacon having been left on display for hours – causing the rind on it to solidify – Shane claimed compensation for a tooth injury caused by eating airport food. The bar denied responsibility for his injury, and the Injuries Board issued Shane with an authorisation to pursue his claim for compensation through the court system.

Last week at the District Court in Swords, Judge Patricia McNamara was told Shane believed the food at the bar had been left out for a number of hours on a steel tray placed on top of a pan of steaming water. The judge also heard that Shane still suffers occasional pain from the fractured tooth and cannot drink cold drinks.

The manager of the Gate Clock Bar testified that the food is changed every ninety minutes, but she could not produce records to support her claim. It was also alleged that Shane should be considered responsible for his own injuries because he continued to create and eat his sandwich when he believed the rasher of bacon to be stale.

As records could not be produced to support the restaurant manager´s claim that the food was changed every ninety minutes, Judge McNamara found in Shane´s favour. Initially she awarded Shane €6,500 in general damages for his pain and suffering, and €2,500 in special damages, but then commented that Shane “should have been careful of a crispy rasher rind” and assigned him 50 percent contributory negligence – reducing the award of compensation for a tooth injury caused by eating airport food to €4,500.

Dunnes Stores Found Liable in Injury Claim for Trip and Fall in a Shop

Posted on: July 9th, 2015

Dunnes Stores have been found liable for an injury to a pensioner at a hearing into her injury claim for a trip and fall in a shop at the High Court in Cork.

On 2nd July 2013, Bernadette O´Leary (77) was shopping in the Dunnes Stores in Clonakilty in Cork, hoping to find a waterproof canopy to cover her stall at the weekly farmers market where she sells homemade cakes and other food items.

Having found a gazebo that she thought may be suitable, Bernadette asked a shop assistant if the canopy was waterproof. The shop assistant said that he would find out, and told Bernadette to follow him as he walked off to find a colleague.

As Bernadette followed the shop assistant into the next aisle, she tripped over a fold-away deckchair that had been left in the aisle waiting to be positioned on a shelf. Bernadette fell awkwardly and broke her hip when she landed on the floor.

An ambulance was summoned, and Bernadette was taken to hospital – where she spent forty-eight hours on a trolley until a bed became available. After being discharged, Bernadette sought legal advice and made an injury claim for a trip and fall in a shop.

In her claim, Bernadette alleged that Dunnes Stores was in breach of its own safety statement which read that goods should not be left in an aisle to form a risk to safety. However, Dunnes denied liability for Bernadette´s injury and argued that she should have looked where she was going.

The injury claim for a trip and fall in a shop went to the High Court in Cork, where it was heard by Mr Justice Henry Abbot. After reviewing a CCTV video of the accident and hearing arguments from both sides, the judge found that Dunnes Stores were liable for Bernadette´s injury.

Agreeing with Bernadette´s counsel that “the defendant had invited the plaintiff into the path of a hazard on which she fell and was injured”, Mr Justice Henry Abbot awarded Bernadette €137,000 compensation in settlement of her injury claim for a trip and fall in a shop.

Judge Awards Compensation for a Sunbed Accident on Holiday in Italy

Posted on: June 19th, 2015

A judge at the Dublin High Court has awarded a man more than €40,000 compensation for a sunbed accident on holiday after ruling that the accident was “foreseeable”.

Seventy-two year old Vincent Reid from Lisburn in County Antrim was enjoying the fourth day of a week´s package holiday at the Hotel Savoy Palace in Lake Garda, Italy, when on August 29th 2012 he sat on a sunbed by the pools with the intention of reading his newspaper.

As Vincent leaned back on the sunbed, the arm mechanism caught the middle finger of his right hand and sliced the top of the finger off. Vincent received emergency treatment at a local hospital in Lake Garda and his finger remained in a splint for twelve weeks after his return home.

As the package holiday in Italy had been booked through the Dublin travel company Topflight Ltd, Vincent claimed compensation for a sunbed accident on holiday through the Injuries Board. Topflight Ltd denied that it was liable for Vincent´s accident as the collapse of the sunbed could not have been foreseen.

As the Injuries Board was unable to assess Vincent´s claim for compensation for a sunbed accident on holiday, he was issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim through the courts, and last week his case came before Mr Justice Michael Hanna at the High Court in Dublin.

At the hearing, it was explained to Judge Hanna that the arm mechanism on the poolside sunbed should have been locked into place before Vincent leaned back on it. The judge also heard that a similar accident had occurred to another Irish guest at the resort just a few days earlier.

Judge Hanna dismissed the travel company´s defence that Vincent´s accident could not have been foreseen because the fact that the sunbed would collapse if the arm mechanisms were not fully engaged must have been known to the staff at the resort.

As organisers of the holiday package, Judge Hanna found Topflight Ltd in breach of the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act of 1995. After hearing that Vincent still had pain and limited movement in his middle right-hand finger which prevented him from pursuing his hobbies of gardening and DIY, the judge awarded him €40,796 compensation for a sunbed accident on holiday.

Compensation Claim for an Accident in a Health Club Resolved at Court

Posted on: May 13th, 2015

A compensation claim for an accident in a health club has been resolved at a court hearing, after which the plaintiff was awarded €30,000 compensation.

Thirty year old Timea Babos – a hotel supervisor from Dublin – was on a visit to the West Wood Health Club when, on 13th November 2011, she decided to go for a swim in the club´s pool after coming out of the sauna. Only intending to swim a few lengths, Timea dived straight into the swimming pool. However, the depth of the water in the pool was only 1 metre 35 centimetres and Timea hit her face on the bottom when she dived in.

Timea broke her two upper front teeth when she hit the floor of the swimming pool and – as there was nobody around to help her – she had to make her way to the club´s reception alone to report her accident and complete an accident report form. With her mouth still bleeding from the accident, Timea attended her doctor´s surgery, where she was treated for her injuries and prescribed painkillers.

Two weeks later, Timea flew to Hungary to have crowns fitted to her broken teeth and on her return she sought legal advice from a solicitor. Timea then made a compensation claim for an accident in a health club; but the West Wood Health Club denied its liability for her injuries and contested the claim on the grounds that Timea had been negligent by diving into a swimming pool without first checking it was safe to do so.

With liability denied, the Injuries Board issued Timea with an authorisation to pursue her compensation claim for an accident in a health club through the courts; and this week the case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court before Judge Jacqueline Linnane.

Judge Linnane was told by a forensic engineer that there were inadequate markings around the perimeter of the swimming pool to warn guests that it was unsafe to dive in. He also commented that the swimming pool was unusual in design as it had a constant depth throughout and had no deep end.

After dismissing the West Wood Health Club´s argument that Timea had contributed to her accident through her own lack of care, Judge Linnane awarded Timea €30,000 in settlement of her compensation claim for an accident in a health club.

Dublin Airport Accident Compensation Awarded to Sixty-Nine Year Old Pensioner

Posted on: May 1st, 2015

A High Court judge has awarded a pensioner €40,000 Dublin Airport accident compensation after assigning her one-third liability towards her injuries.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna heard that Elizabeth Lavin from Kilcullen in County Kildare had been taking the escalator to the upper level of Dublin Airport´s Terminal 2 on November 2nd 2011 when the escalator made a sudden judder.

Due to what the judge later described as “an unfortunate neophyte in the ways of escalators,” Sixty-nine year old Elizabeth lost her balance and fell forwards over her hand luggage – landing on the metal stairs of the escalator on her face.

Instead of boarding a flight to Manchester as Elizabeth had intended, she was taken to Dublin´s Beaumont Hospital, where she was treated for a head injury and minor lacerations. Elizabeth still has facial scars as a result of her accident, including one on her bottom lip.

Due to pains in her head, arm, hip and knee, Elizabeth was unable to perform everyday household tasks. She tried to manage the pain by taking painkillers, but eventually had to be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon.

Elizabeth made a Dublin Airport accident injury claim to the Injuries Board, but Dublin Airport Authority PLC denied liability for her injuries. The Injuries Board issued Elizabeth with an authorisation to pursue the claim through the court system, and the case was heard this past week.

At the hearing, Judge Hanna heard allegations that Dublin Airport had failed in its duty of care to ensure the safety of passengers. It was claimed that the airport authority had been negligent when designing the airport so that the escalator on which Elizabeth fell was the only apparent way in which passengers with luggage could access the upper level of Terminal 2.

In its defence of the Dublin Airport accident claim, the airport authority argued that Elizabeth was the architect of her own misfortune. It produced CCTV footage which showed Elizabeth failing to hold onto the handrail of the escalator and placing her hand luggage in front of her, instead of behind her. The authority also said that a lift was available to passengers with luggage, but admitted that signs directing passengers to the lift were not erected until 2013 – two years after Elizabeth´s accident.

Judge Hanna ruled in Elizabeth´s favour – saying that she could not be held responsible for the actions of the escalator, for failing to hold onto the handrail of the escalator or placing her hand luggage in front of her. However, according to the judge, Elizabeth could have asked an airport assistant if a lift was available if she had been apprehensive about using the escalator.

The judge reduced the settlement of compensation Elizabeth´s Dublin Airport accident claim from €60,000 to €40,000, saying that she would have to take one-third liability towards her injuries. He also gave Dublin Airport Authority PLC permission to appeal the decision provided that they paid €25,000 of the settlement immediately.

High Court Hears Claim for an Injury due to Slipping and Falling in a Hotel Lobby

Posted on: April 15th, 2015

The High Court has been hearing evidence in a claim for an injury due to slipping and falling in a hotel lobby on Easter Sunday in 2009.

Benjamin Stanley (67) – former council worker and farmer – sustained his injury on 12th April 2009 while attending a dance at the Castle Arms Hotel in Durrow, County Laois. According to his testimony in court, Benjamin had been dancing with several ladies after dinner and, when they said they wanted to leave, he escorted them to their car.

On his return to the hotel, Benjamin decided to visit the bathroom. As he walked across the lobby of the Castle Arms Hotel, he slipped and fell. Unaware of any injury, Benjamin continue to enjoy the evening; but, after driving himself back to his home in Birr, County Offaly, he started to feel an intense pain in his shoulder.

A doctor was called and Benjamin was diagnosed with a torn tendon in his shoulder – one which ultimately required surgery to repair. Still in pain, Benjamin consulted a solicitor and made a claim for an injury due to slipping and falling in a hotel lobby – alleging that his accident was attributable to a failure to properly monitor and control the condition of the floor.

Seosamh Murphy and Dal Riada Taverns Ltd – respectively the owner and licensee of the Castle Arms Hotel – denied their liability for Benjamin´s accident and injury. They testified at the High Court hearing that the floor was checked every two hours by hotel employees, and asserted that Benjamin had been rushing when he made his way to the bathroom and he was the victim of his own misfortune.

During his cross-examination, Benjamin denied that he had been rushing, or – as it had been alleged – he had been drinking during the course of the evening. He said that he definitely felt something under his shoe when he slipped and it was that which was the cause of his injury.

Unable to reach a verdict in one day, Mr Justice Anthony Barr adjourned the claim for an injury due to slipping and falling in a hotel lobby.

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

Posted on: April 2nd, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Compensation for Personal Injuries in a Shop Accident Says Judge

Posted on: March 6th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Undisclosed Settlement of Compensation for a Slip on a Wet Step Agreed during Hearing

Posted on: October 10th, 2014

An undisclosed settlement of compensation for a slip on a wet step has been agreed midway through a hearing at the High Court.

The compensation claim for a slip on a wet step was brought by William Busteed from Cork City, who was leaving his council-owned property on May 9th 2009 to get into a taxi for the airport to catch a flight to Majorca.

As he started to descend the stairway in his six apartment complex, William slipped on a wet step and fell to the bottom of the stairs – sustaining injuries to his face and shoulder and fracturing his left arm. The taxi waiting to take William to the airport instead took him to Cork University Hospital, where William was treated.

Fifty-nine year old William made a claim for injury compensation for a slip on a wet step against his landlords – Cork City Council – alleging that the council had failed to attend to a faulty smoke alarm which caused vents above the stairway to open and allow the rain to enter. The council denied its liability, and William was given an authorisation to take his claim to court.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Daniel Herbert heard Cork City Council argue that it was not to blame for William´s injuries as they had attended each of his complaints in the past in good time. The council´s legal representative produced William´s medical records at the time of his admission to Cork University Hospital which showed alcohol and cannabis in his blood and prompted defence counsel to claim William was intoxicated, and that was the reason for his slip.

William denied that he had been drunk on the day in question, and told the Judge that he had only drunk two small bottles of beer that day because he was aware that airlines could refuse boarding to passengers who were drunk. He also claimed that he had never smoked cannabis prior to his accident and that the entry in the medical record must be a mistake. William´s solicitor said he was prepared to call the author of the report if necessary.

Mr Justice Daniel Herbert adjourned proceedings at the end of day one, to be continued the following morning. However, before the hearing could start on day two, Judge Herbert was informed that William had agreed to a settlement of compensation for a slip on a wet step and that the case could be struck out.

Compensation Claims for Hepatitis A in Frozen Berries Likely to Follow New Warning

Posted on: September 10th, 2014

Compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries are likely to follow a new warning from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland that imported frozen berries should be boiled for at least one minute before eating them or using them in cooking.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland recommended boiling the frozen fruit after an increase in patients being diagnosed with hepatitis A was identified by the National Virus Reference Laboratory, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and the Health Service Executive.

The alert follows a similar one last year after ten patients in Ireland were diagnosed with the hepatitis A – five of which were directly linked to imported frozen berries. The number of hepatitis A cases has now risen to twenty-one, and the FSAI is keen to warn the public of the risks of the contaminated food to prevent the number of illnesses increasing.

Risk of Infection from Berries Already in the Food Chain

The chief executive of the FSAI – Professor Alan Reilly – was quick to point out that the risk of developing hepatitis A was only from imported frozen berries, and not from fresh berries or those cultivated in Ireland – although he also commented that all fruits should be washed before eating them.

Professor Reilly also highlighted the threat of contracting hepatitis A from frozen berries when they have been used as ingredients in mass-produced food products used by the catering industry. He recommended that catering companies should source any frozen berries they use in their products from reputable suppliers that have food safety management systems in place.

The Symptoms of Hepatitis A

The new alert over the health risk will alarm many people who regularly consume frozen berries as part of their diet – especially as the incubation period of the virus can be several weeks before the symptoms manifest. Hepatitis A is a virus which attacks the liver and results in victims feeling nauseous, experiencing a loss of appetite, abdominal pains, and a fever.

The symptoms usually last between one and two weeks, although they could persist for several months in the young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Unfortunately there is no cure for hepatitis A, but if you are experiencing these symptoms you should seek medical attention as soon as possible (hepatitis A is not contagious provided that a high standard of hygiene is maintained).

Compensation Claims for Hepatitis A in Frozen Berries

If your doctor subsequently diagnoses you with the virus, it is possible to make compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries against the retails outlet from which the berries were purchased. Ideally you will have retained the receipt of your purchase from when the berries were bought, but this is not always necessary for compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries to be successful.

The best course of action is to speak with a solicitor to establish whether you are eligible to make compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries. You should advise the solicitor of the symptoms you have been experiencing, the diagnosis that have been made by your doctor and the consequences of the illness on your quality of life and ability to work. It will also help the swift resolution of your claim if you are aware of any other victims of hepatitis A who purchased frozen berries from the same source as you did.



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.