Whiplash Injury in Ireland

If you have sustained a whiplash injury in Ireland due to the negligence of another road user, you are entitled to make a claim for whiplash compensation. Although claims for whiplash injury in Ireland are the most common form of personal injury claim submitted to the Injuries Board for assessment, you should still engage the services of a personal injury solicitor to ensure that you receive your maximum entitlement to whiplash injury compensation in Ireland. Speak with one of our professional and courteous solicitors for impartial and accurate advice about claiming compensation for whiplash injury in Ireland.

Revised Whiplash Injury Compensation Award of €41,000 For Woman

Posted on: August 21st, 2020

A woman has had her personal injury compensations award in relation to the whiplash injuries she sustained in a road traffic accident revised to €41,000 by the Court of Appeal.

The decision was made at a hearing this week to review that car accident compensation award of approximately €70,000 which received High Court Approval in December 2019. Following a hearing at the time Emma McKeown was awarded the damages due to the injuries she experienced in a road traffic accident that occured a number of years earlier.

The defendants in the case, Alan Crosby and Mary Vocella, opted to appeal the amount of compensation was approved at the High Court.

Having considered the details of the case Court of Appeal Judge Justice Seamus Noonan said that the amount of whiplash injury compensation that was awarded in the case was excessive. he said this despite referrer that he was of the opinion that Emma McKeown was honest and at no point in time sought to overstate the suffering that she endured.

Justice Noonan said: “Taking into account all the relevant factors to which I have referred in the context of the proportionality of the award in this case, I am satisfied that by any reasonable measure it cannot be viewed as proportionate. It is not proportionate when viewed against the measure of the maximum for the most serious injuries. The cost of (motor, public or employer’s liability) insurance is for most ordinary people and businesses, a significant outgoing. The extent to which awards by courts influence that cost is in recent times, a matter of widespread public discourse, debate and dispute.

In addition to this Justice Noonan spoke out against the fact that the levels of award can vary greatly depending on the trial judge assigned to hear each case. He said: “Whatever the reality may be, it is clear that awards made by the courts have an impact on society as a whole and the courts are mindful of that fact. Ultimately each member of society must bear the cost of a compensation system whether through the payment of insurance premia in the case of private defendants or taxes in the case of public defendants. Society thus has a direct interest in the level of awards. Frequently, the identity of the trial judge would not be known until moments before the case actually commenced, resulting in varying outcomes depending on the ‘draw’. It is clear that this has the potential for injustice. It cannot be fair to either plaintiff or defendant that the value of their case depends on the identity of the trial judge.”

Lastly Justice Noonon said that there should be no luck involved in the awarding of compensation settlements that can impact the insurance premiums of all people. He said: “Personal injury litigation should not be a lottery and plaintiffs and defendants alike are entitled to reasonable consistency and predictability. This is particularly important in the context of injuries which fall at the lower end of the spectrum as these constitute the vast bulk of cases, most commonly involving soft tissue, or ‘whiplash’ injuries.”



Librarian Awarded €60k Compensation for Crash Involving Former BoI Governor

Posted on: January 22nd, 2019

A car crash compensation settlement of €60,000 has been approved in the Circuit Civil Court between a 64-year-old librarian and the former Bank of Ireland Governor Laurence Crowley after the latter admitted liability for road traffic accident that occurred in August 2015.

The librarian, Richard Barrett who has an address at Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin, submitted the personal injury compensation action against Mr Crowley and O’Flaherty Holdings Limited (the registered owners of the car) as a result of the injuries he suffered in the car crash at Monkstown Crescent, Dublin.

The court sitting was scheduled to hear Mr Barrett’s testimony regarding his injuries following the incident and the medical reports. Mr Crowley was not in the Circuit Civil Court for the legal proceedings. Mr Barratt advised presiding Judge Mr Justice Groarke that he had experienced shock and trauma due to the collision. Mr Barrett had a prior history of suffering from anxiety disorder and the accident brought on subsequent attacks. Mr Barrett was taken to the emergency department of St Vincent’s University Hospital where Dr Nigel Salter, consultant in emergency medicine, treated him. Mr Barrett told Justice Groarke that he did not suffer any bone fractures due to the car collision in Monkstown. Despite this he was still prescribed a course of anti-inflammatory and pain killing medication to tackle injuries on his chest and abdomen.

Mr Crowley had been driving the Mercedes 300 car in a negligent fashion when the crash took place according to the allegations of Mr Barrett. Mr Barrett informed the Judge that on August 29th 2015 he was a passenger in a vehicle when a car driven by Mr Crowley came out from a minor road and crashed into the car he was in. Mr Barrett said that he was of the opinion that Mr Crowley was driving at an excessive speed and that the driver had not shown an appropriate level of awareness for other road users.

Mr Barratt’s legal representative in the Circuit Civil Court, Barrister Ivan Daly appearing with HJ Ward Solicitors, told Judge Justice Raymond Groarke that there had been an acceptance of liability by the defendants. Due to this, and following an assessment of damages, there had been an agreement to settle the case which could now be struck out with an order for costs.


Car Crash Involving 8 People Leads to Compensation Claims of Almost €500k

Posted on: January 21st, 2019

Following a car crash involving eight Polish people where two cars collided on an approach to a roundabout at Lusk, Co Dublin – personal injury claims totalling up to approximately €500,000 were lodged on Monday

Arkadiusz Rokicki (23);  Daniel Kutszal (24) and his sister, Majal Kutszal (34), all with addresses in the village of Lusk, suffered injuries when they were passengers in a car crash. The car was being driven by the defendant Dariusz Chudyk who is now living in Poland but was indemnified through his insurance policy with Axa.

Legal counsel for the claimants, Barrister Paul Gallagher who was appearing with Robert Anderson of Anderson and Gallagher Solicitors, informed the court they were injured when Mr Chudyk’s car crashed into the back of another vehicle as he was driving near a roundabout in Lusk. It was alleged that all of the claimants had suffered whiplash injuries as a result of the crash.

Mr Gallagher told the court that each of his clients had experienced pain and stiffness to the neck and in their lower back following the road traffic accident and had been prescribed medication to deal with the pain.

Judge Groarke said he was satisfied the accident was a genuine one and that there was no question left in his mind other than that it was a genuine accident and the claimants were equally authentic. He said: “There is nothing in that evidence to compel me to accept that these people do know one another or that there is any association between them. I don’t blame the insurance company for adopting a very defensive attitude to this case which had the hallmarks of something that warrants that degree of investigation.  Every case of this nature warrants a degree of investigation.”

Judge Groarke awarded each claimant damages of €10,000 with District Court costs due to the extent of their injuries.  There are still five remaining car accident compensation actions to be heard due to this accident. Each claimant is also suing for personal injury compensation of €60,000 amounting to a total compensation claim value of €480,000.

More than 100 Tram-Surfing Incidents Recorded by Irish Rail and Luas in last 4 Years

Posted on: December 2nd, 2018

Irish Rail and the operators of the the Luas have revealed that there have been in excess of 110 incidents of tram or train ‘surfing’ officially recorded by Irish Rail and on Luas in the last four years.

Tram surfing involves an individual clinging to the outside of a carriage as it leaves a station. The activity came to public attention earlier in 2018 when, in October, 20-year-old Rebecca Kelly was awarded €550,000 in compensation after sustaining a significant brain injury when she fell from a Luas carriage that she was clinging on to when she was a teenager.

At the time Ms Kelly banged her head on the tracks when she fell from the Luas carriage. She had to be dragged out of the way of an oncoming tram.

Recently, a Freedom of Information request has shown that there have been 35 cases of tram surfing recorded on Luas services since 2014.

Ms Dervla Brophy, spokesperson for Transdev, said: “Tram surfing can be fatal. We have had a very small number of incidents of people trying to ‘scut’ and all staff are trained to be vigilant, observe and report. The public have reported [cases] too. Any activity or even potential concern that is reported – trams will be stopped, security and or gardai called. The risk of serious injury is very high.”

She went on to say: “We show CCTV of various incidents that have occurred along the lines. The purpose is to request parents know where their kids are and if they are on the lines, they’re aware just how dangerous their playground might be.”

A different Freedom of Information request resulted in Irish Rail making public figures listing 87 incidents of train surfing since 2016. In the last three years 12 incidents were recorded on the Northern commuter route connecting Dublin and Dundalk. All of these incidents took place on the connections provided by the Dart commuter service.

Barry Kenny, Irish Rail spokesperson said: “On board staff, station staff and security personnel are vigilant in ensuring we respond with security or garda support. Extra security patrols this year are yielding a reduction in the number of incidents.”

Irish Rail said it had has made changes to the Dart fleet of 76 carriages during refurbishment to try and make headlight units more difficult to grasp onto and bring an end to this activity.

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

Posted on: July 17th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted on: July 4th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: April 18th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: December 6th, 2017

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

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

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

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

Alternatively it calls for the establishment of a uniform approach for medical staff dealing with whiplash injuries. At present, there is no specific accreditation required or benchmark standard for a doctor wanting to complete a medico-legal report on a personal injury claim in Ireland. In essence, it states that doctors should adopt a standardised approach to diagnosing, treating and reporting on soft tissue injuries, which are mostly whiplash related.

In particular it recommended that the Quebec Task Force Whiplash Associated Disorder grading scale should be implemented by medical professionals reporting on relevant injuries. This scale is based on the severity of symptoms and associated physical indicators. It states “Training and accreditation in soft tissue reporting is agreed as being the best practice requirement for those wishing to complete relevant reports”.

The belief is that a self-testing element by the injured party should also be adapted to assess compensation and damages.

The commission, chaired by Judge Nicholas Kearns, also called on insurance companies to publish details on the incidence of whiplash injuries. This could be an integral part of the National Claims Information Database currently being developed by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Justice Kearns stated that such dissemination of information on whiplash injuries would improve the personal injuries compensation environment in Ireland by encouraging ‘an objective standard’ for reviewing whiplash injuries. He added that, going forward, reports will look at comparative systems and bench marking compensation award levels globally.

He stated: “Preliminary findings suggest that the frequency of soft-tissue injury claims in Ireland would app-ear to be significantly higher than a lot of other European countries. It remains to be determined whether this could be a contributing factor in terms of claims frequency or exaggeration.”

Sisters´ Emotional Injury Compensation Settlement Approved

Posted on: October 5th, 2017

Two sisters, who escaped physical injury in a rear-end car accident, have had their emotional injury compensation settlement approved at the Circuit Court.

On 11th February 2016, the two girls – aged six years and four years at the time of the accident – were in the back seat of the family car, when it was rear-ended by a negligent driver on the Newcastle Road in Lucan, Dublin. The negligent driver admitted liability for causing the accident.

The two girls were examined by the family´s GP the following day, but no physical injuries were identified. However, shortly after the accident, the older of the two girls complained of having a headache and both sisters started showing symptoms of panic when large vehicles passed the car.

A subsequent review of their condition resulted in both girls being diagnosed with “a mild effect on the mental health” – the older girl in particular due to experiencing worry, panic and hyperventilation while travelling in the family car, especially close to where the accident had occurred.

On their behalf, the girls´ mother made an emotional injury compensation claim against the driver of the negligent vehicle and, on the advice of her solicitor, accepted an offer of settlement amounting to €33,000. As the claim had been made on behalf of plaintiffs unable to represent themselves, the emotional injury compensation settlement had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident, the nature of the girls´ injuries and the fact that they had only missed one day from school as a result of the accident in order to be examined by the family´s GP.

The judge also heard the girls´ mother was satisfied with the amount offered and that the emotional injury compensation settlement was to be divided equally between the sisters. Approving the settlement, Judge Groarke ordered that it be paid into court funds until the girls reach the age of eighteen years.

Car Crash Injury Settlements Upheld after Court Hearing

Posted on: August 2nd, 2017

Seven car crash injury settlements, originally awarded by Buncrana Circuit Court in 2015, have been upheld after a hearing of the High Court.

On June 28th 2011, a two-car accident on a roundabout in Lifford, County Donegal, result in seven men suffering soft tissue injuries. The injured men claimed car crash injury compensation against the driver of the vehicle of the vehicle responsible for causing the accident, and against Ryans Investments NI Ltd – trading as Hertz Rent-a-Car – from whom the negligent driver´s car was rented.

In 2015, the seven men were awarded car crash injury settlements of between €5,050 and €9,550 by Buncrana Circuit Court. Ryans Investment NI Ltd appealed the decision, arguing that the injured men were all known to the negligent driver and that the accident had been fabricated with the sole purpose of extracting injury compensation from the company´s insurers.

The appeal was heard last month at the High Court before Mr Justice Charles Meenan. Judge Meenan was told by barristers representing Ryans Investments that the negligent driver had telephoned one of the injured men when returning the hire car to the Derry Hertz office, and that his tone during the telephone conversation had led to the belief the accident was fabricated.

Further investigation by the company´s insurers discovered the negligent driver and plaintiffs were known to each other through their membership of the Joseph Plunkett and Charlie D’Arcy Societies. The insurance company also alleged the plaintiffs had considerably exaggerated the nature, extent, and effects of their various injuries to maximise the value of their car crash injury settlements.

Judge Meenan reserved his decision until earlier this week, when he upheld the car crash injury settlements awarded by the Buncrana Circuit Court. The judge commented that Ryans Investment´s appeal was based on an overhead telephone conversation the negligent driver had made in order to obtain details of the car he had damaged in the accident.

He said “one would have thought, if the collision was a setup, the information sought [by the negligent driver] in the call would already have been firmly fixed in his mind prior to returning the hire car.” He added: “This information would be an essential part of the whole operation.”

Passengers Injury Claims for a Rear End Accident Resolved in Court

Posted on: November 5th, 2015

A driver´s and two passengers´ injury claims for a rear end accident have been resolved at a hearing of the Limerick Circuit Court.

On 18th October 2011, Mary O´Reilly was driving Lisa O´Reilly, Caitriona McDonagh and Breda McCarthy in her husband´s SUV from Charleville in County Cork to Rathkeale. As the SUV approached a roundabout on the outskirts of Rathkeale it was rear-ended by a rental van driver by Jeremiah O´Brien.

Although Mary and her three female passengers initially appeared to be uninjured, each started to experience pains in their heads, arms and backs consistent with a whiplash injury in the days following the accident. After seeking medical advice, Mary claimed compensation from O´Brien, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).

Lisa O´Reilly, Caitriona McDonagh and Breda McCarthy also made passengers injury claims for a rear end accident and Mary´s husband – William O´Reilly – claimed compensation for the damage to his vehicle. However, Enterprise rent-a-Car and the MIBI denied their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of the claims.

The defendants alleged that Mary´s and the passengers injury claims for a rear end accident did not stand up to scrutiny. They claimed that Jeremiah O´Brien and William O´Reilly were known to each other, and that when the Gardai attended the scene of the accident, no property damage was recorded. Furthermore, Mary and one of her passengers had made several personal injury claims in the past.

The case went to the Limerick Circuit Court to be resolved, where Judge Karen Fergus was told that, although William O´Reilly´s parents had lived close to Jeremiah O´Brien´s parents, the two men had only met once before. Furthermore, as one of the plaintiffs – Lisa O´Reilly – had settled her claim out of court, and a second – Caitriona McDonagh – had experienced severe difficulties during a pregnancy due to her injuries, the judge found in the plaintiffs´ favour.

Judge Fergus awarded Mary O´Reilly €7,500 for the neck and back injuries she had sustained in the accident and the two passengers injury claims for a rear end accident were settled for €10,000 (Caitriona McDonagh) and €12,000 (Breda McCarthy). The judge also awarded William O´Reilly €4,800 for the damage to his vehicle.

Insurers Penalised after Rear-End Accident Injury Claim Withdrawn

Posted on: June 20th, 2012

The insurance company, AXA, has been ordered to pay aggravated damages to a man injured by their client in a rear-end accident after a claim of collusion was not pursued in court.

Mr Justice Matthew Deery ordered the insurance company to pay the additional damages after they and their client – Gary Reilly, of Ballyfermot, County Dublin – withdrew an affidavit alleging collusion between the injured party – James O’Sullivan, of Clane, County Kildare – and another witness for the defence.

The judge heard that James O´Sullivan had made a claim for personal injury compensation after he was rear-ended by a taxi driven by Reilly in Eirhouse, County Dublin, in September 2008. However, Reilly and his insurers defended the claim by alleging that O´Sullivan had colluded with a defence witness to gain support for his claim.

The allegations of collusion were not brought up at the court hearing, and Mr Justice Matthew Deery was critical of the way in which AXA Insurance and Reilly had handled their defence.   The judge ordered the insurance company and Reilly to jointly and severally pay O´Sullivan 3,000 Euros damages for their rear-end accident claim of collusion in addition to a settlement of 7,750 Euros for whiplash injury compensation which was made against the AXA insurance company.

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.