Work Injury in Ireland

In order to claim compensation for work injury in Ireland, it has to be established that you or a loved one suffered an injury due to the negligence of an employer or person who had responsibility for providing you with a safe environment in which to work. Making compensation claims for work injury in Ireland should have no effect on your working relationship with your employer, but in order to ensure your employment protection, you are advised to discuss the circumstances of your work injury in Ireland with one of our professional and courteous solicitors.

Night Club Assault by Girlfriend’s Brother Results in €4,000 Workplace Compensation for Garda

Posted on: October 16th, 2018

A Garda has been awarded €4,000 workplace injury compensation after being attacked by his now brother-in-law outside a Letterkenny nightclub.

Garda Fintan Smith told High Court Judge Justice Michael Twomey that he was headbutted by the individual causing him to suffer a black eye and nose bleed. He added that following the initial attack he was sitting in the front of the Garda car when the same person, who was restrained in handcuffs in the in the rear seat, kicked him to the side of the head.

The Judge was informed that Garda Smith no longer has anything to do with his now brother-in-law, despite having ideal relations with the rest of his in-laws. Earlier this year he married the man’s sister and, despite being invited he (the assailant) his not turn up to the event. Due to the incident Garda Smith tries to avoid any family occasion if he knows that his brother-in-law is planning to be in attendance.

Legal counsel for Garda Smith, Ms Fiona Crawford, told the High Court her client had been unfortunate to have sustained an injured nose. Subsequent X-rays had revealed that Garda Smith had not suffered a bone injury.

The incident, the High Court was told, had lead to a significant amount of stress between Garda Smith and his partner. Due to the attack he missed a month of work due to the embarrassment caused. He then sought, and received, a transfer from Letterkenny to Ballybofey Garda Station. The entire episode caused Garda Smith to feel a lot of anger. He told the Judge that his now brother-in-law had been a known troublemaker at the time of the incident and was not the sort of person who would respect the gardaí or the work that they do.

Judge Twomey awarded Garda Smith workplace compensation of €4,000 for the injuries he sustained and said that believed Garda Smith’s contention that brother-in-law had a negative attitude towards gardai.

Specsavers Ordered to Pay Former Staff Member €12,000 Wrongful Sacking Compensation

Posted on: September 20th, 2018

The Letterkenny Specsavers branch has been directed to pay €12,000 wrongful dismissal compensation by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to a Muslim woman who was sacked from her job the day after the Manchester terrorist attack in 2017.

The WRC delivered a ruling against the Specsavers Ltd based in Letterkenny that said it had discriminated against Amina Ferrah, using her religion as justification. Adjudication Officer Emer O’Shea said she was happy to make the ruling as the evidence pointed to the fact that Ms Ferrah’s sacking before the expiration of the standard three-month review represented less favourable treatment on the grounds of religious discrimination.

Ms Ferrah advised the WRC that she was fired from her job on discriminatory grounds as a knee-jerk reaction to her being a Muslim. She went on to say that her employer “may have been overly concerned about public sentiment following the Manchester terror attack and the impact it might have on their business”.

Specsavers strongly denied the discrimination claim and alleged at the hearing, that the decision to fire Ms Ferrah’s from her job on the spot was solely due to her professional performance in the job.

Adjudication Officers of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) are statutorily independent in their decision-making responsibilities as they relate to adjudicating on complaints sent to them by the WRC Director General.

Ms O’Shea said that, in finding that Letterkenny Specsavers did discriminate against Ms Ferrah, it was accepted by the company that reviews of new staff members would be carried out after an initial period of three months employment.

On this occasion, however, there was no official accounts of any professional reviews taking place to back up the company’s contention of ongoing reviews being held. Neither were there any documented accounts of any performance deficits recorded during the period that Ms Ferrah was working at Specsavers Letterkenny shown to the WRC.

 

Woman from Belfast ‘Abused’ due to her Accent Awarded €1,118 Compensation

Posted on: September 11th, 2018

A workplace industrial tribunal in Northern Ireland has awarded compensation to a woman after she was made fun of due to her west Belfast accent along with being harassed for being female.

The workplace bullying incident happened at the Four Winds pub in Castlereagh where Caroline Curran was working as an assistant manager. She advised the tribunal that she was teased and verbally abused due to her history and gender. She alleged that one manager told her she was “not in the Devenish now”, referring to a pub in west Belfast. She also informed them that another time a male co-worker shouted at her: “Would you women f*** up!… you’re never done moaning.”

Ms Curran advised the industrial tribunal: “I’m a strong person, but I found it extremely difficult to deal with mentally and I can only imagine if it was a younger woman or someone maybe not as strong as myself, what sort of state they would be in? I just didn’t want to let that go or allow them to treat anybody else like that.”

Ms Curran was employed as assistant manager of the bar in March 2017, under the supervision of manager Dermott McGinn and assistant manager Conor Magee. By July 2017 she handed in a formal grievance after becoming displeased at the treatment she was receiving and told that tribunal that Mr Magee “constantly undermines me in front of staff”.

Ms Curran also registered an official complaint in relation to amendments to staff rotas, which she said he lied about making her to feel “as if I’m going insane, sometimes he lies to me to make me think I’m wrong”. After this incident she was signed out of work for two weeks and never went back to work at the pub again. However, she was in attendance for a grievance meeting in August during which she stated that Mr Magee made pointed jokes towards her including: “You’re not in the Devenish now.”

Mr Magee refuted all of Ms Curran’s claims, stating that “he hadn’t exactly a posh voice himself”, before going on to say that he thought he had the same accent and he is also from west Belfast originally. As the grievance meeting did not concur with her complaints Ms Curran took the issue to the workplace industrial tribunal.

At the tribunal legal representatives for Four Winds said the company refuted Ms Curran’s allegations that her gender was an “overarching theme” in her complaints against co-workers and that she did not pursue sex discrimination in her officially filed grievance.

When delivering their final ruling the tribunal said that Ms Curran was, more than likely, teased due to her accent but this was not due to her sex. Along with this they added that her claims of being undermined by Mr Magee were not because of her gender.

On the allegations against Mr McGinn they found that this was due to “bad staff management”, however her sex was not the cause of this. It did rule that the comment, “Would you women just f*** up” as a clear example of sexual harassment. The workplace industrial tribunal awarded Ms Curran £1,080 (€1,118) workplace harassment compensation.

Thumb Dislocation Compensation of €15,000 award to Wexford-based Garda

Posted on: April 16th, 2018

Wexford-based garda Awarded €15,000 in Thumb Dislocation Compensation following sustaining injuries while attending to a house call in relation to a party in Wexford town.

Garda Barry Hennessy told the court that, as a keen golfer, he now has to use pain killers in cold weather has been awarded €15,000 personal injury compensation in the High Court for the injury he sustained.

During a Garda Compensation hearing Garda Hennessy told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that the injury does affect his life aside from sometime suffering pain and stiffness.

Now aged 36, Hennessey told his barrister David Richardson he was called to a house in Clonard Village, Wexford, that in June 2009 as loud music from there was disturbing locals.

Upon reaching the house he had found the door open so he entered and found a man lying on a couch. A second individual came in he started to roar and shout.

Garda Hennessy told the Court that he had been jostled and struck in the face. Subsequently, when he tried to make an arrest, his left thumb was pushed back and dislocated.

At that point Garda Hennessy withdrew as he had seen that there were golf clubs and a fishing rod in the apartment. A colleague brought him to Wexford Hospital when he returned to the garda station. Here his thumb was manipulated under local anaesthetic. His thumb remained in a cast for several week and Garda Hennessy was absent from work for a few weeks.

Garda Hennessy told the Court: “There is nothing I cannot now do with my thumb but when it involves lifting something or gripping something it can still be painful. I have had to take pain killers before playing golf”.

He added that he had been advised that he should have surgery to help the injury. However, he chose not to do so.

Judge Twomey awarded Garda Hennessy €15,000 and revealed in the announcement that he (Garda Hennessy) had not undergone physiotherapy or opted for the other treatments that were available to him.

 

Former RTÉ Employee Awarded €50,000 after WRC Ruling on Age Discrimination

Posted on: March 23rd, 2018

The former RTÉ presenter Valerie Cox was awarded €50,000 yesterday by the Workplace Relations Commission after they found the broadcaster had discriminated against her on age grounds.

The WRC was told Ms Cox, who was employed by RTÉ for 21 years before her retirement in 2016, had two separate contracts of employment with two separate sets of terms and conditions.

Speaking on Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Cox said: “I loved working with you, it was a lovely, lovely job. I would have loved to have stayed on, I don’t know how long for but I would have loved it.

“I’m working as a freelance journalist and still loving it. It’s one of the best jobs in the world,” she said.

Ms Cox was on two contracts with RTE. The first contract, dating from August 2004, was a full-time contract of direct employment, which involved work as a radio reporter on programmes including Today with Sean O’Rourke. It was from this position that she retired when her contract terminated on March 8th, 2016 when she turned 65.

The second contract was a freelance contract for the ‘What It Says In The Papers’ slot on RTE Radio’s flagship programme ‘Morning Ireland’, as well as early morning slots on the weekends.

Ms Cox claims that when she contacted RTE to resume her freelance contract work after her a short break, she was advised told by RTE that she could not come return due to her age.

RTE said it did not comment on specific cases, regardless if they were planning to appeal the ruling or not.

The WRC ruling has been described as a “landmark decision” by politicians. Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin commented that Ms Cox’s case will the first of many on the basis of ageism as people seek to work later in life and he urged Government to prioritise legislation which will abolish the compulsory retirement age of 65 from many sectors of the public service.

Reacting to the ruling Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Conveney reacted to the ruling by announcing that he plans to remove the compulsory retirement age are being advanced and will come into effect “as soon as possible”. In the meantime interim arrangements have been put in.

Circus Performer (53) has Workplace Injury Compensation Action Struck Out

Posted on: February 24th, 2018

A circus performer has had her work injury compensation case struck out.  Amanda Bratby sustained an injury to her back when steel tubing came loose and struck her prior to a big top grand finale.

She told the court that, after her trapeze act, she was waiting for the grand finale to begin with the other circus performers at the rear of the main circus stage when the accident occurred.

Ms Bratby said that she was picking up her work shows for the grand finale when she was struck by the steel tubing, which is usually used to make the tight wire secure, after it became loose.

Ms Bratby (aged 53) took the work accident compensation action against Fossett Brothers Circus Ltd for the suffering she sustained in the accident on October 11, 2012. Fossetts accepted liability for the action and the legal case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Ms Bratby’s legal representatives stated that their client was hade her work life severely impacted due to stiffness and pain and could not achieve an earning capacity similar to her pre-accident level. She was unable to continue being employed as a trapeze artist with the same self-assured nature following the accident.

Prior to the accident occurring Ms Bratby has, the court was told, ambitions to   become a circus ring master.

During a work tour in the Netherlands not long after the accident occurred and she participated in nine performances. However, could only carry out basic tricks on the trapeze and without using the swing.

Legal representatives for Fossetts made the argument that she (Ms Bratby) earned two and a half times more after the accident than prior to it. When cross examined Ms Bratby said that she could not stand over her claims that she had experienced a loss of income in the aftermath of being injured.

Presiding judge Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon gave the parties five minutes recess for parties to consider next steps and following this time period, Ms Bratby’s legal representatives told her that the work accident compensation action be struck out.

Wexford-based Garda Awarded €25,000 in Work Assault Compensation

Posted on: February 8th, 2018

A garda sergeant, who suffered a head-butt injury in the course of his work resulting in serious snoring issues has been awarded €25,000 Work Assault Compensation.

Sergeant Noel McSweeney suffered the workplace injury while on a missing person search in May 2012.

Mr Justice Michael Twomey was told by Barrister Ellen Gleeson that Sergeant McSweeney, had been taking part in a missing person search in May 2012 when the incident happened.

The court was told that the missing woman had been found in a car where she was very intoxicated, drugs were found on the scene, and behaving aggressively.

Sergeant McSweeney told the Court that the woman struggled when they tried to take her into custody. He said: “She jumped back and threw her head backwards, hitting me in the nose and upper teeth”. In addition, he said that he suffered cuts to four of his upper front teeth and his nose had also been injured. He now had an airflow restriction in his nose as he suffered a deviated septum.

The woman was taken into custody.

Sgt McSweeney told the court that, after the head butt attack, his snoring affected his wife’s sleep to the extent that he had to sleep in the spare room on a number of occasions.

He added: “The appearance of my nose wasn’t upsetting to me so I decided not to have surgery correcting it.  Perhaps if I was a model it would be different”.

He also said that he had decided against corrective surgery as he had only experienced physical slight discomfort.

When it came to calculating the sum of compensation to be awarded to Sgt McSweeney, Judge Twomey referred to the Book of Quantum and approved work attack compensation award of  €7,500 with regard to the minor dental injuries and another €18,000 in Garda workplace nose injury damages.

State Claims Agency (SCA) Handling Employee Sexual Harassment Claims

Posted on: November 9th, 2017

According a recent report by State broadcaster RTE, five members of staff employed in the State healthcare system took sexual harassment legal actions over the last number of years, claiming they were assaulted by service users.

The State Claims Agency has not released specific details about where the alleged abuse took place in any individual cases. They did reveal that the claims are in connection with incidents that happened between 2012 and 2016 and make up almost 50% all sexual harassment claims currently being handled by the State Claims Agency for the State.

The State Claims Agency had initially declined to release any information on such claims, despite calls from Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency for them to make a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies available for perusal. These pleas came following the initial refusal by the State Claims Agency to release such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it handles on the State’s behalf.

Additionally, in November 2017 The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee made contact with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan requesting him to support a call for the data to be released. Following this the State Claims Agency made a limited amount of information on the number of such claims available. The SCA did not say where the incidents that claims arose from happened.

In an official statement released the State Claims Agency confirmed that it has managed 11 claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it said were “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also confirmed that in six of the 11 cases they’ve handled the alleged assailant and assailed person are both staff members. In the remaining five incidents they said the individual believed responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare area and the assailed person was a member of staff.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) said that “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical). We also need further information on the manner in which the SCA deals with such claims, how many of the cases end up in court, full details of all the costs incurred and whether the State seeks to recoup any of these costs from the alleged assailant.”

Man Awarded Compensation for Unfair Dismissal

Posted on: September 18th, 2017

The Workplace Relations Commission has awarded a former employee of the Boyne Valley Group €15,000 compensation for unfair dismissal.

The man from Drogheda in County Louth was employed as a supervisor in the Boyne Valley Group´s distribution centre when, in May 2015, he was dismissed for alleged gross misconduct. His dismissal, it was claimed, was due to personal remarks he had made to a female colleague about her appearance, her future family plans and her financial affairs.

It was also claimed the supervisor had slapped the woman´s hand when she had asked to see a mobile phone he was holding at the time, and had made comments to her implying some of the workforce had been employed on the basis of sexual favours rather than merit. The woman´s complaint was supported by several colleagues, including her mother and boyfriend.

The company accused the former supervisor of singling out the woman for unwanted attention, and had done so publicly to humiliate her. Although the company´s investigations led to no concrete evidence of a physical assault on the woman, the former supervisor was dismissed on the grounds of breaching the company´s policies on bullying and harassment.

The man appealed the decision and made a claim for compensation for unfair dismissal. His case was heard recently by the Workplace Relations Commission and, under cross-examination, the man admitted making comments that could be considered insulting and that he had tried to offer an apology but the woman had refused it.

After hearing details about how the case against the man, the Chair of the Commission commented the processes the company had adopted during its investigation into the allegations and conducting the disciplinary procedures and been fair. The Chair also accepted it was not the Commission´s role to impose its own decision when the decision to dismiss was “within the band of reasonableness”.

However, the Chair disagreed that the man´s dismissal was within the band of reasonableness, and said it was a disproportionate response to the situation. The Commission awarded the former supervisor €15,000 compensation for unfair dismissal, adding that, although the comments were unwelcome to the employee in question, the matter should have been dealt with in a more constructive manner.

How to Claim for Workplace Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Posted on: July 12th, 2017

The best way to claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss in Ireland is with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor. This article explains why.

If you have suffered damage to your hearing due to your working conditions, the usual process to claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss is to apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim. Provided your employer consents to the Injuries Board processing your application, and his or her insurance company agrees with the Injuries Board´s assessment, your claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss will be resolved within six or seven months.

However, will the settlement be wholly appropriate for the injury you have suffered? Only if the full consequences of your injury are communicated to the Injuries Board, who can only assess the value of personal injury claims on the merits of the information it is provided with. If you do not list the full consequences of your injury, the value of your claim will likely be calculated on the information provided in your doctor´s report.

Your doctor´s report will explain what degree of hearing loss you have suffered, but will not communicate how the hearing loss has impacted your quality of life. If, for example, you are no longer able to enjoy watching a film because you cannot follow the soundtrack – or enjoying a drink in the pub because you are unable to follow the conversation – this are factors that should be included when you claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss.

There may be many more factors that should be included in a claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss – some that maybe you have not even noticed yet. If you speak with a solicitor – or have somebody speak with a solicitor on your behalf – the solicitor will likely recommend you maintain a diary to record the times when you quality of life is impacted by your injury. He or she will then include all these factors in your application for assessment to the Injuries Board.

With a full understanding of the consequences of your injury, the Injuries Board will assess your claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss to account for the deterioration in your quality of life as well as the extent of your injury. This could amount to a substantial portion of your compensation settlement and is an important reason why you should only make an application for assessment to the Injuries Board with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor.

Air Corps Toxic Exposure Claims made by Former Mechanic

Posted on: May 8th, 2017

A former mechanic has claimed the Defence Forces are not doing enough to protect servicemen and their families from air corps toxic exposure.

The former air corps engineer came forward under a protected disclosure agreement to raise concerns about the physical and psychological wellbeing of servicemen at the Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, County Dublin, due to air corps toxic exposure.

Addressing an assembly of senior Ministers, TDs, senators and members of the Defence Forces, the whistle-blower claimed the unprotected exposure to known carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals was causing servicemen, their partners and their children to suffer illnesses – some of which were fatal.

The whistle-blower alleged exposure to the chemicals had resulted in the alleged untimely death of twenty servicemen. He also claimed that five children had died from cancer-related and birth defect-related illnesses and that many servicemen´s partners were experiencing fertility issues.

The allegations come at a time when the State Claims Agency is already defending six air corps toxic exposure claims made in 2015 and 2016 by former servicemen suffering neurological issues. All six plaintiffs worked in repair and maintenance workshops at the Casement Airbase.

In the servicemen´s favour, a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) inspection of the Casement Airbase last October identified health and safety issues related to the air corps toxic exposure claims and “in need of immediate attention”. The HSA threatened to prosecute the Defence Forces if its recommendations were not carried out.

Following the most recent air corps toxic exposure claims, a spokesperson for the Department of Defence told thejournal.ie an independent third party had been appointed to review the allegations and it would be inappropriate to comment before receiving their report. A spokesperson for the Defence Forces would only say: “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

However, the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces have been criticised by Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh. He told thejournal.ie air corps toxic exposure claims “have largely fallen on deaf ears” since the 1990s. He described the most recent revelations about a lack of health and security at the Casement Airbase “alarming”, and accused junior Justice Minister Paul Kehoe of being indifferent “to the plight of the Defence Forces”.

Judge Reduces Award of Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury at Work

Posted on: January 30th, 2017

A High Court judge has reduced an award of compensation for a slip and fall injury at work to account for the injured employee´s contributory negligence.

On 3rd February 2010, the employee – a former maintenance worker at the Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary – was working at the now decommissioned plant when he slipped and fell on a path due to sewerage overflowing from the flumes surrounding the inlet channels.

As a result of his accident, the employee suffered frequent headaches and sustained a back injury that prevented him from returning to his job. He applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a slip and fall injury at work, but consent to assess the claim was denied by the Templemore Town Council.

The employee was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue his claim in court. A hearing to determine liability and assess damages took place last week at the High Court, where Mr Justice Raymond Fullam heard that the employee worked alone at the time of the accident, and that no safe system of work had been implemented by the council.

The council defended the claim for compensation for a slip and fall injury at work by arguing one of the employee´s duties was to keep the paths clear of hazards and, if he needed additional tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them. The council contested that the employee´s accident had occurred due to his own lack of care.

Judge Fullam agreed that the employee should take some responsibility for his accident, however he accepted the employee´s evidence that a lot of the time there was an issue with the pumps and he did not have time to clean the paths on a regular basis. Judge Fullam also acknowledged that flumes surrounding the inlet channels were in a bad state on the day of the accident.

The judge said that he would have awarded the plaintiff €79,000 compensation for a slip and fall accident at work, however he was reducing the award by 40% to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence. The adjusted settlement of the claim consequently amounted to €47,400.

Childcare Worker Injury Claim Settled during Hearing

Posted on: January 21st, 2017

A woman, who suffered a back injury when tripping in a Dublin creche, has settled her childcare worker injury claim during a hearing to determine liability.

In January 2015, the woman – a 26-year-old employee of the Precious Minds creche in Dublin – was asked by a manager to help her change nappies in the babies room. As she was looking after a group of one and two year old children in another room, the woman had to take two of the children in her care with her while the others slept.

When her manager left the babies room to attend to other business, the childcare worker was left looking after nine children – three of whom were asleep and six of whom were awake. Shortly after, as she went to help one of the children, the childcare worker tripped over a plastic plate on the floor, and fell – injuring her back.

The woman was diagnosed with soft tissue injuries to her lower back by her GP, and has since had to consider a change of career because of the ongoing pain. She attempted to make a childcare worker injury claim through the Injuries Board, but the Precious Minds creche denied liability for her injury and her case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing before Judge Brian O´Callaghan, the woman claimed that the creche had failed to have regard for her safety on the day of the accident because the child/adult ratio was too high. Her childcare worker injury claim was supported by evidence from a forensic engineer, who testified that the woman had been placed in an unduly stressful situation.

The childcare worker injury claim was contested by the creche, who argued that their former employee was the author of her own misfortune by failing to look where she was going. It was also alleged that the woman´s duties included keeping the floor clear for the safety of the children. However, following a brief adjournment, Judge O´Callaghan was told that the childcare worker injury claim had been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount without an admission of liability.

Compensation for a Dunnes Employee Injured at Work Awarded by Court

Posted on: November 4th, 2016

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded €15,000 compensation for a Dunnes employee injured at work by a tray that fell from a bread trolley.

In March 2012, the nineteen year-old employee was working in Tallaght branch of Dunnes Stores when she was told to go to the stockroom and bring out a bread trolley. As she starting moving the two-metre high trolley, the tray on the top shelf fell out of its runners and struck the woman on her head.

The employee was given first aid by a colleague and then attended the emergency department of Tallaght Hospital. An x-ray revealed no serious injury, but she was detained overnight as a precaution. Since the accident, the employee claims to have continued suffering headaches and neck pain.

A claim for compensation for a Dunnes employee injured at work was made. The store accepted liability for the woman´s injury, but contested how much compensation was being claimed. The case subsequently went to the Circuit Civil Court for the assessment of damages.

At the damages hearing, Judge Terence O´Sullivan was told that the former employee – who is now twenty-three years of age and works as a hairdresser – had been knocked to the ground by the falling tray and had felt dizzy afterwards. Her counsel claimed that she had suffered a significant injury.

However, counsel representing Dunnes Stores argued that the cause of her ongoing neck pain was not her accident in 2012, but her current hairdressing job. Judge O´Sullivan noted that the former employee had not attended her doctor for three years or made any effort to seek physiotherapy.

The former employee´s counsel told Judge O´Sullivan that his client had self-medicated with painkillers bought from her local pharmacy, but the judge commented she had done a poor job of looking after herself if she had indeed suffered a significant injury as was being claimed.

The judge awarded the woman €15,000 compensation for a Dunnes employee injured at work, saying it was the conclusion of the court that she “wasn´t that badly hurt. The judge also gave Dunnes Stores leave to consider an appeal of the award provided an amount of €10,000 was paid immediately.

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.

Restaurant Prosecuted for Slip and Fall Accident due to an Unsuitable Floor Surface

Posted on: May 17th, 2016

A well-known restaurant chain has been prosecuted for injuries sustained by an employee in a slip and fall accident due to an unsuitable floor surface.

Azzurri Restaurants is a well-known restaurant chain most commonly known by their High Street brand, Zizzi. The company has a near faultless record for health and safety in its restaurants, but was recently prosecuted by a city council following a slip and fall accident due to an unsuitable floor surface in the kitchen of its Belvoir Street restaurant in Leicester.

The prosecution followed an injury sustained by Cosmin Mihut – an assistant chef – who fell and broke his elbow on the ceramic floor of the kitchen. Council investigators found that the ceramic floor surface constituted a risk of injury, that the restaurant had failed to conduct a risk assessment before installing the floor, and that there had been a failure to advise employees to wear non-slip footwear.

Investigators also noted that Cosmin´s slip and fall accident due to an unsuitable floor surface had been the fifth accident of a similar nature within four months. Further health and safety breaches included the lack of proper first-aid training and the failure to advise staff of the on-duty first-aider. The council subsequently prosecuted the restaurant chain with three breaches of health and safety regulations.

At Leicester Magistrates´ Court, Azzurri Restaurants pleaded guilty to all the charges relating to the slip and fall accident due to an unsuitable floor surface. Bench chairman Nigel Sudborough commented that it was fortunate that none of the restaurant´s employees had suffered a more serious injury before fining the restaurant chain £24,000 and ordering that it may prosecution costs of £5,967.75.

HSE Warns of Lyme Disease Threat – Employees may be Entitled to Injury Compensation for Lyme Disease at Work

Posted on: May 6th, 2016

Employees may be entitled to injury compensation for Lyme Disease at work if employers fail to act on the HSE´s latest warning about the Lyme Disease threat.

The Health Service Executive has issued a warning about the threat of Lyme Disease – a potentially debilitating bacterial infection that is spread to humans from infected horses, sheep, cattle, dogs, deer and rodents by tick bites. Lyme Disease is ever-present in Ireland but, during the summer months, ticks are more numerous and active according to Dr Paul McKeown of the HSE´s Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Dr McKeown warns that, as the days get longer and the weather starts to improve, more people are likely to engage in outdoor pursuits – increasing the risk of contracting Lyme Disease from a tick bite as they explore the countryside. Those particularly at risk include people who work close to environments with deep or overgrown vegetation such as forests, woodlands and heathlands – especially in areas where ticks have access to animals to feed on.

Employees who work in these environments should be warned of the risks of Lyme Disease, advised on how to recognize the symptoms of a tick bite, and provided with personal protective equipment to mitigate the risk of infection. Among the precautions suggested by Dr McKeown are:

  • Wearing long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes
  • Applying insect repellents such as DEET (on skin) and Permethrin (on clothes)
  • Checking skin, hair and clothes for the presence of ticks at the end of the day

Employees who are bitten by an infected tick, and then develop flu-like symptoms, pain and swelling in the joints or chronic fatigue syndrome, may be entitled to claim injury compensation for Lyme Disease at work – provided that an employer has failed in his or her duty of care to protect the employee from the risk of a tick bite.

Due to the complicated nature of claiming injury compensation for Lyme Disease at work, we have compiled a page dedicated to Claims for Lyme Disease at Work. However, if you have any questions relating to your entitlement to injury compensation, you should speak with a solicitor as soon as practically possible.

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.

Warehouse Worker Injury Claim Resolved in Court

Posted on: March 18th, 2016

A warehouse worker injury claim has been resolved at the High Court, with the plaintiff being awarded €153,150 compensation against his former employer.

Slovakian national, Salmovir Spes (47), made a warehouse worker injury claim after suffering a manual handling injury on October 29th 2011 while working at the Windcanton distribution centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Salmovir´s job at the distribution centre was to lift or “pick” goods from pallets and load them onto trolleys to be transported to twenty-four Supervalu supermarkets in the area. However, on the day in question, Salmovir injured his back when lifting five trays of yoghurts from a pallet.

Despite going home and resting his back, and then seeking prompt medical attention, Salmovir was unable to return to his job at Windcanton. He remained on sick leave until 2014, when he was made redundant by the distribution centre.

Salmovir made a warehouse worker injury claim, but his former employers declined their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment. Salmovir was issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim through the courts, and his case was heard this week by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barr was told that Salmovir was set a “pick rate” of 1,200 picks per day. It was claimed that Salmovir had not been given adequate safety training to meet his target, and that he was picked on for heavy manual handling tasks because of his nationality.

In its defence, Windcanton argued that adequate training was provided, that workers were given refresher courses at regular intervals, and that Salmovir had been treated no differently than any other employee. It was claimed that Salmovir had been responsible for his injury by taking short cuts to meet his “pick rate” target.

Judge Barr found in Salmovir´s favour and awarded him €153,150 in settlement of his warehouse worker injury claim. The judge commented he was satisfied that Salmovir´s back injury was due to a lack of adequate training, unreasonably high pick rates and being forced to take short cuts to meet his target.

The judge said there was no evidence to support Salmovir´s claims of discrimination against his former employer or the argument of contributory negligence presented by the defence. The judge added that Salmovir had suffered a significant lower back injury that not only rendered him “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life”, but also continued to cause him pain on a day-to-day basis.

Dunnes Stores Found Negligent in Checkout Operator Injury Claim

Posted on: March 14th, 2016

Dunnes Stores has been found in breach of their statutory duty in a checkout operator injury claim made by an employee injured when falling down stairs.

In December 2011, Jean O´Reilly was employed as a checkout operator at the Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square, Wexford. On 9th December, Jean lost her balance while reading the staff noticeboard and fell down the flight of stairs leading from the staff locker room to the shop floor.

As a result of her fall, Jean suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and back and had to wear a neck brace for the six weeks she was unable to work. Jean also had to undergo a course of physiotherapy to help her recover from her ordeal.

After seeking legal advice, Jean made a checkout operator injury claim – alleging that the staff noticeboard had been placed too close to the top of the stairs and that the lack of a handrail on one side of the staircase had prevented her from stopping her fall.

Dunnes Stores contested the checkout operator claim and refused to provide consent for the Injuries Board to assess Jean´s injuries. Jean was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her injury claim in court, and the case was heard recently by Mr Justice Raymond Fullam at the High Court.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Fullam found in Jean´s favour. He ruled that Dunnes Stores had been in breach of their statutory duty of care on two counts – the first relating to the placement of the staff noticeboard, and the second relating to the lack of a handrail.

The judge awarded Jean €81,500 compensation in settlement of her checkout operator injury claim – €65,000 general damages compensation for her pain and suffering and loss of amenity, and €16,500 special damages compensation for her loss of income and the costs she had incurred seeking medical treatment.



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.