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.

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.

New Employees Suffering More Workplace Accidents due to Inexperience

Posted on: March 11th, 2016

The Health and Safety Authority (HAS) has launched a radio awareness campaign aimed at reducing workplace accidents due to inexperience.

A recent HSA/ESRI study of workplace accidents found that new employees are four times more likely to suffer workplace accidents due to inexperience in the first six months of a new job. The research was based on workplace injury and illness figures over a 12 year period from 2001 to 2012.

The study found that new employees – and not just younger ones – were at a much higher risk of being involved in workplace accident due to a lack of training and supervision, a reluctance to question instructions, or a lack of safety knowledge.

The risk of injury and the incidence of workplace accidents decreases with age and experience according to the study. This is explained in the HSA/ESRI report as being due to lower risk-taking and a reduction in the involvement of manual tasks.

Martin O’Halloran – Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority – is concerned that employers should be aware their new employees are a vulnerable group: He said:

“It is vital that new workers are given adequate training and supervision. This means showing a person the correct way of doing a task and making sure that they can carry out the task correctly and safely. This is particularly important in sectors like construction and agriculture where hazards such as machinery, work at height and manual-handling are common.”

Mr O´Halloran continued: “When we inspect a workplace we are looking for signs that the employer is actively managing safety and health. We find that the good employers are aware of their obligations and have a strong focus on induction training.”

The awareness campaign will run on the radio until March 18th. It is primarily aimed at reducing workplace accidents due to inexperience by reminding employers of their duties in relation to new employees.

Chef Awarded Compensation for being Burned by Hot Water in a Restaurant Kitchen

Posted on: March 7th, 2016

A Dublin chef has been awarded €15,000 compensation for being burned by hot water in a kitchen restaurant following a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

In March 2013, Shijun Liu was filling in as a chef at the Howards Way Restaurant in Churchtown, Dublin – a sister establishment to the restaurant Shijun usually worked at in nearby Rathgar. During the course of the evening, a cleaner started experiencing problems with the powerhose used to clean the kitchen.

Despite not being familiar with the cleaning procedures at the Churchtown restaurant, Shijun attempted to help the cleaner untangle the hose. However, while the chef and the cleaner were trying to free the kinks in the hose, Shijun was sprayed with scalding hot water.

Shijun was taken to the VHI Clinic in Dundrum, where he received treatment for severe scald burns on his ankle. Due to the severity of his injury, Shijun was unable to go back to work for two weeks. After seeking legal advice, he claimed compensation for being burned by hot water in a restaurant kitchen against his employer – Declan Howard trading as Howards Way Restaurant

Howard denied his consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of the injury compensation claim, and the Injuries Board issued Shijun with an authorisation to pursue compensation for being burned by hot water in a restaurant kitchen through the courts. His case was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that the powerhouse used to clean the kitchen at the Churchtown establishment was a domestic model, and not a model that could withstand the heat of the water used to clean the restaurant kitchen. Consequently, the judge heard, the heat of the water had softened the hose, causing it to split and spray scalding water at Shijun.

Judge Groarke found in Shijun´s favour and awarded him €15,000 compensation for being burned by hot water in a restaurant kitchen – commenting that he had found Shijun´s version of the accident very compelling, whereas he had not been convinced by the evidence presented on behalf of the restaurant by head chef David Keogh.

Company Fined €125,000 for a Disregard for the Safety and Health of Workers

Posted on: February 19th, 2016

A Dunboyne concrete manufacturer has been fined €125,000 for a disregard for the safety and health of workers that resulted in a fatal accident.

Kilsaran Concrete is a manufacturer of concrete products based in Dunboyne, County Meath. Yesterday the company was fined €125,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of health and safety legislation that resulted in a fatal accident, and ordered to pay costs by Judge Michael O´Shea at Trim Circuit Court.

The prosecution by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) followed the death of an employee – Barry Gargan – who was fatally injured on 6th September 2011, when he was producing concrete kerb stones in the wet cast manufacturing unit.

Due to a risk of injury from the automated moving equipment, the wet cast manufacturing unit was surrounded by a safety cage. Barry was instructed to work from inside the safety cage, which was then closed allowing the manufacturing process to be started. Mr. Gargan was fatally injured when a hydraulic arm pinned him against a vibrating table.

At Trim Circuit Court, Brian Higgisson – the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA – told Judge O´Shea: “This accident was caused by a deliberate breach of safety procedures and should not have happened. The area was considered extremely dangerous and the practice at Kilsaran Concrete of allowing workers to bypass the safety controls and work inside the danger zone showed a blatant disregard for the safety and health of workers”.

Kilsaran Concrete pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 8(2)(a) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 contrary to Section 77(9)(a). Mr. Carl Griffin, a manager at Kilsaran Concrete, acknowledged that the company had failed to manage and conduct work activities in such a way to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees and, as a consequence, Barry Gargan had died in the fatal accident.

Griffin also pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 14(b) contrary to 77(9) of the same Act for “intentionally, recklessly or without reasonable cause” place at risk the health and safety of employees by permitting them to work inside the guarded safety area. Griffin was fined €10,000 in addition to the fine imposed on the company for a disregard for the safety and health of workers.

Widow Recovers Compensation for Death of Husband at Work

Posted on: January 22nd, 2016

The widow of a man killed during the construction of a gym at the Connacht Sportsground is to receive compensation for the death of her husband at work.

In April 2008, thirty-one year old Declan Byrne was employed by CDM Steel Ltd during the construction of a gym at the Connacht Sportsground in Galway. On 30th April, Declan told a colleague that a 1.4 tonne steel beam that had been erected was misaligned and that he was going to fix it.

Because the blockwork of the construction was at an advanced stage, Declan chose to use a scaffold and bottle jack to support the beam rather than a teleporter or a crane. When Declan removed the last of the six bolts keeping the beam in place, it fell on him – causing him to suffer fatal injuries.

The investigation into Declan´s fatal accident resulted in charges being brought against his employer for breaches of the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. However the company was acquitted at a hearing of Galway Circuit Criminal Court in 2013.

During the hearing, Judge Rory McCabe criticised CDM Steel Ltd for failing to have a construction supervisor on the site and for an “appalling lack of communication”. Subsequently, Declan´s widow – Dolores Byrne from Ballyhaunis in County Mayo – claimed compensation for the death of her husband at work.

CDM Steel Ltd and three other defendants against whom the claim was made denied that they had been responsible for Declan´s death due to negligence, and the claim for compensation for the death of a husband at work was scheduled to be heard at the High Court.

However, before the hearing could take place, a settlement of the claim was negotiated amounting to €500,000. At an approval hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross told Dolores “nothing can replace what you have lost” before approving the settlement of compensation for the death of a husband at work.

Claim for a Back Injury due to Bad Working Conditions Resolved in Court

Posted on: December 5th, 2015

A claim for a back injury due to bad working conditions has been resolved at the High Court with an award of €415,000 compensation being made to the plaintiff.

In early 2011, Mohammed Ali Saleh worked on the pluck station at the Moyvalley Meats factory in County Kildare. While at work on 11th January, Mohammed felt a sharp pain in his back as he twisted to put meat from a dead animal onto a hook. Mohammed sought medical advice and an examination revealed that he had suffered a prolapse disc.

An MRI scan showed that Mohammed needed urgent decompression treatment but, despite twice undergoing surgery, he was diagnosed with failed bad syndrome and is no longer able to work. Mohammed now suffers from persistent pain in his back and legs, has an associated foot weakness, and can only walk with the assistance of crutches.

Mohammed – who has an address in Mullingar, County Westmeath – made a claim for a back injury due to bad working conditions against his employers – Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited. In his legal action, Mohammed claimed that he had not been adequately trained to perform his duties and that there was no safe system of working that avoided the twisting manoeuvre responsible for his back injury.

Moyvalley Meats contested the claim for a back injury due to bad working conditions and Mohammed was given an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue his claim for compensation through the court system. His claim was heard in the High Court last week before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Moyvalley Meats argued that Mohammed had been given on the job training and that his injury was caused by an existing condition. However, an expert witness contradicted the company´s argument and told Judge Cross that Mohammed´s training had only consisted of watching an operative perform the task for a short period of time. The expert added that no safe system of work had been implemented to avoid the twisting manoeuvre responsible for Mohammed´s back injury.

Judge Cross found in Mohammed´s favour and awarded him €415,000 compensation in settlement of his claim for a back injury due to bad working conditions. The judge said that the size of the compensation settlement reflected Mohammed´s past and future pain and suffering and his future loss of earnings.

Castolin Eutectic Found Negligent in Factory Back Injury Compensation Claim

Posted on: November 20th, 2015

The Castolin Eutectic manufacturing plant in Dublin has been found negligent in a factory back injury compensation claim heard recently at the High Court.

In March 2012, twenty-four year old Daniel Hanley from Stoneybatter in Dublin was pushing a pallet truck at the Castolin Eutectic manufacturing plant in the Magna Business Park, when he slipped and fell. Daniel injured his back in the accident and was taken to hospital for treatment. Due to a severe soft tissue injury – which Daniel still suffers from – he was unable to work for six weeks.

Daniel made a factory back injury compensation claim to the Injuries Board – alleging that he had slipped on an accumulation of graphite that had been left on the floor. Daniel claimed that the floor surface was not fit and suitable for purpose, and that his employer had been negligent by failing to implement a safe system of work.

Castolin Eutectic denied it was responsible for Daniel´s injury, and declined to consent to an Injuries Board assessment. Daniel was consequently issued with an authorisation to pursue his factory back injury compensation claim through the courts system, and his case was heard recently by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Cross heard testimony that there had been a number of slips and falls due to graphite spills in the period leading up to Daniel´s accident. Despite Castolin Eutectic arguing that Daniel´s back injury was due to his own negligence, the judge also heard that safety measures that had been suggested to the company´s management to prevent further accident had not been put in place.

Judge Cross commented there was no suggestion that Daniel had been doing anything wrong or had contributed to the cause of his accident. Based on the testimonies he had heard, the judge said it was likely that there was a small amount of graphite on the floor at the time and he found Castolin Eutectic negligent in Daniel´s factory back injury compensation claim. Judge Cross awarded Daniel €46,000 compensation.

Court Hears Details of Injury Claim by an Aer Lingus Flight Attendant

Posted on: November 10th, 2015

The High Court has heard details of an injury claim by an Aer Lingus flight attendant, who suffered physical and emotional injuries due to a rough landing.

The injury claim by an Aer Lingus flight attendant was made by thirty-three year old Cassandra Reddin from Ratoath in County Meath who, on 19th November 2009, was a member of the flight crew returning to Dublin from Malaga in Spain.

According to the details of the claim, the Airbus 320 started swaying as it approached Dublin Airport and descended at a speed much faster than normal. When the plane landed, it bounced three times before coming to a stop much further along the runway than it normally would.

Due to the force at which the plane hit the runway, Cassandra claimed that she suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and back. She also claims that she feared for her life – believing that the plane was not going to stop before the end of the runway and crash.

Cassandra applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim, but Aer Lingus denied consent for the assessment to proceed and Cassandra was issued with an authorisation to pursue the injury claim by an Aer Lingus flight attendant through the courts.

The hearing started yesterday at the High Court, where Mr Justice Michael Hanna was told that the rough landing caused the overhead luggage lockers to open and luggage to fall on top of passengers. “There was a degree of chaos and stress on board” Cassandra told the judge.

Cassandra went on to explain that the rough landing had caused her to suffer both physical and emotional injuries. In addition to her soft tissue injuries, Cassandra claimed to have suffered shock due to the incident and had cried the whole evening when she had got home.

The airline continues to contest the injury claim by an Aer Lingus flight attendant and denies Cassandra´s allegations that the co-pilot was negligent in failing to adequately supervise the landing of flight EI582. The hearing at the High Court continues today.

Man Settles Claim against Irish Rail for a Workplace Injury

Posted on: October 23rd, 2015

A man, who injured his shoulder while changing a front destination scroll on a Dart train, has settled his claim against Irish Rail for a workplace injury.

In February 2012, Padraic Reddin (38) of Donaghmede in County Dublin was working as an electrician for Iarnrod Éireann at its depot in Fairview. He had been changing a front destination scroll on a Dart train when he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder and across his upper body. Unable to continue with the task immediately, Padraic sat down and waited for the pain to subside before completing the installation of the front destination scroll later in the day.

However, Padraic continued to experience pain in his shoulder. The pain disrupted his sleeping and affected his everyday life. Allegedly Padraic even experienced discomfort in his shoulder when making a cup of tea. Padraic visited his GP the same week and later reported his injury to a superior; however the superior refused to complete an accident report form as the injury had been sustained more than two weeks previously.

Padraic made a claim against Irish Rail for a workplace injury and submitted an application for assessment to the Injuries Board. However, Iarnrod Éireann refused its consent for the assessment to proceed, and the Injuries Board issued Padraic with an authorisation to pursue his claim against Irish Rail for a workplace injury through the courts. The case was heard this week at the Circuit Civil Court by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that, at the time of his injury, Padraic had been trying to change a scroll weighing 10kg at a height of 2 metres. It was claimed that the task should have been assigned to two employees to avoid the risk of injury. Judge Groarke also heard that the pain from Padraic´s injury had lasted for several months and that the value of his claim against Irish Rail for a workplace injury had been calculated at €38,000.

However, following a brief adjournment, the judge was informed that the claim against Irish Rail for a workplace injury had been settled for an undisclosed amount. Mr Justice Raymond Groarke awarded Padraic his legal costs and struck out the case.

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]”.

Injury Compensation Claim for a Fall in a Barn Resolved at High Court Hearing

Posted on: May 20th, 2015

A man who lost his senses of taste and smell after a farm accident has resolved his injury compensation claim for a fall in a barn at a hearing at the High Court.

On August 11th 2008, Con Oxley from Cullahill in County Laois was installing light fittings at a barn in nearby Ballacolla owned by farmer Mark Quigley. In preparation to install the lights, Con was rolling out electric cable and intending to use a plank suspended across two boxes to negotiate his way from fitting to fitting.

However, when Con stepped on the plank to move from the first fitting to the second, it gave way. Con fell eight feet onto the floor of the barn – hitting his head badly as he landed. As a result of his fall, Con has lost his senses of taste and smell and has been left with poor vision in his left eye.

Con made an injury compensation claim for a fall in a barn against Mark Quigley – alleging that the planks he had been provided with were unsuitable for the job and that the one he had stepped on had a crack in it. He also claimed that was a failure to provide intermediate support under the planks so that they were safe to walk on.

Quigley denied his alleged liability for Con´s injuries and the Injuries Board issued Con with an authorisation to pursue his claim through the courts. However, before a court date could be set, the two men negotiated a settlement to Con´s injury compensation claim for a fall in a barn – with Con accepting €300,000 compensation without an admission of liability from Quigley.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement after hearing that the €300,000 settlement was approximately half of what Con may have been awarded had his injury compensation claim for a fall in a barn gone to a full hearing. Judge Cross said that the settlement was a wise option as Con´s contributory negligence for failing to inspect the planks would have been called into question.



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.