Wrongful Death in Ireland

There are a number of scenarios in which you may be entitled to make a compensation claim for wrongful death in Ireland – each of them emotionally charged and exceptionally distressing. Claims for wrongful death in Ireland have to take into account the impact that a person´s death has on the remainder of the family, whether it is a husband who will no longer be able to provide financial support for his family or a child who sustains a fatal injury during their delivery. In all events, it is recommended that you speak with one of our professional and courteous solicitors for impartial and practical advice about claiming compensation for a wrongful death in Ireland.

Donegal Widow Awarded Compensation for Sea Death of Husband and Son in 1981

Posted on: May 20th, 2018

Winifred Byrne, a Donegal widow, has finally been awarded €245,570 in lost at sea compensation.

Ms Byrne secured Ombudsman’s support for State compensation in 2009 after she was excluded from a scheme over exclusion from a Government scheme by the n Minister for the Marine Frank Fahey during the 1990s. Mr Fahey launched a restricted scheme to encourage families who had lost vessels between 1980 and 1989 to stay in fishing, by awarding compensatory them “tonnage”

Ms Byrne, a resident of Bruckless in Co Donegal, has been awarded an ex-gratia payment from current Minister for Marine Michael Creed, after a 14-year dispute when she was left out of the scheme. Despite there being 67 applications through the scheme, only six were approved and 75% of the funds paid were to constituents of the then Minister Fahey.

Ms Byrne’s husband Francis and her 16-year-old son Jimmy were lost along with three other crewmen after their fishing boat Skifjord perished off the coast in 1981.

As the scheme had not been widely publicised the Byrne family brought an official complaint in 2004 after their initial application had been rejected. Ombudsman Ms Emily O’Reilly ruled in their favour in December 2009, commenting that the scheme had been improperly managed.

Danny Byrne said that his mother has now received the payment, and praised Minister of the Marine Mr Michael Creed, and to former Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins who had supported the family’s cause over the years.

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West commented on the case saying, “I want to extend my congratulations to the Byrne family for the sheer determination and perseverance they exhibited in seeing through their campaign against successive Irish Governments on the Lost at Sea scheme.  I am delighted that they have now finally received the compensation that was legislatively owed to them and hope that this will close what I am sure has been a difficult, and at times frustrating, case.

“The Byrnes, who tragically lost two members of their family, three crew members and their entire livelihood had been fighting against their exclusion from the scheme for over 3 decades.”

 

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”.

Birth Defect Claims against Sanofi made in France

Posted on: April 21st, 2017

Parents whose children were exposed to valproic acid in the womb have started making birth defect claims against Sanofi – the French manufacturer of Epilim.

Epilim is the trade name in Ireland for an anti-epilepsy drug (Depakine) introduced into France in the 1960s. Epilim contains sodium valproate and has also been prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, migraine and other chronic pain conditions because of an agent in valproate called GABA that stabilises electrical activity in the brain.

When taken by woman during pregnancy, the sodium valproate is broken down into valproic acid which – when it enters the bloodstream – can have an adverse effect on the health of the unborn child. Children born with “foetal valproate syndrome” have been known to suffer from a range of congenital and development issues including autism and spina bifida.

The risks of foetal valproate syndrome due to taking Epilim during pregnancy were first identified in the 1980s, but the evidence was considered not sufficiently conclusive and was allegedly covered up to prevent “fruitless anxiety”. Sanofi, the manufacturer of Epilim, later informed the medical profession of the risks in 2006 but in a manner that left many medical professionals in the dark.

Only recently has France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) looked deeper into the birth defect claims against Sanofi, and the agency has just published a report revealing that up to 4,100 children were born between 2007 and 2014 with “severe malformations” due to their mothers having taken the French version of Epilim. Hundreds more died in the womb.

The report has prompted the children´s parents to form a class action making birth defect claims against Sanofi on the grounds that the drug manufacturer failed to adequately advise the medical professional of the risks associated with Epilim or print warnings on the outside of the packets. The French government has also got involved and is discussing a compensation package.

In Ireland, Epilim is still sold without a warning on the front of the packet, and it is not known how many children have been diagnosed with foetal valproate syndrome due to being exposed to valproic acid in the womb. If a family member has been affected by this issue, and you would like to know more about birth defect claims against Sanofi, please do not hesitate to speak with a solicitor.

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.

Statistics for Fatal Farm Accidents in Ireland Highlighted in Workplace Safety Handbook

Posted on: May 6th, 2015

Statistics for fatal farm accidents in Ireland have received a special mention in a recently-released workplace safety handbook – the “Safety Representative Resource Book”.

The National Irish Safety Organisation´s “Safety Representative Resource Book” was launched last week by the Minister for Business and Employment – Ged Nash – at a joint national event to mark Workers Memorial Day Ireland.

In addition to Mr Nash and representatives of the National Irish Safety Organisation, the event to commemorate workers killed, injured or made ill by their working conditions was attended by Patricia King – General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions – Martin O´Halloran, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority, and Danny McCoy from the business and employer association IBEC.

The commemorative event had a sober overtone – particularly when representatives were reminded that 253 persons had been killed in work-related accidents between 2010 and 2014, and that many thousands more had been injured or had suffered ill health. In 2014 alone there were 56 work-related deaths in total – an average of more than one a week – including five children.

Statistics for fatal farms accidents in Ireland were particularly disturbing. Thirty workers lost their lives on Irish farms last year, bringing the total of farms deaths in Ireland in the past ten years to 198. Of those 198 fatal accidents, the Safety Representative Resource Book reveals:

  • 30% of fatalities involved tractors or other farm vehicles
  • 19% of fatalities involved farm machinery
  • 13% of fatalities involved livestock
  • 11% of fatalities resulted from contact with slurry pits
  • 9% of fatalities resulted from falls from height, and
  • 7% of fatalities resulted from being hit by a falling object.

Commenting on the statistics for fatal farm accidents in Ireland, Patricia King said “no job is worth somebody´s life”. She added that “health and safety is non-negotiable” and called on workers throughout Ireland to co-operate with employers and government to prevent a repeat of the fatalities experienced in 2014.

Compensation for Death of Child in Car Accident Approved in Court

Posted on: January 23rd, 2015

A settlement of compensation for the death of a child in a car accident has been approved in the Circuit Court in favour of the mother of a toddler who was run over by a neighbour.

On March 3rd 2013, Lily Rose O´Toole was playing in the front garden of her family home in Tallaght, Dublin, watched by her mother Ruth. Ruth left her one-year-old daughter unattended for just a few minutes to chat with a neighbour who was just about to leave in her car.

After waving the neighbour goodbye, Ruth turned back towards her garden but could not see Lily Rose. Ruth then heard a commotion and turned around to see her daughter lying on the floor at the back of the neighbour´s car.

Lily Rose was able to get up and walk a few steps towards her mother but, as Ruth picked her daughter up, she saw a graze on the little girl´s forehead. Lily Rose was taken to the nearby Tallaght Hospital, but died later due to intra-abdominal bleeding caused by internal injuries.

After seeking legal advice, Ruth made a claim for compensation for the death of a child in a car accident under the Civil Liability Act 1962 against her neighbour – Esther Dillon. Liability was accepted by Ms Dillon´s car insurance company and a settlement of compensation was agreed.

Because a part of the compensation settlement was for the mental anguish suffered by Lily Rose´s ten-year-old step-brother – Patrick – the settlement of compensation for the death of a child in a car accident had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be resolved.

Consequently, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court heard the circumstances of Lily Rose´s tragic accident and how the settlement of compensation was to be distributed – €20,394 for Ruth´s mental distress, €10,794 for fees and funeral expenses and €5,000 being awarded to Patrick.

The judge approved the settlement of compensation for the death of a child in a car accident and expressed the court´s deep sympathy to Ruth – saying “the loss of a child is a terrible thing to happen to any mother”.

Family of Former Engineer Secure Settlement of Compensation for Asbestos Exposure

Posted on: November 17th, 2014

The family of a former engineer, who recently died from mesothelioma cancer, has secured a settlement of compensation for asbestos exposure.

In December last year, 73 year-old Peter McCormack from Whickham in Tyne and Wear passed away after suffering for eighteen months with mesothelioma cancer – a cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs and is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres and asbestos dust.

Before he died, Peter had consulted with solicitors about making a claim for compensation for asbestos exposure against two of his former employers who had failed to protect him against the deadly material. After his death, the claim was maintained by his daughter Elke (41).

In the claim for compensation for asbestos exposure, it was alleged that EON UK had allowed Peter to work alongside laggers – first as an apprentice and then as a mechanical fitter – who mixed and applied asbestos to pipes and other fittings without any protection.

OSG Ship Management (formerly W A Souter Ltd) was also named in the legal action as Peter had worked for the company from 1965 to 1997, during which time he had repaired pipes that had asbestos lagging on ships where asbestos dust laid on surfaces until it was disturbed and entered the atmosphere to be inhaled by company employees.

After a period of negotiation with the two companies and their insurers, an undisclosed six-figure settlement of compensation for asbestos exposure was negotiated. The settlement will be divided between Elke and her sister Natalie, who said: “Hopefully, this settlement will highlight to employers the need to protect people from exposure to asbestos, so other families do not have to watch their loved ones deteriorate so quickly.”

Elke commented “It was heartbreaking to see my dad suffering with mesothelioma for 18 months and the effect the chemotherapy he underwent had on him. He lost all his appetite, was often exhausted, and was suffering with nerve pain in his shoulder. The diagnosis also caused him severe distress and anxiety for his future.”

Settlement of Fatal Car Crash Injury Compensation Approved at Court

Posted on: July 5th, 2014

A €650,000 settlement of fatal car crash injury compensation in favour of a family who lost its wife and mother has been approved at the High Court in Dublin.

The family of Rose Martin from Carrickakelly in County Monaghan made their claim for fatal car crash injury compensation following an accident at Philipstown Corner in Killerley on New Year´s Eve 2006, after which Rose (57) died from her injuries.

Rose had been travelling as a front seat passenger in a car driven by her husband William, when it was hit head-on by a car driven by Jason Kearney from Dundalk in County Louth. Rose sustained fatal injuries in the collision which resulted in her death eleven days later in hospital, while William suffered a permanent leg injury and one of the couple´s children – David – required emergency abdominal surgery.

On the family´s behalf, William Martin made a claim for fatal car crash injury compensation against Kearney – not only for his wife´s death, but for the injuries that he and his son – who suffers from Down Syndrome – had sustained.

William claimed in his action that Kearney had driven directly into the path of his own car, at a speed that was inappropriate for the prevailing circumstances and conditions. Liability was accepted by Kearney´s insurers, and a settlement of the family´s claim for fatal car crash injury compensation was negotiated.

However, as David suffers from Down Syndrome – and due to the nature of the claim for fatal car crash injury compensation – the settlement had to be first approved by a judge before it could be finally resolved; and therefore, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard about the circumstances of the accident and the impact it had on the family.

Judge Irvine was told that Rose had been David´s primary carer for 28 years, and that the loss of his wife was emotionally traumatic for William, who had failed to believe that his wife was actually dead. The judge approved the €650,000 settlement of fatal car crash injury compensation and expressed her sympathy for the family.

Boy Dies due to Inhaling Fumes from a Slurry Pit – Father in Hospital

Posted on: June 10th, 2014

An eight-year-old boy has died due to inhaling fumes from a slurry pit in a tragic family accident which resulted in the boy´s father fighting for his life in a Belfast hospital.

On request of the Robert Christie´s family, few details of how the eight-year-old boy died due to inhaling fumes from a slurry pit have yet been released by police, but it is believed that Robert and his father – Bertie Christie – were mixing slurry on a neighbour´s farm in Donloy, County Antrim.

Father and son were discovered late on Saturday afternoon by a postman visiting the farm, and the emergency services were called. Robert was taken to Belfast´s Royal Victoria Hospital by air ambulance where he was pronounced dead, while Bertie remains in a critical condition at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

Barclay Bell – Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers Union – offered an explanation of how the accident may have occurred.

He said that slurry pits at often full of animal waste that has accumulated since the winter to be used as fertilizer. While it is stored in the pits, a lethal combination of gasses develops – most seriously methane and hydrogen sulphide – which release poisonous fumes as the slurry is agitated to be used on the fields.

It is often difficult to know when the poisonous fumes have dispersed because they have no smell and, as the gasses from which the fumes are produced are heavier than air, they tend to remain lower to the ground – potentially explaining how Bertie Christie did not sustain such a serious injury as his son.

Northern Ireland´s Health and Safety Executive are already investigating Robert´s death due to inhaling fumes from a slurry pit the organization´s Chief Executive -Keith Morrison – had this message for the grieving family: “Incidents like this show starkly the dangers which our farming communities face and my heart goes out to those affected by this tragic accident”.

Family Receive Undisclosed Compensation for Fatal Lack of Care in Hospital

Posted on: February 13th, 2014

A family has received an undisclosed settlement of compensation for a fatal lack of care in hospital that resulted in the death of a 65-year-old wife and mother.

In January 2010, Eileen Brady was referred to the Cavan General Hospital by her GP following his diagnosis that a poor fluid intake was causing Eileen to suffer mouth ulcers. Eileen was admitted to the hospital on 5th January, but the rehydration treatment she was administered was ineffective due her veins collapsing, and she died the following day due to multiple organ failure.

An investigation into Eileen´s death revealed that the weakest in her veins was attributable to the chemotherapy treatment she was undergoing in a Dublin hospital to treat her stomach cancer, and that her death could have been avoided had her medical charts been examined more closely and her situation monitored more carefully.

Eileen´s son – Martin Brady from Crosskeys in County Cavan – sued the Cavan General Hospital and Health Service Executive (HSE) on behalf of the family, claiming compensation for a fatal lack of care in hospital which could have been prevented if the hospital in Cavan had liaised with the hospital in Dublin at which Eileen was receiving her treatment for cancer.

The HSE admitted liability for Eileen´s death, and an undisclosed settlement of compensation for a fatal lack of care in hospital was agreed out of court. However, the settlement came with the proviso that a representative of the HSE read out an apology in court, and therefore Ms Justice Mary Irvine and Eileen´s family assembled in the High Court to hear the public apology.

At the High Court, a statement was read in which the Cavan general Hospital and the HSE apologised for the fatal lack of care which resulted in Eileen´s death, and for the emotional trauma that had needlessly been suffered by her family and friends.

Replying on behalf of the family, Aidan Brady said he hoped that both the defendants had learned from “the grave mistakes” made in the care of his mother “and that no other family would have to go through the trauma and distress that we have suffered”.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine extended her personal sympathy to Eileen´s family and closed the hearing.

Family Claim for a Fatal Accident in Hospital after Coroner´s Verdict

Posted on: August 5th, 2013

The family of a woman, who drowned while taking a bath at the Frankston Hospital in Melbourne, are to make a claim for a fatal accident in hospital following the Coroner´s report into her death.

Amy Hauserman (26) was voluntarily admitted into the Frankston Hospital in March 2008 after doctors feared she was relapsing into schizophrenia and risked the repeat of previous problems she had experienced with anorexia.

Two days later, Amy was found dead – face down in a bath which she had been allowed to take unsupervised – which Coroner Peter White attributed to either falling into an unconscious state while taking the bath or slipping as she tried to get out.

Attributing Amy´s death to “hypoxic brain injury in a setting of immersion”, the Coroner said there was no indication that Amy had tried to take her own life and that, had a nurse been present in the bathroom, there was a high chance that Amy could have been rescued.

The Coroner also mentioned in his report that Amy had been allowed to take a bath without a risk assessment being undertaken and without seeking the advice of her consultant doctor. He said “I find that the absence of supervision was a primary feature leading to her death, in that it caused or contributed to an inability to successfully intervene and to give effect to her rescue.”

After the hearing, Amy Hauserman´s father confirmed that the family would be making a claim for a fatal accident in hospital against the Mornington Peninsula Health Service on the grounds that had the hospital “showed her the due and proper care she deserved, she would still be us now”.

The hospital were not available to comment on the Coroner´s findings, however a court date has already been set in May 2014 to hear the claim for a fatal accident in hospital.

Family Settle Claim for Negligent Hospital Treatment

Posted on: July 16th, 2013

The family of a woman, who died at Mayo General Hospital due to an alleged failure to diagnose a perforated bowel, has settled its claim for negligent hospital treatment against the HSE.

Eileen Maloney (69) from Pullathomas, County Mayo, was admitted to Mayo General Hospital on Sunday February 1st 2009 suffering from severe abdominal pain. Eileen´s family allege that an X-ray taken at the time of her admission showed an obstruction in her small bowel but, because it was the weekend, no doctor was available to diagnose her condition.

A CT scan taken during the following week clearly showed that a tumour had developed in Eileen´s large bowel but, it was alleged in the family´s claim for negligent hospital treatment, neither the X-ray nor the scan was reviewed to check for a perforation of her bowel which would have required urgent medical attention.

Eileen was not scheduled for surgery until February 12th, despite being in constant pain, and died five days later. Her family claimed they were informed by a member of the hospital staff at the time that, had Eileen´s condition been diagnosed and treated more promptly, she would have survived the operation.

The family made a claim for negligent hospital treatment against the Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that Eileen´s death was avoidable at the time and in the circumstances, and that it had caused them a considerable amount of mental anguish.

The HSE denied being responsible for Eileen´s wrongful death but, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Michael Peart heard that the family had agreed a settlement of their negligent hospital treatment claim amounting to €50,000 without an admission of liability from the HSE.

The judge approved the settlement of the claim, stating that Eileen´s death had been “very, very tragic” and he extended his sympathies to her family.

Families Unable to Claim Compensation for a Fatal Airplane Crash

Posted on: May 24th, 2013

The family of a man, who was killed in an airplane crash in New Zealand, will not be able to claim compensation for a fatal airplane crash due to the country´s laws.

The family of Patrick Byrne (26) from County Wexford have written to New Zealand´s Prime Minister – John Key – asking that stronger safety enforcement is introduced following Patrick´s death in September 2010 when the Fletcher FU24 airplane he was a passenger in crashed shortly after take-off.

Patrick was killed along with three other tourists, the plane´s pilot and four ‘tandem’ sky-dive instructors in the accident at the Fox Glacier Airstrip in Westland, following which the coroner suggested that accident could have been caused by the airplane being unbalanced due to unrestrained passengers moving about during take-off.

The families have also urged the Prime Minister to amend the country´s laws, which do not allow them to claim compensation for a fatal airplane crash. New Zealand law does not allow legal action against companies for negligence and compensation is decided by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) – a Government department responsible for compensating residents and visitors to New Zealand who suffer personal injuries.

The ACC awarded the equivalent of just €3,200 in compensation for a fatal airplane crash to the families of the nine victims who died in the accident – an insufficient amount to repatriate Patrick´s body home to his family.

Settlement Approved in Claim for A&E Misdiagnosis Compensation

Posted on: May 10th, 2013

The High Court has approved the settlement of a claim for A&E misdiagnosis compensation after the tragic death of an eight-year-old boy.

Richard de Souza had been taken by his parents to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise in February 2011, due to their son developing a lump on the left side of his body. The boy was suffering from chicken pox at the time, and a doctor in the A&E Department diagnosed an infection and prescribed a three-day course of antibiotics.

The doctor sent the family home, but later that evening Richard complained of being thirsty and became delirious. The following morning he told his mother that he felt the need to vomit and then passed out on the floor of the family home in Athy, County Kildare. Richard´s mother summoned an ambulance, but Richard was already in a state of cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived and he was declared dead at the Midland Regional Hospital.

After discovering that their son´s cause of death was a streptococcal infection which led to toxic shock syndrome, Ralmon and Flavia de Souza made a claim for A&E misdiagnosis against the Midland Regional Hospital and the Health Service Executive, alleging that Richard should have been admitted to hospital with the symptoms he had been displaying and that his death could have been prevented.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that the HSE had admitted liability for Richard´s death and an apology was read out on behalf of the hospital to the family. The judge then approved the settlement of the de Souza´s claim for A&E misdiagnosis compensation, which had been agreed at €160,000 to account for Richard´s wrongful death and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder both parents had been diagnosed with following the tragic and avoidable death of their son.

Court Approves Compensation for a Fatal Delayed Diagnosis

Posted on: April 23rd, 2013

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for a fatal delayed diagnosis which led to the wrongful death of a child.

Six-month-old Kaiden Costello was admitted to Temple Street Children´s Hospital in April 2009 when his concerned mother – Kate – had noticed her son was not eating his food. Kaiden was diagnosed with a failure to thrive, but two months later was re-admitted and underwent an MRI scan which revealed that his condition was due to a brain tumour. Kaiden underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumour, but died three days later.

Kaiden´s mother made a compensation claim for a fatal delayed diagnosis against the hospital and HSE; alleging that, had an MRI scan been conducted when Kaiden was first admitted to the hospital and the tumour diagnosed sooner, her son could have received chemotherapy treatment or undergone surgery earlier to remove the tumour and extend his life.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that responsibility for the failure to diagnose Kaiden when he was first admitted to hospital had been admitted by Temple Street Children´s Hospital and a settlement of compensation for a fatal delayed diagnosis had been agreed upon in the amount of €180,000.

As part of the settlement agreement, an apology was read out by Mona Baker – CEO of Temple Street Children´s Hospital – who said she understood that “no apology or compensation arising from Kaiden´s death could negate the continuing heartache that the family must feel every day”.

Judge Cross thereafter approved the settlement of compensation for a fatal delayed diagnosis, which comprised of €145,000 for Kate Costello´s nervous shock as a result of her son´s death and €35,000 relating to the wrongful death due to a delayed diagnosis.

Widow Unlikely to Receive Full Compensation for Death of Husband

Posted on: October 16th, 2012

The widow of a man unlawfully killed in 1999 is unlikely to see the full amount of her compensation settlement after it was revealed the men convicted of her husband´s death had limited assets.

Margaret Madden of Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon, was last week awarded 722,000 Euros compensation by the High Court in respect of the unlawful killing of her husband – Terence Madden – outside the couple´s bed and breakfast establishment thirteen years ago.

However, the combined assets of three of the men convicted of Mr Madden´s murder will amount to little more than 250,000 Euros once properties have been disposed of, and a fourth man involved in his death is understood to have no assets at all.

The claim for the unlawful killing of a spouse is the first of its kind to be resolved in Ireland and, despite the possibility that she is unlikely to receive the full amount of the award made to her, Margaret Madden said that she was relieved the civil action was over.

High Court Awards Compensation for a Familys Loss

Posted on: October 13th, 2012

The High Court has awarded 850,000 Euros compensation to the family of Evelyn Flanagan, who died in tragic circumstances after giving birth to her second child at Mayo General Hospital.

The court heard how Evelyn (38) from Castlebar, County Mayo, had given birth to her daughter Niamh in October 2007 when her condition suddenly deteriorated due to complications. Staff at the Mayo General Hospital were unable to save her life and a post-mortem shortly after suggested that Evelyn´s death was due an amniotic fluid embolism.

Evelyn´s husband – Padraic – refuted the suggested, and claimed that Evelyn had died due to a postpartum haemorrhage that was the result of a rupture of her uterus which was not detected or adequately dealt with – a claim supported by the findings of an inquest into Evelyn´s death which returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure.

Padraic Flanagan made a claim for compensation against the Mayo General Hospital and Dr Murtada Mohamed, who had been the consultant obstetrician at the delivery. Both parties initially denied their liability for Evelyn´s death but, as Mr Justice Michael Peart was told at the High Court, representatives of the Mayo general Hospital admitted during pre-trial medication that Evelyn´s death could have been avoided.

After hearing the full circumstances of Evelyn´s death, the judge awarded the family 850,000 Euros in compensation for their loss, which included compensation settlements for the two children and the maximum allowable 25,395 Euros for mental distress. The Health Service Executive was also ordered to pay Padraic Flanagan´s legal costs.

Judge Repeats Call for Introduction of Periodic Payments in Ireland

Posted on: October 12th, 2012

Ms Justice Mary Irvine has called once again for the introduction of periodic compensation payments in Ireland for cases of catastrophic injury – claiming that important cases cannot be held up any longer while the courts wait for the Government to introduce legislation.

The High Court judge said that a working group had recommended 3 and a half years ago that the legislation be introduced, but nothing had been done and there was no indication that any legislation was forthcoming.

Back in July, the judge stated at the end of a case surrounding nine-year-old Ian Cusack that “we are not protecting the welfare of the young and most vulnerable in society” when approving a 5.5 million Euro lump sum settlement and said that “barring a miracle” it was very difficult to assess the anticipated life expectancy of a claimant.

Ms Justice Irvine noted that if the life expectancy of a claimant was wrongly estimated, one of two things could happen. Either the injured victim could run out of money to provide the care they need or, as happened recently, a victim could die within a couple of months of an award being made – with their family being the recipient of a large windfall at the expense of the State.

The judge´s comments on this occasion were made when a case was brought before her at the High Court which had been adjourned in 2010 in anticipation that legislation for periodic payments in Ireland would be introduced. She said that she would not adjourn the case for another year as the Government had not brought forward legislation and there was no guarantee it was going to be forthcoming.

“I am not going to extend the hardship any further” said the judge, noting that the delay in the resolution of the case was leading to substantial suffering and making it very difficult for those involved. Ms Justice Mary Irvine added that her view was shared by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns – President of the High Court.

Settlement for Unlawful Killing Case Announced in High Court

Posted on: October 9th, 2012

A compensation settlement of 722,000 Euros is to be paid to the widow of a man unlawfully killed thirteen years ago in a grudge attack over a bed and breakfast business.

The award followed a High Court hearing in which the circumstances of Terence Madden´s murder were related to Ms Justice Mary Irvine by Mr Madden´s widow – Margaret – and other members of the Madden family.

Terence Madden had been murdered outside the family´s bed and breakfast establishment in County Sligo after a punishment-style beating was ordered by former soldier Michael Doohan whose mother ran a rival business nearby.

Doohan and two other men were convicted of Terence Madden´s murder, while a fourth man was convicted of possession of a sawn-off shotgun. Margaret Madden sued the three men and the estate of the fourth – who has since died.

After the hearing last week – which was adjourned for the assessment of damages – Margaret Madden was joined in court by her daughter Claire as Ms Justice Mary Irvine announced the settlement, which to be paid from the assets of the four men. Further awards, amounting to almost 40,000 Euros were made to Terence and Margaret´s children and Terence´s remaining siblings.



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.