Claims News

House Damage Compensation of €54,000 Awarded to Woman Following Oil Leak

Posted on: November 28th, 2019

A woman who had to live in temporary accommodation for two years after an oil spillage from a neighbour’s tank damaged the structure of her house has been awarded €54,000 at the High Court.

A personal injury compensation action was submitted by Ms Davies against her neighbour Margaret O’Leary who was living in a house on a elevated area to the rear of Ms Davies’ house. Ms O’Leary expressed the view that she was not liable for damage to the property as there had been a settlement for the costs of repairs to the house payments for different accommodation for Ms Davies and her family.

Mr Justice Meenan did not accept claims by Ms Davies that Ms O’Leary had deliberately withheld the truth from her when Ms Davies originally spoke to her about the oil spill. He awarded her €54, 204, made up of €12,500 general compensation and €41, 704 special compensation.

In awarding the sum Justice Meenan said while Ms O’Leary had not been asked to give evidence he was satisfied that she had acted responsibly when she became aware the leak was coming from her tank. The measures she took to address this included getting the oil removed swiftly and contracting environmental experts to overlook the damage caused.

Ms Davies told the court the leak took place early during the morning after they had been experiencing a considerable amount of rain at the start of 2013. She said that she went to Ms O’Leary’s asked her over the intercom about the incident as Ms O’Leary did allow her to enter. Ms O’Leary told Ms Davis that she did not have an oil leak but would get it checked as soon as she could. Some time after this Ms Davies said she saw what looked like a group of men emptying the oil tank.

Ms O’Leary, when contacted by Ms Davies, said that her that she was  just having the oil removed as a precautionary step and maintained that there was no oil leak on her tank. Within five minutes of this conversation happening Ms Davies was called by Ms O’Leary’s son Jarlath who also told her “there was no oil leaking and the emptying of the tank was solely precautionary.”

The judge was given information that it was necessary, for the repair work to be completed, for the ground floor to be cut up “like a piece of fudge” so the substructure could be mended.

Mr Justice  Meenan did not allow Ms Davies’ claim for aggravated damages as, he said, there was no basis for having included them in the statement of claim.


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