Claims News

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.

Man Awarded of €750k Street Assault Compensation for Cork Shop Incident

Posted on: March 6th, 2018

A man has been awarded over €750,000 Street Assault Compensation by a High Court judge.

The man, Cian McCarthy, was attempting to get back into a Cork shop as he tried to escape from potential attackers.  The shop owner denied him entry and he was later struck with a massive fist blow to the head. Mr McCarthy had earlier been escorted from the Centra store after a disagreement at the deli counter when somebody jumped the queue.

According to Justice Kevin Cross, Cian McCarthy was an innocent party and had sustained a severe brain injury in the assault outside Centra supermarket on Grand Parade, Cork city during the Cork Jazz Festival in 2011.

The Judge commented that the security guard at the shop in question should have recognised that the three individuals involved in the queue-jumping row were following Mr McCarthy and advised the second security guard on the premises of this. Justice Cross defendants’ duty of care did not end at the door of the shop.

He also ruled that in denying Mr McCarthy entry and in pushing him in the direction of danger, the defendants knew or ought to have been aware that Mr McCarthy would suffer some assault and potentially some injury.

The three people involved in the row about the queue-jumping followed Mr McCarthy out of the shop, chased him and tried to strike him with a box to the head. The judge remarked that Mr McCarthy did not resistance and backed away trying to protect himself.

Mr McCarthy escaped from the attacker and ran towards the door of the shop seeking safety. The judge said the second security guard who was not aware that Mr McCarthy was the innocent party and did not witness him being beaten and pursued outside blocked Mr McCarthy’s re-entry to the premises. Mr Justice Cross concluded the security guard pushed Mr McCarthy back towards the crowd.

The judge held the best explanation for what occurred

a combination of the security guard’s push and the grapple with the other man which caused the clash knocking a young woman who was standing outside the shop.

He added: “Unfortunately the young woman’s boyfriend intervened with a massive fist to Mr McCarthy’s head causing him to fall to the ground, crack his head and suffer a serious head and brain injury”. That man was later sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to five years jail with the last two years suspended for the assault on Mr McCarthy.

Mr Justice Cross granted a stay in the event of an appeal.

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.

Limerick Woman Awarded €25k for Finger Damaged on Water Meter Cover

Posted on: January 29th, 2018

A Limerick woman has been awarded €25,000 in damages in personal injury compensation following a fall on a damaged water meter cover outside her home in 2012.

The woman, Kirdwin Johnson (30) stated that she could not fully extend her thumb after the incident. She fractured her wrist in the incident which happened while she was cleaning on August 4, 2012.

Presiding Judge Gerald Keys was advised by Johnson that her foot became stuck as she “fell back on my arm”. He arm remained in a cast for the following five to six weeks.

Legal representative for Ms Johnson Jack Nicholas BL, asked her show the extent her injury by extending both thumbs. He (Mr Nicholas) also stated that: “The right thumb doesn’t extend as far back as the left thumb.”

It was noted in court that Ms Johnson had previously lodged a number of personal injury claims in the Circuit Court.

When asked by the legal team defending Limerick City County if she had noticed the stopcock on the footpath prior to the incident, she answered: “I have seen it but I never paid attention to it before.”

The orthopaedic consultant who examined Ms Johnson after the initial incident did not “make an issue” of the injured thumb in his report after the accident. He was not present in court.  Ms Johnson claims that she was at a graduation ceremony for her son in 2015 when she first noticed a “weakness in her thumbs”.

Ms Johnson’s injuries were reviewed by Dr Jim Fehily twice, once in September 2016 and once in December 2017. Dr Fehily said that he was of the opinion, following the examination that her (Ms Johnson’s) thumb injury was “unlikely” to be due to the fall near her house in 2012.

There was no official record of any other complaints about damage to the stopcock/meter and Judge Keys noted that there were no dates included on the original photographs presented in court. He remarked that: “I am not saying that this lady is making this up, but I have to be satisfied.” Judge Keys went on to say that the damaged stopcock was “trap for anybody and anyone who walks by” and that “you can’t leave a situation like that unattended”.

Given the evidence and arguments Judge Keys said he had “no choice but to conclude that the plaintiff succeeds” but was “not satisfied” the thumb injury was related to the fall.

He awarded Ms Johnson €25,000 in personal injury compensation.

Bettystown Playground Accident Results in €975,000 Personal Injury Compensation Award

Posted on: January 25th, 2018

A young man who fell off a child’s swing in a Bettystown, Co Meath, playground resulting in paralysed from the waist down as a result of committing what a judge described as a ‘silly act’ has been awarded received €975,000 in personal injury settlement of his High Court action against the owners of a caravan park.

Liam Daly suffered a serious spine injury when he was aged 15 after landing heavily on his back. He had fallen from a swing in a playground at the caravan park where the family’s mobile home was located in Bettystown.

The High Court heard the teenager had been swinging on a swing designed for toddlers and young children. Mr Daly is now aged 20.

Taking the personal injury compensation action through his father John Daly, Mr Daly, with an address at Nephin Road, Dublin 7, sued David, Gerard, Kenneth and Michael Lynch trading as Lynch’s Caravan Park, Bettystown, as a result of the accident on July 24, 2013.

Mr Daly alleged that the cradle seat of the swing was caused to rotate at the maximum arc position and he was thrown off. Additionally, there was an allegation that enough was not done to see that teenagers did not use the swings.

The claims were denied by the legal representatives for Lynch’s who alleged there was contributory negligence by the plaintiff in getting on to a swing which was designed for younger children and unsuitable for someone of his age.

Legal counsel for Mr Daly, Bruce Antoniotti SC, advised the court that said the Daly family had been using a mobile home at the caravan park for 10 years before the accident occurred. Liam had gone to the playground at around 7pm on the day that he sustained his injuries.

He sat on the cradle of the swing in question but, as he swung, he fell back and sustained a very serious spinal injury. He (Liam) is now wheelchair bound. Despite his injuries Mr Daly is able to drive a car and is hopeful of being employed

It stated that the protective matting at the playground was not ‘state of the art’ by Counsel who also deemed this irrelevant as it would not have made a difference whether the matting was state of the art or not.

Mr Justice Cross, in approving the personal injury compensation settlement said in all the circumstances, it was a good settlement. He stated that Liam Daly was just 15 years old at the time of the accident but the outcome of that “silly act” were very serious for him and his family.

Galway City Council Pays Out Over €4m for Personal Injury Compensation Claims Over Three Years

Posted on: December 15th, 2017

A recent report in the Galway City Tribune has revealed that the city has paid over in excess of €4 million in personal injury claim compensation since the beginning of 2015.

The huge expenditure on insurance covers public areas, as well as paying the excess on all claims that are made.

The official figures, obtained by the newspaper through a Freedom of Information request show that the cost of public liability insurance for Galway City Council was  €3.4 million over the same time period. Breaking the costs down year by year gives a figures for 2014 of €1.5 million, €1.4 million in 2015 and just less than €500,000 in 2016.

Along with to paying for insurance cover, Galway City Council also had to pay for the excess on personal injury claims. The figures for this excess amounted to €142,000 in 2016; €242,000 in 2015; and €205,000 in 2014.

A large proportion of the personal injury compensation claims are for injuries suffered in falls on the streets of the city.

As an effort to address this, it was revealed in August 2017 that the paving and cobbles on the Shop Street thoroughfare are to be replaced due to the number of people falling over and hurting themselves.

Galway City Council Representative said, at the time, that plans were in place to solve the uneven paving on the street which has been the subject of many compensation claims.

This comes on the back of a report, in March 2017 which highlighted the fact that more than €63 million was paid out in personal injury compensation by Dublin’s four local authorities in just five years.

Dublin City Council paid out the most – totaling €41,322,784.12 to 3,853 claimants from 2012 until 2016. At the time of the report a South Dublin County Council  spokeswoman said: “The majority of cases in relation to public liability cases are trips, slips and falls on footpaths/roads, or in public parks. A small number of claims are in regard to damage to property, i.e. car tyres.”

 

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

Posted on: December 6th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Dog Bite Compensation of €32,000 Paid after Schoolboy bitten by Neighbour’s dog

Posted on: November 2nd, 2017

Following being attacked and bitten in the face by a neighbour’s dog 15-year-old schoolboy, Adam Russell was today awarded €32,000 compensation for personal injuries.

Counsel for Adam Russell, Brian Sugrue, said the boy was visiting the home of Erica Deacon and Eoin Gibson in the Ballinclea Heights estate in Killiney when the dog, a Weimaraner short-haired German pointer, attacked him (Adam) at the defendant’s home.

Mr Sugrue advised Circuit Court President Justice Raymond Groarke that Adam Russell, who was 12 at the time of the attack, was bitten on his face by the dog while playing with it.

Adam, taking the compensation case through his father Colm Russell, was playing at the residence of Deacon and Gibson on 28 September 2013 when the German Pointer dog suddenly attacked and bit him.

He was rushed to the Swiftcare Clinic, Dundrum, Dublin, where the lacerations to his face were tended to. The injury inflicted to his nose was sutured and the wound just below his lower lip had been closed with surgical glue. The injury suffered to his tooth had later been treated by dentists at Dalkey Dental Clinic.

“Adam suffered three specific face wounds,” Sugrue stated.  “He sustained a significant laceration to the bridge of his nose, a puncture wound to his lower lip and a chip fracture to one of his upper teeth.”

Mr Sugrue said Adam Russell’s injured tooth would possibly need a crown in the future but part of the €32,000 dog attack compensation settlement offer took future dental work into account.

The court was told that Consultant Plastic Surgeon Patricia Eadie had examined Adam’s scars late in 2016 and said that revision surgery may be necessary. The scarring he suffered on his nose is permanent.

Judge Groarke was advised that Mr Sugrue was recommending acceptance of the €32,000 compensation offer.  He commented this was within the ball park of compensation for such injuries, though was not to be considered generous.  The compensation offer was approved will be invested in court funds until Adam Russell becomes 18 years of age in 2019 on 19 December.

Sharp Rise in Compensation Claims Against the State

Posted on: October 8th, 2017

Recent figures released show that the cost of compensation claims taken against the State rose by a massive 22% during 2016.

The increase, which brings the total cost of compensation claims to €2.2 billion, was included in 2016 accounts produced by the State Claims Agency, the Government entity which handles legal actions taken against the State. It is clear from these figures that there has been a surge in the amount of costs incurred due to legal actions involving the State in recent years.

Séamus McCarthy Comptroller and Auditor General for  the Government’s financial watchdog remarked on the consistent increase in compensation claims saying, “The number of claims under management has increased significantly since 2011”.

The figures included in this latest release show that the number of legal actions against the State given a ‘pending’ status numbered 8,900 at the end of 2016. At the end of 2011 this number was 6,000.

The total amount of compensation and legal costs paid out for legal actions against the State in 2016 was €256.2 million. In 2015 the figure was €219.3 million, showing a growth of 20% year on year. This correlates with the total number of actions taken, which grew by 24% to 2,300. There were a number of factors that contributed to this rise.

Factors Leading to Rise in Compensation Claims Against the State

  1. Compensation pay outs for legal actions taken against the child protection agency Tusla and the Health Service Executive (HSE) made up the majority (€1.9 billion) of the €2.2 billion total amount paid out.
  2. The Department of Justice and Defence, including the Gardaí, prison service and Army, was responsible for claims worth €175 million compared to €27 million for to the Department of Health.
  3. The compensation bill for the Department of Education was approximately €50 million.

The State Claims Agency was established as part of the National Treasury Management Agency(NTMA), to tackle at the increase in compensation claims being taken against the State.

Sisters´ Emotional Injury Compensation Settlement Approved

Posted on: October 5th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

€25,000 Tayto Park Fall Compensation for Boy (13)

Posted on: October 5th, 2017

The High Court has approved an injury compensation settlement of €25,000 for a boy, 13-year-old Conor Bolger, as a result of a the injuries his suffered following a fall from a playground tower at Tayto Park in March 2012.

Mr Bolger, who was just eight years old at the time of the fall, of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, filed the legal compensation claim against Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, Co Meath trading as Tayto Park, through his father Brian Bolger due the the injuries he was inflicted with in the incident on March 25, 2012. The boy underwent a surgical procedure to place pins in his lower arm after he fractured his elbow

It was argued by Mr Bolger’s legal representation that tower he was climbing was overcrowded at this time and this caused the fall. In addition to this, it was claimed, the ground surrounding the tower did not have a sufficient amount of protective wood mulch as constant inspections and safety checks were not being carried out in the area. The legal team felt that, had these measures been in place, the plaintiff’s injuries may not have been as severe.

Counsel for Tayto Park (Ashbourne Visitor Centre) David McGrath SC denied these allegation and stated the boy  was climbing the Tayto Park tower when he “just fell” and this was not due to any issue with the tower itself. Mr McGrath advised the High Court Justice Kevin Cross that that boy’s family were happy to agree to a settlement of €25,000 for Tayto Park fall compensation.

High Court Justice Cross approved the settlement, stating that Mr Bolger’s scarred elbow was not “too upsetting”. He also commented that Mr Bolger was known to enjoy playing basketball at the time of the incident and would have had difficulty doing this due to dexterity issues from the injuries.

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.

Nursing Negligence Claim Settled at Court Hearing

Posted on: September 4th, 2017

A nursing negligence claim, made by a woman who fractured her spine when she fell out of bed, has been settled at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court.

The plaintiff – a seventy-nine year old woman from Finglas in Dublin – had attended the city´s Mater Hospital for day surgery in April 2015, and was recovering from the general anaesthetic, when she attempted to get out of bed and fell – fracturing her spine in the fall.

The woman – who spent almost a month in the Mater Hospital recovering from her injuries before being transferred to the Clontarf Orthopaedic Hospital for further treatment – now has to wear a lumbar brace and use a Zimmer frame to support herself when she walks.

Having previously led an independent life, and now requiring a considerable level of care from her daughter, the woman made a nursing negligence claim against the Mater Hospital, alleging that it had failed to adhere to its fall prevention policy.

The nursing negligence claim was heard by Judge James O´Donohoe at the Circuit Civil Court, who was told by the plaintiff´s barrister the woman should have been closely monitored following a fall at her home the previous November. An expert witness on behalf of the witness testified the hospital should have been aware of her fall and recorded it in the woman´s care plan.

Judge O´Donohoe heard from the head of nursing, who explained to the judge how the accident had happened, but could not explain why the hospital´s fall prevention policy had not been adhered to or why the nurse who attended the woman after her fall had not been called to give evidence. The judge told the court the absence of the attending nurse spoke volumes.

After hearing from the plaintiff´s daughter that her mother was not the woman she had been prior to her fall, Judge O´Donohoe found in the woman´s favour – awarding her €58,500 in settlement of her nursing negligence claim, but placing a stay on €28,500 of the settlement pending an appeal from the Mater Hospital.

Car Crash Injury Settlements Upheld after Court Hearing

Posted on: August 2nd, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Former Scout Leader Sentenced for Sexual Assault of a Teenager

Posted on: July 14th, 2017

A former scout leader has been given a suspended sentence for the historic sexual assault of a teenager that occurred during a camping trip near Waterford.

In June 1976, a small group of teenage boys arrived in Waterford to be taken on a camping trip to nearby Cheekpoint by their scout leader. When the camp was set up, the scout leader – who is now in his 70s and cannot be named as it would identify his victim – called one of the boys into his tent and started tickling him, touching the fourteen-year-old boy inappropriately in the process.

The incident was not reported until 2013, when the victim – now aged 54 years – made a complaint to the gardaí. He claimed that the sexual assault resulted in him suffering nightmares, drinking excessively and taking anti-depressants for 28 years. It was also alleged his business had suffered as a result of the inappropriate actions of his former scout leader.

When questioned by the gardaí, the former scout leader – who has no previous convictions of any nature – admitted the sexual assault of a teenager and was charged with the offence. He subsequently resigned from his position on the board of management at UCC and was placed on the sexual offenders list – due to which he no longer has access to his grandchildren.

At the sentencing hearing at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Eugene O´Kelly heard the defence´s barrister describe the event as “an isolated incident from many years ago” for which the former scout leader was extremely sorry. He was also told that the former scout leader has already paid his victim more than €7,500 compensation for the sexual assault of a teenager.

Judge O´Kelly said he believed there was a “significant element of remorse” by the former scout leader and, initially sentencing him to twenty months in prison, the judge reduced the sentence to fifteen months to take into account that the sexual assault of a teenager took place more than forty years ago and was a one-off offence. He subsequently suspended the sentence for three years.

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.

Failures and Delays in Diagnoses Top Emergency Room Negligence Claims

Posted on: June 5th, 2017

Failures and delays in diagnosing illnesses and injuries accounted for more than half of the emergency room negligence claims made between 2010 and 2014.

Last week the State Claims Agency released its review of “National Clinical Incidents, Claims and Costs” covering the period between 2010 and 2014. In the publication, the nature of clinical incidents is categorised into medical, surgical, maternity, disability or elderly care. Within each category, the reasons for the most common clinical negligence claims are listed.

Within the medical negligence category, a sub-category has been created to account for clinical incidents in hospital emergency rooms and the claims that result when an adverse outcome has occurred. At the top of the list is the failure to diagnose an illness or injury and, once the number of delayed diagnoses is taken into account, the two combined account for more than 60% of emergency room negligence claims.

Overall there were more than four times as many claims for a failure or delay in diagnosing an injury or illness as there were in the second most common reason for emergency room negligence claims – the failure to treat or a delay in treatment. Other motives provided for emergency room negligence claims included foreign objects left inside a patient, soft tissue damage during the administration of treatment and avoidable reactions to known allergens.

The reasons given for their being such a high proportion of emergency room negligence claims related to diagnostic failures were the failure to perform a radiograph (or interpret the results correctly) in the case of a fracture, and incomplete medical examinations in other illness and injury scenarios. Other areas of concern included incomplete patient note taking and a lack of communication.

The aim of the review – according to the review´s lead author Dr Dubhfeasa Slattery – is to improve patient safety by analysing the most common areas of failure and implementing measures to improve patient care. It is hoped that this process – described by Dr Slattery as a “learning health system” – has a positive effect in relation to the treatment received in hospital emergency rooms and leads to a reduction in emergency room negligence claims.

Compensation for the Abuse of a Toddler at a Creche Approved at the Circuit Civil Court

Posted on: May 24th, 2017

A settlement of compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche has been approved by a judge at the Circuit Court in favour of a six-year-old girl.

Between September 2012 and January 2013, the young girl attended the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, County Dublin. During her time in the Toddlers Room at the creche, her parents were concerned the girl would cry “No creche. No creche” each morning as they were getting her ready to attend. Their concerns increased when she started showing signs of anxiety and distress.

Her mother discusses her concerns with the carer responsible, and told her the girl was often withdrawn and tired when she was collected from the creche and experienced sleep disturbances at night. The carer told the girl´s mother she was receiving an appropriate level of care under her supervision and there was no reason to be concerned.

However, a few months later, the RTE documentary “A Breach of Trust” showed the same carer abusing children at the creche. The girl´s parents sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche on the grounds she had suffered stress and emotional upset due to the negligence of the creche and the creche´s failure to adequately supervise its staff.

Liability was denied but, in July 2015, an offer to settle the claim for €15,000 without an admission of liability was made. The offer went to the Circuit Court for approval, but was thrown out by Judge James O´Donohue, who said the proposed settlement of compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche was inappropriate in relation to the level of injury the girl was alleged to have suffered.

After a period of renegotiation, a new offer of settlement was made – this time for €23,000. Details of the offer and the circumstances of the girl´s injury were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court earlier this week and – after he was assured there was no serious risk to the young girl´s future psychological development – the judge approved the settlement of compensation for the abuse of a toddler at a creche.



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.