Personal Injury Compensation
Posted: September 25th, 2016
A new, revised Book of Quantum will soon be published and will help to stop any current inconsistencies in the settlement of personal injuries claims in Ireland.
The original Book of Quantum was published in 2004 and contains an extensive list of potential injuries. Alongside the injuries, there is an estimate of the amount of conversation to which a claimant, who has sustained the injury through an accident that was not their fault, should receive. The book also provides some subcategories for each injury such that the severity and permanence of the injury can be accounted for.
However, as the book has not been updated in twelve years, it has been criticised recently as being out-of-date, with many solicitors, judges and insurance companies choosing not to consult the book when settling claims. Others will still consult the book, but will always award the highest estimate listed. Both of these approaches seek to avoid unfair settlements, but as there is no regulation inconsistencies have developed across the system.
As such, the Courts Services, the Injuries Board Ireland and some of Ireland’s most senior judges began collaborating on a new Book of Quantum. To do this, over 52,000 personal injuries claims in Ireland between 2013 and 2014 were analysed. With this data, new estimates were created and it is hoped that these will resolve any inconsistencies.
Two major changes were introduced. In the first, estimates were adjusted to account for the current cost of living and inflation over the last twelve years. In the second, more subcategories were introduced concerning the severity and permanence of injuries to allow for more specific awards to be made.
It should be noted that the Book of Quantum only advises on physical injuries suffered by a victim. If you have also suffered emotional trauma, financial loss or a negative impact on your quality of life, you should also be able to recover compensation. Consult an experienced personal injuries solicitor for advice on claiming personal injuries compensation.
Posted: August 4th, 2016
A twelve year-old boy has received a settlement of compensation after a Dublin creche conceded negligence in a childhood accident.
In 2007, when Calum Lawless was just three years old, he attended the Happy Days Creche in Clonee, Dublin. As he was running about in the creche, he tripped and fell over an uneven floorboard, landing flat on his face. This resulted in a three-centimetre laceration just above his eye, which was then closed at the VHI Swifcare Clinic at Dublin City University.
For a week after the accident, Calum’s eye remained closed. The area remained heavily bruised for a month after the accident. Now aged twelve, the only indication that Calum was involved in an accident is a scar above his eye – though it remains too close to the eye for plastic surgery.
Lorraine Lawless, Calum’s mother, sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Happy Days Creche. She alleged that the facility had failed to provide a safe place for her son to play, and as such breached their duty of care towards him.
The creche conceded liability for Calum’s injuries, offering him a compensation settlement of €45,000. Yet before this could be awarded, it needed to be approved by a judge.
The case proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court, Dublin, where Mr Justice James O’Donohoe was told of Calum’s accident. He then proceeded to award the settlement for Calum’s childhood injury.
Posted: October 20th, 2015
A teenager, who sustained severe burns whilst playing in a wooded area as a child, has been awarded compensation by the High Court for the injuries he sustained.
The accident happened on the 3rd July 2008, when Kurt O’Callaghan – then aged ten, from Wexford – was playing with his friends near his home. The children were playing in a wooded area, and as they were making a camp, Kurt decided to erect a “Keep Out” sign on an electricity pole. Kurt began to secure to sign to an Electricity Supply Board (ESB) pole with a nail, but the nail hit a live wire. The force of the electric shock propelled Kurt from the wall he was on, such that he could access the pole.
A passing driver rushed Kurt to a local hospital. He was then transferred to Crumlin CHildren’s Hospital in Dublin, where he spent three months. Whilst in hospital, multiple surgeries were carried out in an attempt to treat the extensive burns that Kurt had sustained on his head, neck, shoulders, hands and chest. There is a possibility that Kurt will need more surgeries in the future.
On her son’s behalf, Kurt’s mother Denise made a claim for electrocution accident compensation against the ESB. In her legal action, Denise alleged that her son had been exposed to a danger that her son had been exposed to either a known danger, or a danger that should have been known. She also alleges that the ESB were negligent in not investigating the possible danger the proximity of the wall to the electrical pole presented.
An expert witness testified that the ESB had been negligent in not identifying the dangers surrounding the pole. They also testified that a statutory requirement existed that it was a requirement to ensure that no electrical poles could be accessible to a height of three metres, and that ESB inspectors should have noted that the wall provided such access to the pole.
However, the ESB continued to deny any responsibility for Kurt’s injuries. The case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where negotiations resulted in a €70,000 settlement of compensation. The judge overseeing the case, Mr Justice Kevin Cross, noted that – given the circumstances, as Kurt could have been accused of contributory negligence – that the settlement was good.
Posted: August 7th, 2015
A man, who broke a tooth whilst eating in a restaurant, has had his compensation settlement halved after a judge determined that he contributed to his injury.
The accident occurred on the 23rd March 2015 at the Gate Clock Bar in Dublin Airport when Shane McQuillan, aged thirty-two from Swords, was eating there before a flight. Whilst eating a sausage and bacon sandwich, his right back molar fractured.
Shane sought legal counsel and subsequently made a claim for his restaurant injury. In the claim, it was alleged that the rasher of bacon in the sandwich had a very tough rind on account of the fact that it was on display for “a number of hours”. However, the owners of Gate Clock Bar denied liability for Shane’s injuries. Shane was then issued with authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue his claim through the courts.
Judge Patricia McNamara oversaw proceedings at the Swords District Court. She heard from the manager that the sandwiches were served from a steel tray that was positioned over a pan of hot water behind a glass display. The manager also testified that the food was changed every ninety minutes, but could not provide any records to support this claim.
The legal representatives of the bar claimed that – had Shane any doubts concerning the quality of the bacon – that he should not have asked to have it put in the sandwich. As such, the argued that Shane had contributed to his own injury, if the bacon was stale.
The judge also heard that Shane is yet unable to drink cold drinks and still suffers from pain in his mouth. Judge McNamara awarded Shane €6,500 in general damages and a further €2,500 in special damages for his injury.
Yet the judge said the only reason she ruled in Shane’s favour was because of the manager’s lack of records. She added that Shane “should have been careful of a crispy rasher rind”. She then assigned Shane fifty percent liability, which reduced the value of his claim to €4,500.
Posted: March 27th, 2015
A seventeen year-old boy has received a five-figure settlement of compensation for a dog bite after it was ruled that an animal rescue centre was negligent.
In November 2009, Rhys Loy was cycling home from school in Raheny, Dublin. On his way, Rhys, who was just twelve years old, at the time, was bitten by a five year-old dog that was being walked by Anecy Sholling, his foster owner.
Rhys was then taken to the Children’s University Hospital in Temple Street. He had suffered a superficial laceration to his calf, and at the hospital the cut was stitched together. However, Rhys returned t the hospital on many further occasions to have his dressings changed and his wound cleaned.
Acting on her son’s behalf, Sinead Byrne made a claim for personal injury compensation against the dog’s owners, Deidre and Gina Hetherington, who work at the PAWS animal rescue shelter in Co. Tipperary. Sinead also organised a warrant for the dog to be euthanised.
However, the Hetheringtons denied that they were liable for Rhy’s injuries. They claimed that Ms Sholling had adopted the dog, a collie named Charlie, from them many moths before he attacked Rhys. They also claimed that they did not know the location of the dog, as it went missing after it escaped the Gardai trying to execute the warrant.
The claim was heard earlier this month at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, where Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard a testimony that Ms Sholling was fostering the dog when it attacked Rhys, and that she had returned it to PAWS after the incident had occurred.
It was determined that the dog had indeed been owned by the rescue centre when it attacked Rhys, and Judge Groarke found in Rhy’s favour. He ordered Deirdre and Gina to pay Rhys €7,500 in compensation. The judge also commented that he did not believe that it was coincidental that Charlie escaped capture.