Irish Injury Claims News
Posted: August 19th, 2019
The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has made public the results of a study into the retention of information gathered of information during the application process for the Public Services Card (PSC) by the State which has deemed the practice was illegal.
The DPC revealed that PSC application scheme does not adhere with the transparency requirements of the data protection acts due to the amount of information that is provided by Department of Social Welfare applicants who have their private data processed. The data that the Department is holding on more than three million card holders must now be destroyed and the practice of data processing (by the Department) must be stopped within three weeks to avoid any potential sanctions being applied.
The DPC released a statement which read”Ultimately, we were struck by the extent to which the scheme, as implemented in practice, is far-removed from its original concept,” the DPC said in a statement published on its website.
“Whereas the scheme was conceived as one that would make it easier to access (and deliver) public services, with chip-and-pin type cards being used for actual card-based transactions, the true position is that no public sector body has invested in the technology capable of reading the chip that contains the encrypted elements of the Public Sector Identity dataset. Instead, the card has been reduced to a limited form of photo-ID, for which alternative uses have then had to be found.”
Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon also commented on the controversy saying: “The whole idea of the Public Services Card is that the Minister only issues one after a ‘Safe2’ process, which involves a face to face interview, bringing along identity documentation you already have and supporting documentation like utility bills, proof of address and so on.”
Following its introduction the PSC was used for the processing of social welfare payments. Subsequent to this it was a requirement in the for applying for a range of other services including first-time adult passport applicants, replacement of lost, stolen or damaged passports issued before January 2005, where the person is resident in the State, citizenship applications, driving test and driver licence appointments.
The scandal does not mean that the PSC will no longer be valid for all of these services. Dixon said: “The Department is retaining [this] indefinitely. So we have said if identity is authentication, such that the Minister is satisfied to issue the public services card, then there is no basis for retaining indefinitely all of that [utility bills, ID proofs etc]. It seems to defy the logic of the card.”
“Any cards that have been issued, their validity is not in question by anything we’ve found in this report,” she said. “They can continue to be used in the context of availing of free travel or availing of benefits that a person is claiming from the department.”
Civil society groups including Digital Rights Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Age Action objected to its introduction are said to be thinking about submitting a class-action style case in relation to this data breach.
On its official Twitter account Digital Rights Ireland greeted the report stating: “We welcome @dpcireland’s observation that the PSC morphed from a cryptographic token designed to enhance security for citizens, into a photo id card with no particular purpose, but for which various alternative uses had to be found to justify its existence. We note that @welfare_ie tried its best to use spin, expensive PR campaigns, and hectoring of newsrooms to provide a basis for the PSC. They had to, because there was no legal basis, and limited political support.”
There is a good chance that there will be other compensation claims submitted in relation to this in the coming weeks and months.
Posted: July 25th, 2019
Dublin-based childcare group Hyde and Seek are bracing themselves for coming creche scandal compensation claims, government agency investigations and criminal convictions after an RTE Investigates report uncovered multiple cases of child maltreatment and breaches of childcare management legislation.
The report showed a range of illegal and unprofessional work practices in the four crechés owned and operated by the group. Ahead of the airing of the show one of the owners of Hyde and Seek, Anne Davy, has stepped down from frontline work with immediate effect.
This is not the first time that Ms Davy has found herself answering for breaches of childcare legislation as she was convicted in 2004 after her staff left a three-year-old boy on his own at a local playground. Following this, in 2007, she was convicted for breaching child care requirements including child to adult ratios and failing to keep adequate records. Following these convictions Davy’s company changed name on three separate occasions.
As part of the report, two undercover childcare workers were sought employment at crèches managed by the Hyde and Seek chain for RTÉ Investigates. They discovered serious violations of legislation, best childcare practice and required safety procedures. Child Protection Agency Tusla had completed 11 inspections at the facilities since September 2017 and, despite passing these reviews, children were being badly treated and place at serious risk in the event of fire.
Babies were seen to be left in high chairs for considerable periods of time which lead to them to becoming very stressed. One child was placed by themself in a room with the door closed due to perceived bad behaviour. The reporters also recorded incidents of poor food quality and inappropriate staff to child ratios.
This was only the beginning as it was seen that new staff, including one of the undercover reporters, was allowed to begin employment before they were appropriately Garda vetted. Sleeping conditions were another area of some worry as infants were placed to sleep on bouncers and there was not enough space between the cots to allow child care staff monitor the children.
Tusla issued a statement saying: “We recognise and share the serious concerns the programme raises about the quality of care within these crèches, but more importantly the impact of concerning adult behaviours on children.” The body will review the case and apply sanction up to and including criminal prosecutions and removing Hyde & Seek creches from the childcare register.
The Hyde & Seek group release a public statement commiting to their efforts to improve their practices. It said: “We know we need to work to rebuild, retain and enhance the trust our parents have in us. We have spoken to many of them in recent days and would urge others with concerns to contact us. We are available to talk to and meet parents at any time. We note that while the programme made criticisms of aspects of our service, it praised our childcare staff whose dedication, professionalism and kindness are central to the care we provide.”
Speaking in relation to the incident, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I think I speak for everybody in the country when I say that I was really appalled by what we saw on Prime Time in relation to the way that children were treated,” said Mr Varadkar in Donegal tonight. And I know that a lot of parents dropping their kids off to crèche or to preschool this morning must have been that little bit more worried or that little bit more nervous than they would be normally.”
It is likely that the Hyde and Seek group will now be facing a number of creche scandal compensation claims from parents and guardians of the children who were attending the Hyde and Seek crechés.
Posted: June 12th, 2019
A restaurant has been directed to pay €20,000 in workplace discrimination compensation to a gay bar manager his boss referred to him as ‘queer’ almost every day at work.
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was given a number of examples by the bar manager of time when he was subject to offensive comments from his two bosses.
‘Director A’ spoke most of the comments to the bar manager and WRC Adjudication Officer, Marian Duffy commented: “I cannot comprehend how senior managers in a workplace would consider it acceptable to call such offensive names or make such offensive comments to a gay man.”
She went on to say: “I am satisfied that it is a breach of their trust and duty of care towards their employee to create and tolerate such a degrading and offensive work environment.”
Ms Duffy dismissed the restaurant’s argument that the terms used to describe the bar manager as “banter”.
Ms Duffy has directed the restaurant to pay the bar manager €20,000 after ruling that he was harassed on the basis of his sexual orientation in the workplace. She also said that staff training should conducted to prevent harassment on the nine grounds of discrimination under the Employment Equality Acts.
There were three witnesses to present evidence on behalf of the restaurant and they all claimed that they did not witness any derogatory comments directed towards the bar manager.
In January 2018, the bar manager was given a letter advising him that he was being made redundant. He told the WRC that he was of the opinion that he was being let go due to his sexual orientation. However, Ms Duffy dismissed this argument as his position was made redundant. The restaurant advised the WRC that the bar manager was made redundant because the business was not profitable.
Posted: May 30th, 2019
A personal injury compensation claim against Ryanair in relation to an accident where an 8-year-old girl had hot chocolate spilled on her has been settled for €150,000.
The eight-year-old American girl, Sriya Venkata, suffered second-degree scald burns when a cup of hot chocolate fell on to her during a Ryanair flight.
The young girl, American Sriya Venkata Neti was on a flight from Rome to Krakow on a Ryanair flight with her parents when the hot hot chocolate in her paper cup fell on top of her as she was trying to drink the beverage.
Taking the legal action through her father Srinivas Neti, Sriya Venkata Neti sued Ryanair in relation to the accident that occurred on June 25, 2016.
The court was told that Sriya was burned on her thighs and buttocks and has been left with scarring. Srinivas Neti, submitted an affidavit to the court, which said that the scarring has now substantially receded. In the affidavit he also said that his daughter has made an excellent recovery and the condition of her injuries has greatly improved.
During the personal injury compensation hearing Sriya’s Counsel Hugh Mohan SC told the High Court the little girl suffered serious burns.
An official medical report was provided to the court which stated that the hot liquid gathered on the girl’s chair leading to extreme burning pain and the child’s mother had to unfasten the child from the seat and her clothing had to be removed. Her mother told the court that her daughter’s skin disappeared from the area where the liquid landed and blisters were forming in other places.
When they arrived in Krakow the girl was quickly airlifted to hospital and was then taken to Toronto, Canada where she spent another eight days being medically treated as an outpatient. Once her treatment was completed she was returned home to California.
In the claim it was alleged the the cabin crew did not act lead to the burns suffered being worsened. In particular, it was claimed that there was no attempt to provide any or any sufficient means of cooling the burns worsened the injuries in a major way. Ryanair denied all the allegations.
In approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross told the Court that it
must have been very sore when Sriya was scalded and also remarked that the young girl has been left with scarring regardless of the fact that she has made a good recovery.
Posted: April 22nd, 2019
An agreement has been reached to to pay €3,500 in compensation to a man with a brain tumour who was asked to leave a licensed premises after he was mistaken for being intoxicated.
At the time the man was in the pub celebrating the end of rehabilitative treatment for his brain injury. He was also suffering from a bad limp due to his condition. However, staff of the premises mistook took this as a sign that he was drunk and asked him to leave, despite his best efforts at explaining the reasons for this.
The man, who was provided with legal representation by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), said that the incident had “caused him significant distress and embarrassment.” he made an application to the District Court for redress under the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003.
Once an apology was issued, the matter was settled without court hearing after the licensed premises agreed to pay the man €3,500 compensation.
In addition to this, the management of the licensed premises have committed to attending an annual equality training course. There was no admission of liability required.
An IHREC spokesman said: “In addition, the licensed premises also agreed to provide a policy on treating all customers equally and making reasonable accommodation for customers with disabilities in line with obligations under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 and Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003,”
IHREC chief commissioner Emily Logan said: “As this case demonstrates, issues arising from brain injury should not mean you risk discrimination when out socialising. It is important that people providing services are trained and supported by employers in understanding the varied needs of their customers.”
She added that “the Intoxicating Liquor Act is acting as barrier for people in accessing justice when they face discrimination” because it says that they must take their case to the District Court, a course of action which necessitates legal representation. Ms Logan urged for these cases to be heard in the non-court setting of the Workplace Relations Commission in future.
Posted: February 24th, 2019
A four-year-old child has been awarded €45,000 compensation in relation to an accident she was involved in, in a Tesco store, when only at 20 weeks gestation in her mother’s womb.
The young girl, Siwan Stewart, was represented in the Circuit Civil Court court by barrister David K. McGrath who told Judge Eoin Garavan that the unborn baby girl, who is now just three months short of her fifth birthday, sustained injuries when her mother was struck by her shopping trolley which came to a sudden stop on a Tesco travelator.
Mr McGrath informed the Judge that Siwan’s mother, Elaine, crashed into her own shopping trolley when it halted unexpectedly on the travelator in Tesco’s at the Bloomfield Shopping Centre, Lower George’s Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, in February 2013.
Presiding Judge Garavan said that this was the first time he had dealt with the injury of an unborn child and the sort of one which, to the best of his knowledge, had not come before the court before.
Mr McGrath told Judge Garavan that when Siwan was delivered in May 2013 it was noticed that she had haemolytic disease of the newborn, a sort of jaundice and had to be treated medically in a special unit for just under seven days. A consultant had linked Siwan’s condition to the travelator accident that involved her mother in Tesco’s.
Following her initial filing of the personal injury compensation action on her daughter’s behalf, Ms Elaine Stewart, of Claremont Road, Sandymount, Dublin was offered a travelator injury compensation settlement offer of €45,000.
The Circuit Civil Court was also told that Ms Stewart’s other daughter Adelaide, who was three at the time and had fallen and struck her head on the travelator in the same accident, has been offered a personal injury Tescos compensation settlement of €28,000. Mr McGrath was recommending that the Judge approve both offers.
Mrs Stewart made no claim herself in relation to her own involvement in the accident, she only claimed against Tescos on her own behalf but only on behalf of her children. Judge Garavan approved both settlements and referred to the two offers as ‘very good’.
Posted: January 23rd, 2019
A 36-year-old Chinese woman who sustained a significant head injury when she was involved in a collision with a bus as she was crossing a road despite the red light showing for pedestrians has settled a pedestrian accident compensation claim for €250,000 in the High Court.
Shu Zhang, who is once again able to walk but still requires full time care, sustained the brain injury in an incident where a Bus Eireann bus crashed into her at Aston Quay, Dublin in 2004. She took the legal action through her aunt Shao Ze.
Ms Zhang was knocked unconscious after she was thrown up into the air and landed on the ground close to the back wheels of the bus. Ms Zhang was in a coma for eight or nine days after the road traffic accident.
She claimed that the Bus Eireann driver made no attempt to prevent the accident and also that he was driving without any adequate regard for the presence and position of other vehicles or pedestrians. Bus Eireann denied these claims and contended that the claimant walked out from the crowd suddenly and into the path of the bus. This was despite the fact that pedestrian light at Aston Quay crossing was red.
Barrister Jerry Healy SC told the court that Ms Zhang was 22 years of age when the accident took place and that another individual, a male, had crossed the road slightly before Ms Zhang. He informed Justice Kevin Cross that Ms Zhang had first arrived in Ireland in 2003 and was a student and a part time care assistant.
Justice Cross explained to Ms Zhang’s family, who travelled from China to care for their daughter after the accident, that had the case gone to trial she may have lost and she could end up with nothing at all. The family had previously expressed some dissatisfaction with the settlement sum proposed.
A number of witnesses said that they had seen Ms Zhang push her way past bystanders before going out onto the road. Justice Cross told Ms Zhang’s family that the witnesses were willing to testify and their potential testimony could see the claimant could lose the case and receive no personal injury compensation.
Posted: December 3rd, 2018
The operators of the Luas and Irish Rail have revealed that there has been more than 110 incidents of tram/train surfing recorded on their services in and around Dublin since 2014.
This activity, which involves a person grabbing on to the exterior of a carriage as it departs a platform, came to public attention in October 2018 when 20-year-old Rebecca Kelly was awarded €550,000 in rail injury compensation for sustaining a significant brain injury in a fall. The accident in question occurred when she was a teenager and fell from the Luas that she was clinging onto.
In the accident Ms Kelly hit her head on the tracks and needed to be dragged out of the way of another tram that was approaching the platform.
In the last few weeks, a Freedom of Information request has revealed that over 35 cases of tram surfing have been registered on Luas services since 2014.
Transdev Representative Ms Dervla Brophy said: “Tram surfing can be fatal. We have had a very small number of incidents of people trying to ‘scut’ and all staff are trained to be vigilant, observe and report. The public have reported [cases] too. Any activity or even potential concern that is reported – trams will be stopped, security and or gardai called. The risk of serious injury is very high. We show CCTV of various incidents that have occurred along the lines. The purpose is to request parents know where their kids are and if they are on the lines, they’re aware just how dangerous their playground might be.”
In response to a separate Freedom of Information Irish Rail stated that 87 incidents of train surfing have been registered 2016. In the past three years 12 train surfing incidents occurred on the Northern commuter route linking Dublin and Dundalk. All of the officially recorded incidents happened on the services provided by the Dart commuter link.
Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny, commenting on the revelations, stated: “On board staff, station staff and security personnel are vigilant in ensuring we respond with security or garda support. Extra security patrols this year are yielding a reduction in the number of incidents.”
Irish Rail also made public that they have made some changes to the exterior of the Dart fleet of 76 carriages to make them more difficult to hold onto in a bid to halt the train surfing efforts.
Posted: November 1st, 2018
A factory worker who experienced a fall to the ground resulting a severe ankle injury when he attempted to shift a trapped bin has been awarded €224,000 workplace injury compensation at the High Court.
Tomasz Zdejszy was employed at a refuse collection business when he suffered permanent damage on his ankle. Mr Zdejzy experienced fall of nine feet to the ground on April 2012 at the business park in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
In passing judgement Justice Michael Hanna stated that the 37-year-old man had climbed up a waste paper container to release a bin by kicking it. The Judge said that Mr Zdejszy had begun to climb down when a colleague gave him a metal bar to help with moving the bin.
In his workplace injury compensation case against his employer Stewart Foil Ltd, Tomasz claimed that there had been a failure to ensure the safe and proper removal of an obstacle to waste collection when Mr Zdejszy was required to work at a dangerous height.
In the workplace fall compensation action taken against Panda Waste Services, said that he was asked to remove or move a rubbish bin on a waste container while working at a height. He also said that he was given an inappropriate tool, a metal bar, to accomplish this task.
Justice Hanna found there was 20% contributory negligence charged to Mr Zdejszy as he did not employ sufficient care with regard to his own safety. The judge stated that Stewart Foil Ltd were 66% responsible and Panda Waste Services 33% responsible for the accident.
Judge Hanna remarked that Mr Zdejszy had suffered a typical injury for the fall in question, with a severe break of the right side of his foot, down into his ankle joint. This fracture resulted in him developing arthritis on the joint, which required surgical fusion. Mr Zdejszy had permanent loss of movement in his ankle, a loss of heel height of approximately one inch on the injured side and has been left with constant pain.
Posted: October 11th, 2018
€15,000 shopping centre injury compensation has been awarded to an 83-year-old mad who was injured in a fall when his shopping trolley got stuck on a travelator.
Judge Sarah Berkeley in the Circuit Civil Court was advised that John Ansell of Listrolin, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny was travelling on a moving walkway at the Showgrounds Shopping Centre in Clonmel, Co Tipperary when the incident caused him to fall backwards, injuring his neck and shoulder and his left hand.
Mr Ansell told the Circuit Court that he had been going with the trolley from the Iceland Store, after he had paid for his shopping, towards the second-level car park and decided to use the travelator. When he was about to leave the travelator the trolley suddenly got stuck. Mr Ansell attempted to free the trolley but it his efforts were in vain as the moving walkway kept running. People closeby came and aided him in releasing the trolley but it shifted sideways suddenly and flung him backwards.
The shopping centre accident compensation action was taken against the two receivers who control the assets of MK 1 Property Investments, the owners of Iceland and Ennis Lifts who maintain the travelator.
Judge Berkeley was given a presentation from from four experts who sought to assign blame for the poor working of the moving walkway and the Iceland shopping trolley.
Judge Berkeley referred to the fact that Mr Ansell had no trouble with the shopping trolley until he was leaving the travelator. She went on to say that Mr Ansell was 100% not to blame for the accident that occurred. The judge said that he accepted the testimony of Mr Ansell’s wife, Karen, that the shopping centre manager had told her about a similar accident had happened just one week before her husband’s accident. As a result of this the judge deemed Mr Ansell’s accident as foreseeable and criticised the failure of the shopping centre management to address the condition of the moving walkway after the first incident.
As Ennis Lifts had completed the obligations of their maintenance contract the judge awarded the €15,000 shopping centre accident compensation award jointly against the owners of Iceland and the two receivers.