Posted: January 25th, 2018
A Garda, who sustained a disfigured fingernail injury in a work accident that involved a Garda car door slamming shut on his left small finger has appealed the refusal to allow him pursue a work place injury compensation claim.
Garda Noel Callan, who was apprehending a drunk and violent man when the incident occurred, argued that the Minister for Justice’s refusal to allow a compensation claim (under the Garda Compensation Acts) as, based on the medical reports and evidence made available to him, the injury was minor was incorrect.
The High Court heard the challenge to that refusal on Wednesday and Mr Justice Max Barrett has reserved judgment in relation to it.
Richard Kean SC, acting on behalf of Garda Callan told the Hight Court that, as per the Garda Compensation Acts, a Garda who sustains a work injury has the right to claim personal injury compensation through the courts. He added that gardai are awarded sums in cases where it is deemed appropriate.
However, Garda Callan’s legal team agreed with the fact that the Justice Minister must give permission for a work injury compensation to be take and is under no obligation. Indeed, they may refuse to do so if they feel that the injured party suffered was minor injuries.
However, the term ‘minor injury’ is not defined in the legislation. Due to this Mr Kean argued that, though the injury was not profound or significant, it still should not be referred to as a minor injury. He went on to say that the Justice Minister’s ruling was not sound and did not properly review the medical reports that were produced at the initial hearing.
The court was told that Garda Callan is right handed and received treatment on his left hand’s smallest finger. He was also absent from work for the seven days immediately after the incident occurred.
Mr Callan suffered a lacerated fingernail bed and his fingernail had to be taken off. Due to this he felt experienced constant over the following eight months including a loss of sensation and tenderness when he was driving his car and completing other everyday tasks.
Mr Kean described the incident in which Garda Callan sustained the fingernail injury when was on duty at Swords, Co Dublin, on August 26 2011. After a drunk man became violent, having being arrested in relation to public order offences, a car door slammed on Garda Callan’s left hand inflicting the injury.
The medical report submitted made reference the fact the fingernail was irregular and deformed when it grew back. Garda Callan experience ongoing pain and tenderness, more so during periods of colder weather.
Legal Representatives for the Justice Minister, opposing Garda Callan’s application argued that all the medical evidence was considered at the first hearing, including a medical report stating Garda Callan had practically fully recovered from the injury. It was because of this that the Justice Minister felt this this was a minor injury concerning the appearance of Garda Callan’s fingernail.
Judgement has been reserved by Judge Max Barrett