Personal Injury Compensation
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
Posted: December 15th, 2017
A recent media report has showed that Galway city has spent over €4 million in personal injury claim compensation since the start of 2015.
The huge outlay on insurance covers liability in all public areas, as well as covering the excess necessary on all compensation claims that are taken. The figures for this excess amounted to €142,000 in 2016; €242,000 in 2015; and €205,000 in 2014.
These figures, obtained by the Connacht Tribune newspaper through a Freedom of Information request, indicate that the cost of public liability insurance for Galway City Council was €3.4 million over the period in question. The costs, when view year on year are €1.5 million for 2014, €1.4 million in 2015 and just less than €500,000 in 2016.
A large party of the injury compensation actions taker were for injuries from in falls on the streets of Galway city.
It was revealed, in August 2017, that Galway City Council is now replacing the paving and cobbles on the Shop Street thoroughfare due to the high number of people falling over and hurting themselves badly.
A spokesperson for Galway City Council that plans had been made to address the uneven paving on the streets of the town which has been the cause of a number of compensation claims.
This follows from march 2017 report which highlighted the fact that over €63 million was paid out in personal injury compensation claims by Dublin’s four local authorities in a five-year period
Dublin City Council paid out the most personal injury compensation, €41,322,784.12 to 3,853 claimants for the time period 2012-16. At the time of the report a South Dublin County Council Representative 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.”
Posted: November 2nd, 2017
15-year-old schoolboy Adam Russell was today awarded €32,000 compensation for personal injuries after being attacked and bitten in the face by a neighbour’s German Pointer dog
Legal Representations for Mr Russell, Barrister Brian Sugrue, claimed the boy was at the home of Erica Deacon and Eoin Gibson in the Ballinclea Heights estate in Killiney, Co Dublin when the dog, a Weimaraner short-haired German pointer, attacked him (Adam).
Circuit Court President Justice Raymond Groarke was told by Mr Sugrue that Adam Russell, who was 12 years old at the time of the attack, was attacked and bitten on his face by the dog while trying to play with it.
Adam, taking the legal compensation case through his father Colm Russell, was playing at the house belonging to Deacon and Gibson on 28 September 2013 when the German Pointer dog suddenly bit him.
He was taken, for treatment, to the Swiftcare Clinic, Dundrum, Dublin, where the cut to his face were dealt with by physicians. His nose injury was sutured and the wound just under his lower lip had been closed with surgical glue. The tooth injury suffered was later treated by dentists at Dalkey Dental Clinic.
Adam Russell’s injured tooth would possibly, according to Mr Sugrue, need a crown in the future but part of the €32,000 dog attack compensation settlement offer took future dental work into consideration.
Consultant Plastic Surgeon Patricia Eadie had examined Adam’s scars in 2016 and the court was told that revision surgery may have to take place. The scarring on his nose is permanent.
Judge Groarke was told that Mr Sugrue was approving acceptance of the €32,000 child injury compensation offer. Mr Groarke said that, while not generous, this offer was within the normal range of compensation for such dog attack injuries. The dog attack compensation offer was approved and will be invested in court funds until December 19 2019 when Adam Russell becomes 18 years of age.
Posted: October 12th, 2017
The High Court has approved a personal injury compensation settlement for €25,000 in relation to a 2012 accident that involved an 8-year-old boy being injured following a fall from a playground tower.
Conor Bolger, now aged 13, of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, took a child injury compensation action against Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, Co Meath (trading as Tayto Park) through his father Brian Bolger. He (Conor) had to have pins inserted in his lower arm when he fractured his elbow in the fall that occurred on March 25 2012.
The Bolger family’s legal team claimed that there was overcrowding on the playground tower when Conor fell and this caused the accident. Additionally, they claimed that the area surrounding the playground tower had insufficient protective wood chips on the ground, a measure designed to protect individuals from injury in the event of a fall. They also claimed that the regularity of appropriate safety inspections was insufficient and that this contributed to the extent and severity of the injuries Conor suffered.
Ashbourne Visitor Centre (Tayto Park) legal counsel David McGrath SC dismissed these claims stating that Mr Bolger “just fell” and there were no safety concerns regarding overcrowding on the tower at the time of the incident. Conor Bolger’s family, the court was advised, were happy with the proposed €25,000 child injury compensation settlement.
High Court Justice Kevin Cross approved the child injury compensation settlement and commented that Conor’s scar, due to the insertion of the pins to treat the fractured elbow, was not “too upsetting”. Justice Cross also said, in his approval, that he (Conor) would have been affected due to being unable to play basketball for a duration of time after the accident operation.
Posted: July 6th, 2017
An award of jogger injury compensation has been increased to account for the upset the plaintiff suffered when accused of making a fraudulent claim.
In September 2011, the twenty-four year old jogger was returning to the Clondalkin caravan site in Dublin when he tripped on a hole in the footpath and fell – fracturing the knuckle of a finger in his right hand. He subsequently had to undergo surgery for his injury, which has left him with a permanent scar.
The man claimed jogger injury compensation from South Dublin County Council – the owners of the land on which the accident occurred – but the council disputed liability for his injury, alleging that the jogger – who was also an amateur boxer – had injured his knuckle in a boxing match.
The claim for jogger injury compensation went to the High Court where it was heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr. During cross-examination, the council´s legal representatives argued the man had suffered soft tissue injuries in a car accident the previous day and would not have been out jogging the following morning.
They repeated their allegations that the injury had been sustained in a boxing match, and insinuated through their questioning of the plaintiff that the jogger injury compensation claim was fraudulent. However, Judge Barr accepted the evidence of a medical witness giving testimony on behalf of the plaintiff that the man was just trying to run off his soft tissue injury.
The judge concluded this was a “credible explanation” for why the man had been out jogging and found in the plaintiff´s favour. Judge Barr added there was no evidence to suggest the jogger was making a fraudulent claim, and awarded him €55,000 jogger injury compensation plus a further €5,000 in aggravated damages for the upset caused by the council´s unjustified allegations.
Posted: April 18th, 2017
A judge has approved a settlement of compensation made to a young girl after an accident in a swimming pool left her with a visible scar on her face.
In August 2012, a young girl (eight years old at the time of the incident)was on a family holiday to the Sol Principe Hotel in Torremolinos on the Costa Del Sol. While the girl was swimming in the hotel´s pool, another guest dived into the pool, landing on top of her. This pushed her to the bottom of the pool, causing her chin to collide with the tiles, cutting it.
The girl received on-site medical attention, and was taken by her family to a local medical clinic.The cut to her chin was cleaned and seristrips were applied to the wound. As a result of the accident, the girl suffered pain, distress and discomfort. She was left with a pale scar on her chin, 1 cm in length. The family sought legal counsel, and through her father she claimed compensation for a Spanish swimming pool accident against the hotel and the travel agent through whom the holiday had been booked.
In the claim for compensation for a Spanish swimming pool accident, it was alleged the hotel – and, by association, the travel agent – had been negligent and failed in its breach of duty by failing to take adequate precautions while guests were using the swimming pool. It was also alleged there was a lack of adequate supervision of the fellow guest that had dived into the pool, and more staff on site would have prevented the accident from occurring.
The defendants denied liability, and a full defence was entered against the claim. It was also argued that the case should be heard in Spain, rather than in Ireland, because of the location in which it took place. However, at the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Raymond, heard that an initial offer of settlement amounting to €5,000 compensation for a Spanish swimming pool accident had been made by the two defendants, without admission of liability.
The offer of settlement was of a value that would be offered to the girl if the family were to successfully bring a claim in Spain. Judge Groarke heard that the offer had been since increased to €12,500 after initially being rejected by the family. Due to continued disputes of liability, the family had agreed to accept the increased offer. The judge said, in the circumstances he was happy to approve the settlement of compensation for a Spanish swimming pool accident.
Posted: March 16th, 2017
A young girl has received compensation for an injury she sustained while swimming in a pool while on holiday with her family in Spain.
A Spanish holiday injury claim was made following an accident which involved a young girl in the swimming pool of the Sol Principe Hotel in Torremolinos. The girl, who was eight-years-old at the time of the incident, had been swimming in the pool when another holidaymaker dived in. Unfortunately the fellow guest landed on top of the girl and forced her to the bottom of the pool. Her chin impacted with the tiles, cutting it open.
Alarmed, girl´s father took her to a local medical centre, where the injury was treated. with steristrips. The family sought legal counsel on return to Ireland. On his daughter’s behalf, the man made a Spanish holiday injury claim against the owners of the Sol Principe Hotel and, by association, the Irish travel agent through whom the family holiday had been booked.
In the claim, it was alleged there had been a failure by the hotel to take adequate safety precautions while guests were using the pool, and thus they had directly failed to prevent the young girl’s injury. It was further claimed that the accident could have been prevented with adequate supervision and, that as a result of the accident, the girl had suffered pain and discomfort and experienced a disturbance of her social and recreational life. The family’s holiday had been ruined as a result of her injury.
The allegations were denied by the defendants and a full defence entered against the Spanish holiday injury claim. Despite denying liability, an offer of compensation based on what the family would receive if the claim was successfully heard in Spain was made. This offer was declined. The two legal teams entered a period of negotiation, after which a second offer of settlement was forthcoming. The offer of €12,500 being accepted by the family following the advice of their solicitor.
As the Spanish holiday injury claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in her best interests. Consequently, the case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The circumstances of the accident and details of the offer were related to Judge Groarke. After hearing that the girl had a 1cm scar on her chin as a result of the accident, but liability may be in doubt if the case went to a full hearing, Judge Groarke said he was happy to approve the settlement in the circumstances.
Posted: February 17th, 2017
A musician who sustained injuries to her neck and arm in an accident between two taxis has received compensation in what the judge called an “exceptional case”.
On March 8th 2012, a musician from Ardnacrusha in County Clare – was a passenger in a taxi when it was rear-ended on Wexford Street in Dublin by another taxi. Despite the low-speed collision, woman suffered pain in her neck and right shoulder as a result of the accident. She sought medical attention from her GP the day following the incident. She was diagnosed with soft-tissue damage, and was prescribed painkillers for her injury.
When the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim, the negligent taxi driver accepted liability for causing the accident and her injuries. However, the amount of the assessment, and thus the value of compensation, was rejected by the woman. She claimed the proposed settlement of compensation for an injury in a taxi accident did not reflect the full consequences of her injury, and in particular did not reflect her reduced ability to play music.
The Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the woman to pursue her claim against the negligent taxi driver in court. The case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The judge heard how the pain in her right shoulder prevented the woman from practising her violin several hours a day, as she was required to do to maintain her career. The defendants protested this claim, stating that her injury was unrelated to the “insignificant” collision between the two vehicles.
Judge Groarke admitted that the medical evidence in the case was “very conflicting” and that on the “balance of probabilities” the woman would likely made a full recovery from her injury and would suffer no long-term damages. However, while concluding that the injuries from the accident were “not particularly serious”, the judge acknowledged that the woman needed a perfect shoulder to practise her violin. As such it was an exceptional case, and even her not particularly severe injuries should be treated as serious for a “talented musician” like her.
Judge Groarke awarded the woman €25,000 compensation for an injury in a taxi accident, stating he accepted the plaintiff´s belief that the discomfort she suffers is related to the March 2012 accident.
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.