Revised Book of Quantum to be Introduced to Irish Courts

A new Book of Quantum is to be introduced to Irish courts in the next few weeks, updating an outdated system.

The Book of Quantum is a reference text that is used by judges to assess how much compensation an injured party is entitled to if he or she was hurt in an accident that was not their fault. It is quite comprehensive, considering a series of physical injuries and assigning an estimated value for their compensation, based upon severity and long-term effects.

The publication was first used in 2004, though in recent years it has been criticised by the courts, who claim that it is outdated. In some instances, judges and solicitors have found it best to ignore the publication as they feel it would result in an unjust settlement. If they choose to follow the Book, they will often use the highest value available when calculating settlements. As a result, settlements awarded are often inconsistent.

Ireland’s most senior judges have been discussing the publication of a new book with the Courts Services and Injuries Board Ireland. After analysing around 52,000 claims made in Ireland between 2013 and 2014, they drew up a new Book of Quantum that is due to be published in the coming months. Representatives have commented that they hope the new book will bring greater consistency to the compensation settlements awarded in Ireland.

The Book has been updated such that the financial values awarded based on the physical injuries reflect the current cost of living, and also have more subcategories for severity and permanence. This allows judges, insurance companies and the Injuries Board to award more accurate and fair settlements.

There are, of course, other factors that will determine how much compensation is awarded. The Book of Quantum accounts for physical injuries, but one claiming for personal injuries compensation may also be able to claim for emotional damage, financial loss and affected quality of life.


Claim for Pony Injury Compensation Settled

A woman, who injured her wrist after falling off a pony during a weekend away, has settled her claim for compensation with the owners of a riding school.

On the 15th July 2013, Maria Gray – a thirty-five year-old dentist from Belfast – had travelled to Galway with a group of friends as part of a hen weekend. As part of the trip, the group went to Fenney’s Riding School in Thonabrocky. Though the excursion was initially without incident, as the ponies started down a steep incline, Maria’s pony gave way and Maria fell to the ground.

As a result of the fall, Maria sustained a laceration to her chin and damage to her wrist. Maria was taken to hospital, where her cuts were treated and stitched. However, she now has a permanent scar that she claims in visible to all of her patients. Despite the treatment, Maria’s injury became worse and she had to have eight weeks of physiotherapy. Whilst she was undergoing the therapy, Maria was unable to work as the splint that she had on her arm stopped her from returning to work.

Maria sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim for pony ride compensation against Gerard and Siobhan Feeney, the owners of the riding centre. In her claim, Maria alleged that the pony assigned to her was too small. She was just over five foot eight inches, and she claims that the pony was only suitable for those under the age of fourteen. Maria also alleges that she was not adequately instructed on how to safely ride the animal.

However, the owners of the riding centre denied that they had not provided an adequately sized pony for Maria. They also claim that they had offered Maria a larger animal, but she declines the opportunity to change. As the Feeneys did not consent to the Injuries Board’s request to investigate Maria’s claim, she went to the courts to seek compensation.

Earlier this month, the hearing to determine liability was heard at the High Court by Mr Justice Raymond Fullam. Maria testified to her belief that the pony with which she had been provided had already been on a trek that day. As the day in question was very hot, the animal was hungry and tired, and consequently kept stopping to eat grade. She also reaffirmed her belief that the pony was too small for someone of her size and stature.

However, before the hearing recommenced the next day, the court was informed that the parties had reached an agreement and that the claim for pony injury compensation could be struck.

Child Compensated for Luas Injuries

A five-figure settlement of compensation has been approved by the Circuit Court on behalf of a young girl injured by the Luas in Dublin.

The accident occurred on the 14th February 2008 when Aoife Heron, then aged six, was boarding the Luas at Connelly Station with her mother. Aoife’s mother, Elaine, was attempting to get a buggy with Aoife’s younger sister onto the tram, though didn’t manage to get in before the doors began to close.

This momentarily trapped the buggy, though the doors soon reopened. However, as Aoife tried to alight from the Luas and rejoin her mother, the doors closed again – this time, trapping little Aoife’s head.

Aoife’s head injury was treated by an emergency ambulance crew at Connelly Station. Her mother later brought her to the family’s GP. The doctor diagnosed Aoife with soft tissue damage and extensive bruising. Since the accident, Aoife has developed a fear of travelling on the Luas, and also has a scar on her head. According to her GP, Aoife may need therapy in the future to help her overcome the phobia.

Acting on her daughter’s behalf, Elaine made a claim for personal injury compensation against Veolia Transport Dublin Light Rai Ltd, the company which operates the Luas, for breach of duty and negligence resulting in injury.

Though the company denied that they were liable for Aoife’s injury, and prepared a full legal defence, they agreed to negotiate a settlement of compensation with the Heron family. Eventually, a €25,000 settlement was agreed upon.

The settlement proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin for approval by Mr Justice Raymond Graorke, who is also the President of the Court. Judge Groarke approved the settlement for the now thirteen year old Aoife, though he ruled that the settlement will be held in court funds until Aoife reaches the age of eighteen.

Woman Compensated for Supermarket Injury Claim

A sixty year-old woman has been awarded a five-figure settlement of compensation for injuries she sustained after slipping on a potato wedge in an aisle of a Dunnes Stores supermarket. 

The accident occurred in November 2011 when Anna Manning, a housewife from Clondalkin in Co. Dublin, was shopping in her local branch of Dunnes Stores. As she made her way towards the fish section, she slipped and fell on a potato wedge that had been left on the floor. The potato had remained on the floor despite an earlier slip and fall that day. 

Anna fell to her knees, and the next day she went to her GP with pains in her back and neck. Anna proceeded to seek legal counsel and made a claim for injury compensation against Dunnes Stores for her slip and fall injury. 

Dunnes Stores refused consent to, the Injuries Board for an assessment of Anna’s claim to be carried out. As such, Anna was issued with authorisation by the board to proceed to the courts with her claim. The claim for slip and fall compensation was heard earlier this month at the Circuit Civil Court by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. 

During the hearing, Judge Groarke was informed that Anna’s fall had worsened an existing condition. However, she had also sustained an injury to her wrist, which was having negative effects on her life. However, this claim was disputed by Dunnes Stores, who claimed that Anna was responsible for her own injury through her lack of caution. 

These accusations were, however, dismissed by Judge Groarke, who found in Anna’s favour. He added that he believed Anna a “very poor candidate” for lying about her story, and that her medical history was non-disputable. Additionally, he said that Dunnes Stores was negligent as they had not adequately cleared up the previous accident. Anna was then awarded €22,900 in compensation for her accident. 

Man Receives Compensation for Hand Injury from Slip in Bar

A  man has received compensation for a hand injury that he received after he fell on broken glass after slipping in a bar. 

In September 2011, David O’Keeffe (31) made was watching the All Ireland Football Final in the Woolshed Baa & Grill on Parnell Street in Dublin with a group of friends when, after the match had finished, he attempted to visit the restroom.

As he was making his way through the packed bar, he slipped on a wet patch of floor and fell, resulting in a cut on his hand as he landed on a piece of glass. David was attended to by a First Aider at the bar, and later attended the Accident & Emergency Department of St. James’ Hospital. The cut was properly cleaned and stitched at the hospital.

David sought legal counsel, and made a cut hand injury compensation claim against the Woolshed Baa & Grill, claiming that the bar had allowed uncollected glasses to stack up, which had likely called over and smashed. He further claimed that spilled drinks remained unattended to and that the bar had failed to follow adequate cleaning procedures, resulting in his injury.

The defendants denied liability for David’s injury. They further refused to grant consent to the Injuries Board for assessment of the claim. As a result, David was authorised to pursue his claim for compensation in court. A hearing to establish liability for his injury took place last week at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told by the Woolshed Baa & Grill that David’s hand injury was due to David’s friend unsuccessfully trying to lift him up while he had a glass in his hand. The bar owners testified that the bar had followed its cleaning procedures on the day in question, and that although an accident report had been completed at the time, they were unable to locate it.

In spite of this account, Judge Linnane stated that she accepted David’s version of events, as the bar had been packed “to the point that one would not have been able to see that the floor was wet”. She found in David´s favour and awarded him €20,000 in settlement of his cut hand injury compensation claim.

Child Compensated for Dog Bite

A young girl has received a six-figure settlement of compensation for injuries she sustained after being bitten by a large dog.

On the 26th December 2011, Lauren Kelly and her friends were enjoying a game of “hunting the wren” in their town of Abbeylara in Co. Longford. However, as Lauren was playing a Rottweiler – that had escaped its owner’s property by jumping over a wall – attacked her.

Despite the intervention of her mother and friends, Lauren sustained twenty-six puncture wounds to her arms and neck. Onlookers later testified that Lauren had been “tossed around like a rag doll”, and it was only because of the intervention of others that she did not sustained graver injuries.

Lauren was rushed to hospital, where she was treated for the puncture wounds. The little girl also had a series of skin grafts to try and repair the damage, though now she still has over twenty scars on her arms. Even now, whilst engaging in some activities (such as swimming), Lauren is required to wear a specialised medical sleeve that prevents an infection developing.

Acting on their child’s behalf, Michael and Marcella Kelly made a claim for dog bite compensation against William Crawford, the Rottweiler’s owner. In their claim, they alleged that Crawford’s negligence stemmed from the fact that he had not undertaken adequate preventative measures to stop his animal from escaping.

Crawford initially denied that he was liable to pay the compensation settlement, though negotiations between the parties resulted in a settlement of €150,000. However, as the claim was made on behalf of a legal minor, the settlement had to be approved by a judge before it could be paid.

As such, the case proceeded to Dublin’s High Court, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told of Lauren’s injuries and their impacts. He then went on to approve the settlement, though added the condition that the sum should be kept in a court account until Lauren reached the age of eighteen.