Teenager Awarded Compensation for Childhood Holiday Accident

Dublin’s High Court have approved a six-figure settlement for a teenage girl who hurt her leg on a nail when holidaying with her family.

The accident occurred when Shauna Burke, aged just ten, was on holiday with her family at the Slattery Caravan Park in Co. Clare in August 2009. As she was playing with her friends, Shauna cut open her leg on a nail that was projecting from a pole.

The nail caused a deep laceration just above Shauna’s knee which – despite medical attention – has left a large, visible scar. Acting on his daughter’s behalf, John Burke made a claim for personal injury compensation against Austin Francis Slattery, the owners of the caravan park.

In the claim, it was alleged that Slattery was aware of the hazard the nail posed as it was on a pole in an area that was popular with residents of the park. However, Slattery denied that he was liable for Shauna’s injury, though still made an offer of €106,000 to compensate for Shauna’s injury and costs of medical care.

However, this settlement offer could not be immediately accepted as it was made on behalf of a minor. As such, the case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where it was overseen by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.
During the hearing, Shauna’s legal team detailed the nature of the accident and subsequent injuries on Shauna’s health and wellbeing. Judge Barr – after inspecting the scar on Shauna’s leg – approved the settlement, which will be held in court fund until Shauna is eighteen.

High Settlement for Sports Injuries Approved by Judge

A revised settlement for sports injury compensation has been approved by a Circuit Court judge on behalf of a teenager who rejected the initial offer of compensation.

Rhian Holohan, then aged fifteen from Co. Meath, was playing a game of soccer in June 2012 when the accident occurred. The game, played between Kenstown Rovers FC and Ayrfield United, was part of the Dublin Women’s Soccer League.

Rhian was acting as goal keeper for the match and, as she dived to obstruct the ball, she gashed her knee on a piece of broken glass that was on the grass. Rhian received emergency first aid before she was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for further treatment.

In Accident and Emergency, Rhian’s knee was stitched and cleaned under local anaesthetic. The laceration was very deep, and as such Rhian had to use crutches for many months after the accident to help alleviate the pain and swelling she experienced. Now, she has a visible circular scar where the gash was.

Acting on Rhian’s behalf, her mother – Anita – made a claim for compensation against Dublin City Council, the Trustees of Airfield United FC and the Trustees of Dublin Women’s Soccer League. Each of the accused parties accepted liability for Rian’s injury.

The parties negotiated a settlement of compensation worth €22,000. However, this settlement then proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court for approval by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke as it was made on behalf of a party under the age of eighteen.

However, Judge Groarke initially refused to approve the compensation settlement, believing that it was too low considering the extent of Rhian’s injury. Negotiations recommenced, and Judge Groarke was presented with a revised settlement of €30,000. This he approved and continued to close the case.

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.

Family Compensated for Emotional Trauma in Shop

Two children have received settlements of compensation for the emotional trauma they sustained when caught up in a mock armed robbery in a Dublin shop.

The incident occurred in March 2013 when Casie and Abbie Kennedy – aged eight and eleven respectively – were shopping at the Dundrum Shopping Centre with their mother, Claudia. As the family were trying clothes on in the changing room of H&M, they heard a man shouting aggressively and swearing at staff. He was ordering the shop assistants to hand over any cash in the tills and then to get on the ground. However, it later transpired that this was just a training exercise.

The young family were trapped in the shop’s change rooms, completely unaware that no-one was in any real danger. Claudia kept her daughters in the booth until the shouting had stopped, at which point she went to investigate what happened. Her daughters remained, terrified, in the changing area.

When Claudia asked the shop assistants what had happened, the manager explained the situation to her. Claudia was furious that no-one had cared to check that every area of the shop was empty of customers before the training exercise was undertaken.

Yet when Claudia telephoned the H&M head office to complain, she was offered nothing but a €30 and a curt apology. Claudia then decided to make a claim for emotional trauma compensation on her daughters’ behalf. In the claim, made against H&M Hennes&Mauritz (Ireland)Ltd, it was alleged that both of her young daughters were afraid for their lives whilst trapped in the changing rooms.

The retail giant went on to offer the girls compensation settlements for their trauma – €8,000 for Casie and €10,000 for Abbie. The case then proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court, where Judge Rory MacCabe approved the settlements.

Factory Worker Receives Compensation for Back Injury

A man has received €415,000 compensation for no longer being able to work after the High Court heard a back injury claim due to inadequate training. 

In January 2011, Mohammed Ali Saleh was employed at the pluck station at the Moyvalley Meats factory in County Kildare. While working at the slaughter hall, Mohammed twisted to put meat from a dead animal onto a hook and felt a sharp pain in his back. An MRI scan was taken which revealed that he had suffered a prolapse disc and needed urgent decompression treatment.

Mohammed underwent two operations on his back, yet his condition did not improve. He was diagnosed with failed back syndrome and suffers from persistent pain in his back and legs, and foot weakness. He is now entirely dependent on a crutch to support himself, and has been rendered unable to work.

Mohammed sought legal advice, and made a claim for compensation against Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited. In his claim, Mohammed alleged that he had not been adequately trained to perform his duties without conducting a twisting manoeuvre and that the company had not introduced a safe system of work. The company contested Mohammed´s back injury claim due to workplace conditions, and a hearing was schedule for the case to be heard at the High Court.

At the hearing, Moyvalley Meats told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that Mohammed had been given on the job training and that his injury was the direct result of a pre-existing back condition. However, an expert witness was brought to testify, and stated that no safe system of work had been implemented to avoid the twisting manoeuvre responsible for Mohammed´s back injury. It was also revealed that the only training Mohammed had received was watching an operative perform the task for a short period of time, and Mohammed had not performed the task himself.

Judge Cross found in Mohammed´s favour, and awarded him €415,000 compensation in settlement of his back injury claim due to workplace conditions. The compensation settlement was for Mohammed´s lost income and his past and continued pain and suffering.

Hearing Adjourned Due to Inadequate Offer of Compensation

A judge in Dublin’s Circuit Civil Court has adjourned a hearing for child injury compensation, citing that the compensation offered to the victims was too low in sum. 

The accident occurred in November 2012 when Harry Ryan, aged twelve from Swords in Co. Dublin, was playing on a local green. However, as he was playing, he slipped and cut his lower leg on a piece of broken glass. Harry was taken to the VHI Swiftcare Clinic, where he had eight stitches to close the laceration. Steri-stripes were also applied to try and help the cut heal.

Acting on her son’s behalf, Ita Patton made a claim for injury compensation against Fingal County Council. The council denied that they were liable for Harry’s injuries, though made him an offer of €3,000 in compensation. The settlement, as it was made on behalf of a legal minor, then had to go to court for approval. 

However, last week at the Circuit Civil Court, Judge James O’Donohoe said that he would not approve the settlement of compensation offered to Harry as he considered it too low for the injuries that Harry sustained. The case was then adjourned for two weeks such that the parties could recommence negotiations. 

The hearing was reconvened earlier this week, where the judge heard that the compensation settlement offered to Harry had been increased to €3,500. Harry’s solicitor told the judge that that he was aware that a similar claim had been dismissed recently in the High Court, and that the County Council had prepared a dull defence.

Yet, when Judge Groarke inspected the scar left on Harry’s leg, he restated his belief that the compensation being offered was not an adequate sum. Judge Groarke said that a settlement of €30,000 would be more appropriate, and adjourned the hearing once again to facilitate negotiations between the parties. 

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.

Woman Compensated for Damages due to Forgotten Vaginal Swab

A woman from Dublin has been awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation for injuries that resulted from a forgotten vaginal swab that had been used during her labour.

Claire Lalor, from Swords in Co. Dublin, gave birth on the 24th December 2012 at the National Maternity Hospital. The labour had been long and difficult, and Claire was discharged from the hospital three days after the delivery. However, she returned on two consecutive occasions in two weeks as she was complaining of an unpleasant smell and cramps in her lower abdomen.

However, Claire was never examined internally – despite her concerns – and on her second visit a prescription of antibiotics was given to deal with the supposed infection. Yet a week later her condition had not improved and Claire was finally given an internal examination. The doctor discovered that a vaginal swab – that had been used to stem bleeding during Claire’s labour – had been left inside her.

Though the swab was removed, Claire continued to experience pain. Further visits to the National Maternity Hospital resulted in a diagnosis of post-natal depression, though Claire then decided to visit Beaumont Hospital. There, she was diagnosed with a Clostridium difficile that was the result of the antibiotics prescription.

Upon her recovery, Claire sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for the injuries she suffered. The hospital acknowledged that they were liable for Claire’s injuries as a result of the forgotten swab and the following bacterial infection, though they contested the extent to which Claire suffered psychologically.

The National Maternity Hospital argued that rather than suffering from psychological damage because of the forgotten swab, Claire was actually suffering from post-natal depression. Negotiations were fruitless, and the case proceeded to the High Court of Dublin where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

Though the judge agreed that the psychological damages for which Claire was claiming were more likely to be attributable to post-natal depression, especially considering her difficult labour, he agreed that – had she received adequate post-natal care – her symptoms may not be as severe. Judge Cross proceeded to award Claire €140,000 in compensation.

Judge Awards Compensation to Man Injured in Sunbed Accident

Compensation has been awarded by the High Court in Dublin to a man for injury caused by an accident involving a sunbed in 2012.

Vincent Reid (72) of Lisburn, County Antrim was on vacation at the Hotel Savoy in Lake Garda, Italy when the incident occurred. As the man leaned back on the sunbed, his middle finger was caught in the arm mechanism of the chair, slicing the tip of the finger off. Vincent was immediately transported to a nearby hospital, where he received suitable care for the injury to his right hand. His finger remained in a splint for three months following his return to Ireland.

The package holiday had been organised through the travel company Topflight Ltd. Vincent made is claim for compensation against them through the Injuries Board of Ireland. The defendant denied liability for the accident, claiming that such an event was unforeseeable to them.

Last week, Vincent’s case for compensation was heard by Mr Justice Michael Hanna at the High Court in Dublin, as the Injuries Board was unable to assess the claim themselves.

As evidence, the judge heard how a similar injury had been sustained by another Irish guest to the resort merely days before Vincent’s own accident. It was also explained that the chair had not been ready for use by Vincent; the arm mechanism should have been locked into place before it was suitable to be leaned on.

The judge dismissed the Dublin travel company’s claim that the accident could not have been foreseen. He stated that the fact that the sunbed would collapse had the arm mechanism not been locked in place would have been known to the staff at the resort, and they had been negligent in assuring that it was fully fit for use.

He also heard that Vincent still suffered pain in the affected finger, and had limited mobility in it as a result, which prevented him from participating in his hobbies such as DIY or gardening.

Judge Hanna found Topflight Ltd guilty of breaching the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act of 1995, rendering them liable to pay €40,796 for a sunbed accident on holiday.

Out-of-Court Negotiations Settle Head-On Crash Claim as a Result of Union Involvement

An undisclosed amount of compensation has been settled upon for head-on crash injury as a result of out-of-court negotiations after involvement with the victim’s union.

Nick Brancher (37) was driving along the A38 after dropping his daughter off at school in April 2013. Suddenly, a vehicle that had been driving towards him swerved into the westbound carriageway, resulting in a head on collision between the two cars.

Nick was transported by ambulance to hospital to have his injuries attended to. He had sustained a fracture to his left elbow and several soft tissue injuries. Nick received appropriate treatment for these injuries. Over the next several weeks, more soft tissue injuries manifested themselves on his neck, back and rib area.

Nick was fortunate to be able to return to work as a maintenance team leader a merely days after the incident occurred, although his injuries prevented him from indulging in his hobbies such as kayaking, cycling and Ju Jitsu. His work was limited, however; he had to keep flexible hours, and could only perform very light tasks for several months.

Nick consulted with his Unite union representative-Rob Miguel- and  made a claim for head-on collision injury compensation against the driver who had lost control of his vehicle and caused the crash. The other driver’s insurer admitted negligence, and accepted fault for the accident. Following negotiations, a suitable amount of compensation was agreed upon outside of court.

Nick later said; “The other driver had lost control and hit two other cars before we collided head-on, it all happened so fast. I‘m just very grateful my daughter wasn’t in the vehicle with me”.

The Unite union representative further stated: “Our member sustained a series of injuries because a driver wasn’t concentrating. The level of injuries could have been far worse, but nevertheless the accident was still a serious one and went on to affect our member’s life for months after the crash”.

Compensation Awarded to Girl for Cut Knee Sports Injury

A Circuit Civil Court judge has awarded a settlement for compensation to a girl who suffered a cut knee as a result of a sporting accident.

In June 2012 Rhian Holohan (17) of Kentstown, County Meath, was playing football for Kinston Rovers FC at Ayrfield United FC pitch when she dived on the grass. Her knee caught on a piece of broken glass, cutting it open. She received immediate first aid for her injuries, and was subsequently transported to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for further treated for the cut. Her wound was cleaned and she received stitches under anaesthetic.

Rhian was forced to use crutches for several weeks after the incident due to the severe laceration. Her knee was swollen, causing her considerable pain. She was prevented from returning to football for several months following the incident. She has a scar 1.5 cm in length on her knee as a result from the deep cut.

On behalf of her daughter, Anita Holohan made a cut knee sports injury claim for compensation against the Trustees of Dublin Women’s Soccer League, the Trustees of Ayrfield United FC and Dublin City Council for negligence that caused her daughter’s injury.

The defendants accepted liability for the claim. Initial compensation of €22,000 was negotiated between the parties. However, since Rhian is a minor, the settlement went to the Circuit Civil Court to be approved. Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard the case and rejected the settlement, claiming that it was not enough for the level of injury sustained by Rhian. He requested that both parties reconsider the settlement.

As a result of further talks, the compensation was increased to €30,000 for Rhian’s cut knee sports injury. Mr Justice Raymond Groarke approved this offer of settlement on Rhian’s behalf.

Offer of Compensation for Shop Accident Rejected by Judge

An offer of compensation for injuries sustained by a young girl in a shop accident has been refused by a judge in the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

Shauna Kelly (17) was browsing through the electronic books section in the Eason’s branch in Lower O’Connell Street when an electronic display board fell from the wall and hit her on the head and arm.

Shauna was transported the Crumlin Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a concussion and soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. X-rays were taken, and it was revealed that no bones had been broken, although she had sprained her wrist. A splint was placed on the wound to add support while it healed.

On behalf of her daughter, Kathy Maher consulted a solicitor, and made a claim for compensation for personal injuries sustained in a shop accident. She claimed that Eason’s and David James Retail Solutions Ltd-the company that had installed the display board-had failed in their duty of care, resulting in the injury to her daughter.

The defendants offered a settlement of €13,500 after some negotiations to resolve the claim. As Shauna was a minor at the time, the offer of compensation had to be brought before a judge to be approved on her behalf.

Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard the case at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. He heard the circumstances of the accident, and the nature of the injuries sustained. The plaintiffs claimed that Shauna experienced severe headaches for six months after the accident occurred and still suffered stiffness in her back.

Shauna’s barrister told the judge of the offer that had been made by the defendants as compensation for the injuries sustained in a shop accident. He further stated that he did not believe that it adequately represented the young girl’s injuries, and thus was not prepared to recommend approval.

Judge Groarke declined the settlement, claiming that a more appropriate settlement of compensation for Shauna could be made if the case went to a full hearing. The approval hearing will be held later this year.

Judge Rules in Favour of Bus Fall Victim

A court has awarded compensation to a woman who sustained injuries by falling on a bus after the driver pulled out sharply from the bus stop, causing her to lose her balance.

In May 2013, Mary Steel (82) of Argyle had just stepped onto a bus outside the Braehead shopping centre in Glasgow when she was trying to find a seat. Suddenly, the bus-owned by the private bus company McGill’s-pulled away from the bus stop, causing Mary to lose her balance. She fell, injuring her shoulder as she hit the floor. Emergency services were called and she was treated by paramedics on-scene. She was then transported to the nearby Southern General Hospital, where x-rays were taken.

The x-rays revealed that she had fractured no bones in her shoulder or arm. In spite of this, Mary suffered continual pain in the region, which caused her to sink into depression. She sought legal counsel, and proceeded to make a claim for compensation against the bus company. She alleged that the driver had shown a lack of care when he sharply pulled away from the bus stop, causing her to fall and sustain her injuries.

The case was heard by Judge Lady Stacey in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Mary’s legal team argued that Mary should be entitled to compensation due to the nature in which she sustained her injuries while falling on the bus, blaming the manner in which the driver had been handling the bus.

The judge found McGill’s liable for Mary’s injuries as their employee had been negligent, stating:  “In my opinion the defender´s driver failed to ensure that a passenger who had been seen by him to be elderly and unsteady was seated before moving off. In doing so, he acted contrary to the defender´s policy and in breach of common law”.

She further said: “The movement of the bus while the pursuer was not seated caused her to lose her balance and fall”. The judge awarded Mary £10,000 as compensation for the injuries to her shoulder and for her subsequent depression.

Judge Refuses Initial Settlement in Trampoline Accident Case

In July 2012, Kevin Stokes (five-years-old at the time of the incident) of County Dublin was playing on a trampoline when his leg became wedged in the gap between the base and the frame. He was immediately transported to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital to receive medical attention. X-rays were taken, and it was revealed that his fibula and tibia had fractured as a result of the accident.

The young boy was admitted to the hospital with a black slab cast surrounding his leg. After several days, the fractures were manipulated again and Kevin was fitted with an above-the-knee cast, which he had to wear for a month. He was discharged from hospital in a wheelchair, unable to walk himself.

When the month with the cast was complete, Kevin required a walking frame for several weeks. During this time, he was unable to play with his friends, and experienced severe discomfort in his leg. On behalf of her son, Margaret made a claim for compensation for injuries in a trampoline accident against Smyths Toy Store, where she had purchased the trampoline.

A forensic engineer was consulted to determine the cause of the accident. After an investigation, the forensic engineer stated that the mechanism for securing the safety club to the frame was in adequate for purpose. Smyths Toy Store admitted liability for Kevin’s accident. Compensation of €25,000 for injuries in a trampoline accident was negotiated on his behalf.

As Kevin was a minor at the time of the accident, the sum was brought before a judge for approval. Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard the case at the Circuit Court in Dublin. He refused the settlement, claiming it as too small of an amount considering the extent of Kevin’s injuries. Smyths Toy Store increased the offer to €35,000, which the judge approved. The judge heard that Kevin had recovered very well from his injuries.


It is now likely that there will be an increase in injury claims for compensation due to Hepatitis A infection from imported frozen berries after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued another safety warning over the products.

The FSAI issued a warning in the summer of last year for consumers to boil frozen berries imported to Ireland for at least a minute before consumption in order to destroy the virus present. This notification is a result of such produce being found responsible for a number of cases of the virus in those who ate them without taking such measures beforehand.

Across Europe, 1,140 cases of unexplained Hep A have been diagnosed  in the past twelve months. Of these, 331 cases were later attributed to the virus being found in frozen berries, including 21 cases in Ireland. These diagnoses prompted the FSAI to reissue their previous alert to boil the frozen fruit in order to prevent such infection.

Although there is no evidence that Irish frozen berries are responsible for the spread of the disease, and fresh berries also do not seem to be at fault, the chief executive of the FSAI-Professor Alan Reilly-encourages consumers to wash any piece of fruit before eating it.

It is expected that there will be a new wave of compensation claims due to infection by the Hepatitis  A virus as a result of consumption of such berries as a result of the reissued warning. The victim is able to make such a claim against any retailer that sold them the berries containing the virus. However, symptoms of the disease can take up to fifty days to show. Therefore, even if a retailer unwittingly sold such a product before the FSAI issued its new warning and therefore had no time to remove imported berries from the shelves, they are still liable to pay compensation to anyone affected by the virus.

The possession of a receipt, or any other proof of purchase, is not a requirement for a victim to make a claim for compensation due to injury from eating infected berries. As long as they have been diagnosed with Hep A that is suspected to have originated from eating contaminated goods, a successful claim can still be made against the retailer in question.


Padraig Hearns (39) has been awarded compensation from Dublin City Council after being run over by a bin lorry in Dublin City, resulting in severe brain damage.

Padraig was lying on the street after being attacked during a night out in the Dublin Temple Bar area in April of 2007. Hurt and confused after the assault, he was unable to move out of the way before a bin lorry operated by Dublin City Council run him over, causing a fractured skull and severe arm injuries.

He was immediately brought to hospital, where he was treated for injuries to his head, arm and eye. He was put into an induced coma for a week, and spent several months following the incident confined to hospital to recover from the traumatic event.

Despite the level of care he received, Padraig sustained brain trauma and is now unable to care for himself. He is now dependant on his parents and siblings for his care, living in his parent’s home. He is also unable to return to work again in his life.

His parents made a claim for compensation from Dublin City Council on Padraig’s behalf for the bin lorry injury sustained. The defendants denied liability for the accident. Their solicitors argued that they were not at fault for Padraig lying in the path of the lorry, and therefore could not be held responsible.

The case was brought to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Michael Peart. The judge pointed out to the defendants that Dublin City Council had ignored its own by-laws that had been introduced mere months before the incident; they were not permitted to collect waste from the Temple Bar area between 12:00pm and 6:00pm, which they had been doing at the time of the incident.

Judge Peart also pointed out that the City Council had a duty of care to ensure that the scene was safe for the truck to move through the area by having an employee outside of the truck to survey the area. They had failed in this duty when they neglected to notice Padraig lying on the road beneath the lorry.

The judge further commented that “It makes complete sense from a public safety point of view that these large refuse trucks would not be permitted to try and negotiate their way through an area such as the narrow and crowded streets of Temple Bar when so many people are present”.

A settlement of €4,885,888 in injury compensation for the bin lorry accident was awarded to Padraig. This was the sum of €266,341 for loss of earnings, €155,230 for care costs to date, €350,000 for his suffering and €3,485,000 to cover his future care costs. The City Council also had to pay for legal costs covering the trial.



A settlement of €1.2 million has been awarded to a woman who suffered extensive injuries and lost opportunities as a result of a hit and run incident with a drunk driver in June of 2009.

Laura Byrne, then twenty-one, was walking with friends on the street in Wexford when she was hit by a vehicle driven by Karl Chrzan, who was intoxicated at the time. Laura was thrown into the air, landing on the bonnet of the car. Her head cracked against the windscreen of the car, causing major trauma. The student was immediately brought the Waterford Regional Hospital for initial treatment of her injuries, but later had to be transferred to a hospital in Cork to receive specialist care.

Laura was forced to abandon her studies in veterinary science as a result of the complications of the injury. Her balance had been severely affected, and suffered bouts of double-vision. Her left arm continuous to be physically weaker than her right to this day.

Chrzan immediately fled the scene in the vehicle following the incident, citing his panicked state as the cause of these actions. Following a police investigation, it was revealed that he had consumed multiple beers and vodka before taking control of the vehicle.

He was charged and arrested by the Gardaí for the hit and run incident. Chrzan was sentenced to three years in prison for dangerous driving that resulted in serious harm. He was also banned from driving for six years following the incident.

Laura made a claim for compensation as a result of her hit and run injury against the Motor Insurers Board of Ireland (MIBI). The vehicle involved in the incident was Chrzan’s partner’s, and he was not insured to drive it, resulting in MIBI having to settle the compensation claim. The sum of €1.2 million was negotiated as adequate settlement.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement at the High Court in Dublin. She noted that it was good compensation considering the circumstances of the case, although no sum of money could consolidate the trauma that the young student had experienced. The judge further hoped that the money would make Laura’s life more comfortable for her following the incident.


The High Court has awarded a compensation settlement to an employee of Dunnes Stores for an injury that was the result of a slip and fall incident in the workplace.

In July 2011, Dorota Michalowska (29) was working in the canteen of Dunnes Stores in Clonmel, Country Tipperary. As she was clearing the tables and moving items to the kitchen to be cleaned, she slipped on a frozen chip that was on the floor. The fell to the ground, and damaged the soft tissue of her knee.

Dorota was forced to undergo physiotherapy for her injury, which left her largely immobilised. She was unable to work for thirty-five weeks after the incident occurred. She sought legal advice, and decided to make a claim against her employer for a canteen slip and fall injury to seek compensation for the time during which she was rendered unable to work.

The defendant denied any liability for Dorota’s injury. Their solicitors argued that the victim herself had been responsible for preparing a large quantity of the food, and it was plausible that it was her own fault that there had been a frozen chip on the floor. Therefore, Dorota’s own negligence was the cause of the injury, and Dunnes Stores was not at fault.

The case went to the High Court, where it was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine. Evidence was given by both parties. The judge remarked that Dorota had not been working on her own in the canteen that day; two colleagues shared her responsibilities. Therefore, “on the balance of probabilities”, it was more probable that either of them had dropped the chip as opposed to Dorota herself. She ruled that Dunnes Stores was liable for the injury due to the negligence of its staff to pick the chip up. She also noted that had the victim dropped the chip herself, it would have defrosted by the time Dorota had finished her tasks around the canteen and slipped on it, hence making it even more unlikely that Dorota was responsible for her knee injury.

A further payment of €20,000 was awarded to account for Dorota’s future pain, as it is likely that she will suffer from arthritis in future as a result of her injuries.


A young girl has been awarded €10,000 in compensation for an injury sustained to her finger in an incident occurring in a shop in March, 2011.

Naoise Walsh, aged six at the time of the incident, severely lacerated her finger when attempting to remove a drink carton from a refrigerator unit in Debenhams’ café in Henry Street, Dublin. Her finger was caught by the metal grill of the shelf inside the fridge, severely cutting it and causing heavy bleeding.

The emergency services were notified and Naoise was brought by ambulance to Temple Street Children’s Hospital. Her mother accompanied her on the journey. The wound was attended to on site, but required Naoise to revisit the hospital the following day for further checks to the area. Upon further examination, during which Naoise was under general anaesthetic, no extensive damage to the young girl’s tendons could be found. The wound was stitched and dressed before releasing Naoise from hospital later that day.

On behalf of her daughter, Amy Walsh from Bluebell, Dublin, sought legal advice and made a claim for the cut finger injury sustained by her child against Debenhams store. The defendant admitted liability for the incident, and offered a sum of €10,000 in compensation to the girl.

In order for the compensation to be agreed upon, the case was heard by the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard the case, and approved the settlement for Naoise of the aforementioned amount. It is a requirement for cases involving compensation for children that such a hearing take place.



A man who suffered brain injuries after falling down the stairs of a Dublin pub has been awarded €250,000 in damages for his injury claim against the establishment.

Frank McHugh (80) fell down the stairs of the Stag’s Head pub while making a trip to the bathroom during a family meal to celebrate Easter weekend in April, 2011.

The claim, alleging that the pub was negligent in ensuring that there was a safe and secure means of accessing the toilets, was made through Frank’s son, Patrick McHugh. Patrick also stated that there were no signs present in the building warning of the precautions that must be taken on the stairwell, and therefore the pub is further at fault.

The pub’s proprietor, Shelbourne O’Brien Ltd, denied liability for accident. They stated that the fault was on Frank himself, as he failed to descend the staircase in a safe and appropriate manner, and the fall was not due to negligence on their part.

CCTV footed was provided as evidence on behalf of Shelbourne O’Brien Ltd to contest the claim. On camera, it can be seen that Frank takes the initial step down the stairs himself, before he proceeds to fall forwards.

The case was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court in Dublin. She heard that the company was willing to make an offer of a quarter of a million euro as a settlement, despite denying the claims against them. The judge was further informed that the family had been legally advised to accept the sum, despite the fact that the amount was only a small portion of what a full settlement would be if the case went to trial.

The settlement was approved by the judge, despite her acknowledging that it would not cover many of the care costs that were the consequence of the injury. Ms Justice Mary Irvine commented that the claim made my Frank against Shelbourne O’Brien Ltd was unlikely to be successful if there was a full trial, due to lack of evidence implicating the defendants.


An employee that sustained a broken wrist injury while participating in a team-building exercise organised by his employer has been awarded compensation outside of court.

Cathal Kavanagh (54), an executive chef in the Carton House Spa and Gold Hotel in Maynooth, County Kildare, attended a team-building day with his colleagues at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge, where he sustained his injury.

As part of the event, Cathal was required to participate in a series of games and activities with his coworkers. It was during one of these events-a relay race that saw employees of the four-star hotel running backwards-that Cathal fell. His foot slipped form under him, and he fractured his wrist in an attempt to break his fall. Medical treatment was sought, and he received care for his broken wrist.

Cathal sought legal advice from his solicitor. He made a compensation claim for the injuries sustained on the programme against both Carton House and the organisers of the day, JikiJela Ltd of Tubbercurry, County Sligo. A further claim was made against Kildare County Council, the proprietors of the Riverbank Arts Centre.

The victim claimed that the activities had not been safe for participants, and that all of the parties named were negligent as they failed to ensure that no danger would be present for Cathal or his colleagues. All defendants denied liability for his wrist injury, resulting in the Injuries Board authorising the claim to be heard at the Circuit Civil court to resolve the matter.

However, before the first day of the hearing was complete, Mrs Justive Mary Irvine-the judge presiding the case-was informed that compensation for the injury had been settled outside of court and that the claim could be struck out of court.



The High Court has awarded compensation of €150,000 to a young girl who suffered injury from a Rottweiler dog  that escaped from its home and attacked her.

On December 26th, 2011, Lauren Kelly of Abbeylara, County Longford was playing outdoors with her family when she was viciously attacked by the animal after it escaped from its home.

Before her family could successfully pull her away from the dog, Lauren sustained numerous teeth and claw injuries to her upper right arm. She was immediately brought to hospital for treatment of these injuries. The girl also had to endure a skin graft operation due to the damages. As a consequence of this, she suffered significant scarring to her arm.

On behalf of his daughter, Michael Kelly made a claim for compensation, asserting that the dog’s owner displayed negligence in allowing the animal to escape and roam the streets where children were likely to be playing. The Rottweiler’s owner, William Crawford, conceded that he was liable for the injury. Compensation was negotiated outside of court.

The claim was heard before Mr Justice Kevin Cross in the High Court in Dublin in order for such a settlement to be approved. While in court, the judge heard how Lauren still suffered nightmares as a result of the incident, and has to wear arm protection while swimming to prevent infection to the affected area.

The settlement of €150,000 was approved as compensation for the dog bite injury. Until Lauren is eighteen years of age, the money shall be held in an interest-bearing account, unless it needs to be accessed by Lauren’s parents to pay for further medical attention as a result of the attack.


A holidaymaker who sustained a broken nose after a set of electronic doors closed on him at Dublin Airport has been awarded compensation for his injury.

Thomas and Evelyn Smyth travelled to Dublin Airport from their home in County Cavan in January of 2011 in order to take an Aer Lingus flight to Tenerife. On their way to board to plane, an electronic door that was programmed to automatically shut after some period of time closed on Thomas, breaking his nose in the process.

The sixty-three year old victim was brought to the nearby Beaumont Hospital to receive treatment for the fracture. As a consequence, the couple missed their flight to the Canary Islands, and their holiday was delayed. Flights were reorganised for two days later than planned, but the rest of their holiday was tainted by the incident at the airport.

Upon returning home, the couple sought legal counsel. A claim was made for compensation for his broken nose against both Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority. While both parties acknowledged that negligence was the cause of the injury, both were also reluctant to admit liability for the incident.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard the case the the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. She heard that a total settlement of €19,000 had agreed to be given as a result of the injury sustained by the victim. However, there had yet to be an agreement over who was liable to pay this sum to Thomas as compensation for the injury sustained at Dublin Airport.

The judge heard that the door was timed to close thirty minutes after it was initially opened by one of flight company’s attendants, and that it was working properly in this manner. In reacting to this evidence, Judge Linnane found Aer Lingus responsible for the accident, stating that if more time was required to board all of the passengers safely onto the plane, then it was their responsibility to request that more time be made available to them from the DAA.


The Dublin High Court has awarded a settlement of €55,000 to the victim of a dog bite as compensation for his injuries.

Joseph Dunne (63) was working as a postman around Kilbeggan, County Westmeath in October 2008. While delivering post to an address in the area, owned by Ms Olive Dalton and Mr Martin Maher,he was attacked the couple’s husky dog that escaped from the rear house through a hole in the hedge. He was knocked flat by the dog, and sustained injuries from its claws and teeth.

Fortunately, the attack was halted when a passer-by hit the dog’s back with a stick. The emergency services were notified, and Joseph was immediately removed from the scene and escorted to hospital.

The victim received a total of twenty-two stitches to injuries spanning the right side of his face. He also suffered nerve damage to the right side of his forehead. Upon removal of these stitches, it was necessary for Joseph to undergo plastic surgery in an attempt to disguise the resultant scars.

Joseph subsequently sought legal advice, and decided to make a claim for compensation against the dog’s owners for negligence. He claimed that the failed to securely enclose the dog in their garden, and also failed to inform An Post of the dangerous dog living on the property.

Mr Maher and Ms Dalton denied any liability for the injuries sustained by the victim, and the claim went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Michael Moriarty.

The judge decided in Joseph’s favour, and awarded him €55,000 of compensation for his dog bite injury. The judge went on to comment that he thought Joseph had been courageous in returning to work as quickly as he did, in spite of the frightening nature of the attack.

The dog was put down by a veterinarian the day following the incident.


A settlement of €17,800 has been awarded by the Circuit Civil Court to a fourteen year old girl who suffered respiratory distress syndrome as a results of her mother going into premature labour two days after being involved in a road accident.

Aoife Sheenan was born two days after her mother, Martina, was involved in a collision on Templeroan Road in April, 1999. Neither Martina nor the other driver, Elaine O’Connor, was injured in the incident. However, the shock of the collision allegedly caused Martina to go into early labour at thirty-six weeks. After two days, Aoife was born at Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

Aoife was immediately transferred to the neo-natal unit and placed on a ventilator after suffering respiratory distress syndrome. She remained there, critically ill, for three weeks while being served medication in an attempt to assist with her breathing. Eventually, the prematurely delivered baby was capable of breathing on her own.

On her daughter’s behalf, Martina sought legal advice in order to make a case for compensation for injuries to the foetus. Arguing that had the accident not occurred, Aoife would not have been born premature, and therefore would not have suffered the illness that she did.

Elaine O’Connor’s insurers denied the claim, citing the fact that there was no medical evidence to support the claim that Aoife was born premature as a result of the incident. They also claimed that premature babies were inherently predisposed to respiratory distress syndrome. Therefore, they claimed that Ms O’Connor was not liable for the injuries.

In spite of these challenges, Martina and Aoife’s solicitors pursued with the claim. Judge Matthew Deery heard the case for foetal injuries in a car crash at the Circuit Civil Court. A settlement was agreed upon, and it was negotiated that Aoife would receive €17,800 for her injuries. The compensation is to be paid in court funds until Aoife reaches the age of eighteen years old.


A woman has been awarded compensation from her employer, the Community Information and Referral Service in the Australian Capital Territory, after her office chair collapsed. She suffered permanent back damage as a result of the accident, which occurred in 2002.

Terry Anne Downie (51) of Canberra, Australia, fell to the floor when the chair collapsed beneath her. Following an investigation into how to chair failed, it was discovered that a plastic moulding at the base of the chair suffered catastrophic failure as a result of two spokes at the base of the chair breaking.

Emergency services were notified and Terry Anne was taken to hospital. After receiving medical attention, scans of her back revealed that as a consequence of the incident, a disc in her spine bulged, causing it to come into contact with a nerve root. She stills suffers sciatica and pain in her lower back to this day.

Workers compensation was granted to Terry Anne from her employer. Terry Anne, due to her continued discomfort, also made a personal injury claim for compensation eleven years after the incident. The claim was made against the company who imported the chair assembly kit from China, Jantom. A further claim was made against the retailer Fyshwick who assembled the chair to sell to her employer.

Both companies denied liability for Terry Anne’s injuries as a results of her workplace accident. However, a judgement was passed down by the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court that found the import company Jantom and its insurance provider liable to pay Terry Anne Downie a sum of Au$933,030 in compensation for the injury sustained. A further Au$112,000 special damages was awarded to cover the costs of her medical care.

Her employer, the Community Information and Referral Service was also rewarded Au$441,911 as a result of the compensation that had been paid to Terry Anne since her accident.


The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has received a report indicating that most claims for GP malpractice are the result of missed or delayed diagnoses.

The report, compiled by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin, revealed that such claims for compensation frequently featured cases such as medication errors or missed diagnoses. The delay in diagnoses of colon cancer and breast cancer were altogether the cause of more claims of malpractice against GPs than any other form of such medical negligence.

The primary aim of the report was to identify which areas of primary medical care should be the focus of future educational strategies for the medical profession, and when developing risk management systems for such professionals.

Along with breast and colon cancer, cancers of the skin, female genital tract and lungs were all frequently misdiagnosed or identified late. The report indicated that appendicitis and meningitis in were the illnesses most likely to be misdiagnosed in children.

Dr Emma Wallace – the lead researcher of the new report-acknowledged that one of the reasons for the surge of late or missed diagnoses is due to the increase in the number of patients being referred to consultants, often unnecessarily. The number of malpractice claims against GPs in Ireland continues to increase, causing doctors to practice more defensively, this causing the increase in the number of referrals.

According to Dr Wallace, doctors facing such claims offer a reduced level of service and care due to the stress that is associated with such a malpractice allegation. Therefore, more patients are at placed at risk of a medication error or missed diagnosis as a result.

She commented that such a review is “timely considering the increased interest in focusing on primary care as a way of improving patient care and safety”, hoping that a review of this nature would provide an insight into the best way forward in reducing the number of GP malpractice claims in Ireland.

HSE Complaints Rise by a Quarter

HSE complaints have risen by more than a quarter in the past year according to figures published by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

6,613 complaints in total were registered during 2012 by the HSE, of which 3,049 dealt with the treatment patients received during the year – a rise of 27 percent over the 2,388 received in 2011 in the same category.

The total number of complaints about the HSE included 805 about unnecessary delays in treatment and time on waiting lists for medical attention, and more than 600 were made in connection with the attitude of hospital staff and their reluctance to communicate with patients.

Further increases were recorded in the number of complaints about clinical judgement (up almost 37 percent) while others were made in connection with  to nursing homes, infection control, cancellation of appointments and hospital beds, rooms and food.

Possibly due to the major increase in the number of complaints about patients´ treatment, only a total of 69 percent of the number of complaints was dealt with within the thirty day limit promised by the HSE, and the highest number of complaints (2,089) originated from the HSE South region.

Note about HSE Complaints

Not all HSE complaints in Ireland develop into compensation claims, but the procedure has to be completed within 12 months of receiving sub-standard care if you wish to claim health service complaints compensation for a loss, an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition or illness due to the negligence of a medical practitioner.

The specific nature of your injury – and whether you were a public or private patient when you were in receipt of it – will determine how and where the complaint should be made and, to avoid possible contradictions when you later make a claim for compensation, you complaint should always be made after seeking legal advice from an experienced negligence solicitor.

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Settlement Approved for Man who Fell from Scaffolding

The High Court has approved a settlement of €750,000 in compensation for a man who fell three meters from a scaffolding tower while he was helping his brother make repairs to the roof of his house.

Patrick Rayner from Mitchelstown, County Cork suffered his fall in heavy rain in December 2008 and sustained a fractured skull in Killmallock, County Limerick. Mr.Rayner suffered hearing loss, a reduction in his taste and sell senses and now suffers frequent headaches.

The victim claimed that the scaffolding had not been secured to a permanent structure and therefore his brother had failed to provide him with a duty of care for his safety. Mr.Rayner’s brother did not dispute his liability and the settlement of €750,000 had already been agreed leaving Ms Justice Mary Irvine to approve the settlement.