Whiplash Claims Help News
Posted: January 30th, 2017
Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, President of Dublin’s Circuit Court, has ruled that a €31,000 settlement for a young girl’s broken leg is not sufficient for the injuries she sustained.
The young girl, who has remained anonymous, was injured in April 2015 whilst attending the Larkin Early Education Centre in Ballybough, Dublin. The girl – then just two years old – managed to climb on top of a wardrobe and fell to the floor. Staff from the care centre rushed her to hospital, where an x-ray showed that she had fractured her tibia. An emergency operation was required to reset the bone.
For many weeks after the accident, the toddler was required to wear a full-leg cast. Once this was removed, she had to wear a protective boot until her injury was completely healed. However, two years on, the little girl still complains of intense pain and soreness in the leg that was broken in the fall. Her mother consulted a personal injuries solicitor and made a claim for personal injuries compensation on her daughter’s behalf against the Larkin Early Education Centre.
The claim alleged that the play centre had failed in their duty of care towards the young girl. After initial assessment by the Injuries Board, on offer of €31,000 was made. Her mother’s solicitors advised against accepting this offer, believing it inadequate for the nature of the injury sustained. Acting on this advice, the offer was refused and since no other was forthcoming, the case proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court.
At the court hearing, which took place earlier this month, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was detailed the nature of the accident and the long-term impact the injury has had on the young girl. The judge agreed that the settlement was inadequate and has ordered the case to go to a full hearing.
How much compensation a victim is due is based on figures in the Book of Quantum, which has recently been revised. The book rules that the minimum compensation to be awarded for a fracture such as the little girl’s – where a bone had been displaced – was €40,500. Additionally, it states that injuries to the tibia are more serious than similar injuries to the fibula, and the fact that the child is still suffering dictates a higher settlement is due.
Posted: December 5th, 2016
A judge at the Limerick Circuit Court has awarded a plaintiff €10,000 compensation for exacerbating whiplash symptoms sustained in previous accidents.
In March 2015, the plaintiff – – a thirty-eight year old father of two from Rhebogue in County Limerick – was waiting at a junction by the Thomond Bridge in Limerick when his employer´s work van was struck from behind by a hit-and-run driver. While the plaintiff was reporting the accident to his employer, the negligent driver sped off – hitting the wall in his rush to leave the scene of the accident.
The plaintiff attended his GP´s surgery the following day complaining of aggravating existing neck, shoulder and lower back injuries – injuries he had sustained in several previous road traffic accidents. He also complained of suffering psychological problems as a result of the accident, and is receiving injections to manage his physical injuries.
When the negligent driver responsible for causing the accident had been located, the plaintiff claimed compensation for exacerbating whiplash injuries. However, the negligent driver´s insurance company refused to give its consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment, and the plaintiff was given an authorisation to claim compensation for exacerbating whiplash injuries through the court system.
The case was heard last week at Limerick Circuit Court, where legal representatives for Liberty Insurance – the negligent driver´s insurance company – told Judge James O´Donohue that the plaintiff had made many similar claims in the past. The representatives read out a long list of previous successful injury compensation claims stretching back almost twenty years – including five in which a road traffic accident had exacerbated previous whiplash symptoms.
The judge was also told that the plaintiff was receiving disability benefits for his existing injuries, and was only allowed to work a certain number of hours each week. Commenting that the plaintiff had been “well compensated in the past”, Judge O´Donohue awarded him €10,000 compensation for exacerbating whiplash symptoms and his costs – describing the plaintiff as a “very unfortunate injury prone individual”.
Posted: October 9th, 2016
A young girl from Dublin, who punctured a lung after falling from an unsafe window, has had her compensation settlement approved by a Circuit Court judge.
In August 2012, when Róisín Byrne was just fifteen months old, she was living with her parents in an old Georgian building in Blackrock. However, whilst at the property, the little girl fell from a large sash window, falling nearly three metres before landing on a fire escape. Little Róisín was extensively injured, with lacerations to her head, broken ribs and a punctured lung. Róisín, now five years old, has recovered from her injuries though still bears a scar on her head.
Chloe Murphy and Ronan Byrne, Róisín’s parents, had previously expressed concerns about the window to the caretaker of the property. They felt that it was dangerous, as it opened very close to the ground and they had a young daughter. As such, they requested that the caretaker put an extra latch or lock on the window such that it would be more secure and an accident would not happen.
Róisín’s parents, Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy, had complained before the accident to the property’s caretaker that the window through which Róisín fell posed a hazard for the little girl, as it opened very close to the ground. As such, they requested that an extra lock be put on it. This request was never heeded.
Chloe Murphy, acting on Róisín’s behalf, made a claim for assessment of injuries with the Injuries Board. The owner of the Blackrock property, Enda Woods, consented to the assessment, after which the Injuries Board recommended a settlement of €46,000.
Though both parties agreed upon the sum, the claim for compensation was made on behalf of a child. As such, the settlement had to be approved by a judge before it could be awarded. As the value of the assessment exceeded €15,000, it proceeded to Dublin’s Circuit Court.
The case was overseen by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. After he was detailed the circumstances of the accident and Róisín’s injuries, he approved the sum. The €46,000 will now be held in court funds until Róisín reaches adulthood.
Posted: September 26th, 2016
After many years of criticism, a new Book of Quantum will be published in Ireland with updated estimates of compensation settlements.
First published back in 2004, the Book of Quantum is a reference text used by solicitors, insurance companies and judges alike to settle claims for personal injury compensation when the victim of the accident was not at fault. It contains an extensive list of injuries and provides estimates as to how much compensation should be awarded in each instance, accounting for the severity of the injury and the long-term effects it will have on the victim’s health.
Yet the book has not been altered in twelve years, and as such many are dissatisfied with the estimates provided. Some solicitors and judges have stopped referencing the book when settling claims, whilst more still will continue to use the publication and only award the highest settlement. These different approaches to the issue have resulted in inconsistencies in how much compensation victims receive.
In an effort to tackle this problem, many of Ireland’s senior judges, along with the Courts Services and the Injuries Board began to write a new Book of Quantum. The new Book of Quantum uses data collected on over 52,000 personal injuries claims made in Ireland between 2013 and 2014. As such, the book is hoped to reflect current affairs.
Amongst other changes, the estimates were altered from the original to account for inflation over the last twelve years and changes in the cost of living. Additionally, more subcategories were introduced to facilitate fair and accurate compensation settlements.
Those hoping to recover compensation for injuries they sustained through accidents that were not their fault should consult a personal injuries solicitor as soon as possible after the accident occurred. The Book of Quantum only considers physical injuries, but it is also possible to claim for compensation if you have suffered a negative impact on your quality of life, emotional trauma or financial loss. A solicitor will help you through the complicated legal processes and work with you to recover a fair settlement.
Posted: August 21st, 2016
A judge in Dublin’s High Court has dismissed any allegations that a courier, who was injured when knocked down by a taxi whilst on a delivery, was at fault for his injury.
The courier, Rotimi Omotayo, was injured in March 2015 when delivery to a location off the Custom House Quay. Rotimi was cycling between lanes when a taxi, driven by Kenneth Griffin, quickly pulled out from a lane on the carriageway. Rotimi was hit by the taxi and fell to the ground.
Rotimi was incredibly fortunate in that he did not sustain any sever injuries as a result of the fall, and he returned to work relatively quickly after the accident occurred. Upon making an application for assessment to the Injuries Board, Rotimi learned that he was being accused of negligence leading to his own injuries. As such, the Injuries Board refused to assess his case. The courier was still issued with authorisation to pursue his claim through the High Court, where it was overseen by Mr Justice Bernard Barton earlier this month.
The court heard evidence from a variety of witnesses supporting both opposing parties. Before awarding compensation, the court needed to assess whether or not Rotimi was guilty of contributory negligence by breaching Road Traffic Regulations.
However, Judge Barton ruled that Rotimi was not breaching regulations. As he was crossing to the “river side” of the quay, he was entitled to be in the outside lane before turning. All allegations of contributory negligence were dismissed.
Judge Barton also commented on a contemporary issue in the courts when he said that he would not use the Book of Quantum in determining the settlement as it was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.
Instead, the principles of Tort Law was applied and Rotimi was awarded €30,000 in general damages for his injuries. The courier did not receive any special damages as Judge Barton ruled that the claim lacked evidence, though Rotimi was compensated for his legal costs.
Posted: July 8th, 2016
A teenage girl, who sustained a deep cut to her knee whilst she was on holiday with her family as a child, has received a six-figure settlement of compensation for the injury.
The accident occurred in August 2009, when Shauna Burke – then aged ten – was holidaying in the Slattery Caravan Park, Co. Clare, with her family. Whilst playing with her friends, Shauna ran past a pole that had a nail jutting from it. This nail caused a deep laceration to Shauna’s leg.
Though Shuana received immediate medical attention, the nature of the deep wound meant that she had a very noticeable scar above her knee. John Burke, acting on Shauna’s behalf, consumed a solicitor and proceeded to make a personal injuries claim against Austin Francis Slattery, who owned the holiday facility.
In the claim, Slattery was accused of negligence. It was alleged that he was aware of the nail and knew that it was a potential hazard for the guests of the park. Though Slattery denied that he was liable for Shauna’s accident and subsequent scar, he offered a €106,000 personal injury settlement for Shauna’s suffering and future medical procedures.
However, as Shauna is a minor, the claim had to be approved by a judge in the High Court before it could be awarded. Mr Justice Anthony Barr oversaw the hearing, who approved the settlement after seeing Shauna’s scar and hearing the details of the case.
However, as Shuana is just seventeen, the settlement will be paid into court funds until her eighteenth birthday.
Posted: June 16th, 2016
The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has recently stated that the Irish government should compensate a woman for the ordeal she endured to access an abortion, as well as calling for reform of the restrictive laws.
These criticisms come in spite of changes to the Eighth Amendment – which protects the right to life of the unborn – that were introduced in 2013. Under the new regulations, women may access terminations if it can be shown that their health is put at risk by the pregnancy. However, this applies to a limited number of cases and there are still many instances in which terminations are illegal. These include fatal foetal abnormalities and pregnancies that result from rape or incest.
With such restrictive laws, many Irish women will choose to travel abroad for treatment. Amanda Mellet was once such woman – at twenty-one weeks, she learned that her foetus had abnormalities that would inevitable lead to a miscarriage or death shortly after birth. Amanda did not want to endure either scenario, and travelled to the United Kingdom – a common destination for those in similar situations – for treatment.
Amanda has since testified that her experience was traumatic and upsetting. The regulations meant that it was hard to access information on the procedure before she left, and it prevented her from seeking bereavement counselling upon her return. Amanda then decided to start “Termination for Medical Reasons”, an campaign that fights for changes to Irish law. The organisation has even gone to the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing that claims that the current laws are cruel, discriminatory, inhuman and degrading.
The Human Rights Committee ruled in Amanda’s favour, finding that the current laws put Amanda’s health and wellbeing at risk.The committee called for the a settlement of compensation to be paid to Amanda, as she underwent necessary financial and emotional suffering because of the government’s failure to provide terminations “in the familiar environment of her own country and under the care of health professionals whom she knew and trusted.”
The United Nations went further in their criticisms of the State, saying that the government should consider revising the Eighth Amendment to allow “effective, timely and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination in Ireland, and take measures to ensure that healthcare providers are in a position to supply full information on safe abortion services without fearing being subjected to criminal sanctions.”
Posted: May 11th, 2016
A Dublin-based food storage company has plead guilty to HSA charges of breaching health and safety laws that lead to the death of an employee.
The victim of the accident, Robert Ceremuga, was just thirty-two years old when he was killed in a work accident on the 28th November 2015. Whilst working in a warehouse owned by his employers, VF Coldstores Ltd, a rack that was supporting over thirty-six tonnes of foodstuff gave way, causing the products to fall onto Robert and kill him instantly. A report followed that determined the rack broke because of an accidental collision with a forklift, which was being operated by an employee that had been working with the firm for just three weeks. It was later uncovered that the person operating the vehicle lacked the adequate license to drive a forklift.
VF Coldstores Ltd were then prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority, who alleged that the company had breached health and safety laws. Last month, at the Circuit Criminal Court, a representative for the firm plead guilty to all charges. The court, overseen by Judge Melanie Greally, also heard a victim impact statement read by Maria, Robert’s widow. After this statement the hearing was adjourned by Judge Greally such that a “scientific” approach could be used when calculating compensation.
The hearing was reconvened by Judge Greally earlier this month, during which VF Coldstores Ltd were fined €200,000 for breaching the health and safety regulations. In an interview with the press after the announcement of the fine, Brian Higgisson, the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA, said that “It is important that employers adequately manage and conduct work activities, in particular carrying out risk assessments before any major works, such as alterations to racking. These assessments should ensure that everyone has the necessary training, knowledge and experience to complete the work in a safe manner.”
Posted: April 14th, 2016
A High Court judge has awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation to a waitress after expert testimony showed the jugs she was required to use were not fit for purpose.
The claim for compensation was made by Sophie Caillaud, aged forty-two, after she sustained a deep cut to her thumb when a jug she was using suddenly shattered in her hand. At the time of the accident, Sophie was working in the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, Co. Leitrim.
Sophie was brought to hospital and surgery was carried out to try and heal any soft-tissue damage she had sustained. However, since the accident Sophie has not regained full strength in the digit and this has negatively affected her ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
After seeking legal counsel, Sophie made a claim for her work accident compensation against Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd, the suppliers and manufacturers of the jugs.
The two defendants disputed the claim for compensation made by Sophie, alleging that the amount being requested was too high for the type of injury sustained. The also argued that Sophie had acted negligently, and contributed to the accident herself.
Negotiations did not yield any results, and after interventions from the Injuries Board failed, the case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross was informed of previous injuries sustained by hotel staff because of the same type of glass jug that had injured Sophie.
An expert witness also gave testimony at the hearing of how rapid heating and cooling of the jugs – as they would experience in a dishwasher – would have weakened the joint between the jug’s thick handle and comparatively thin body. The expert concluded that the jugs did pose a risk and were, as such, unfit for purpose.
After Sophie gave her testimony, Judge Cross dismissed any allegations made by the defendants of her contributory negligence, as well as allegations made that she had exaggerated the extent of her injuries. After commenting that he had found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, he awarded her €500,000 in compensation.
Posted: March 12th, 2016
A compensation claim made by a chef for injuries sustained in a restaurant kitchen have been resolved for a five-figure compensation settlement.
Mr Shijun Liu was working in the Howard’s Way Restaurant, Rathgar in March 2013 when the accident occurred. On the day of the incident, Mr Liu was working in the restaurant’s sister establishment in Dublin, and was trying to help a cleaner manoeuvre a domestic power hose that was used to clean kitchens.
As he was attempting to untangle the hose, it suddenly turned on and started spurting scalding water, causing severe burns to Mr Liu’s foot. He was taken to the VHI Clinic in Dundrum for treatment.
Mr Liu was incapacitated for two weeks after the accident, unable to return to work. After seeking legal advice, Mr Liu proceeded to make a claim against his employer, Declan Howard (trading as Howard’s Way Restaurant). When the Injuries Board requested permission to investigate the claim, however, it was denied.
The claim for the kitchen injury compensation was taken to the Circuit Civil Court earlier this month, where it was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. Evidence was given that the hose was not suitable for use with such hot water, as it would have softened over time. Judge Groarke found in Mr Liu’s favour, awarding him €15,000 compensation, adding that he found Mr Liu’s version of the events very compelling.
Posted: February 16th, 2016
The liability for injuries sustained by a social worker while working for the HSE has been split equally between the man and his employer.
In June 2009, a social care worker by the name of Joseph Kavanagh (54) was working with youth with behavioural difficulties in a Special Care Residential Unit. Joseph-originally from Enfield, County Meath-was asked to supervisor a teenager on a routine family visit. Towards the end of the occasion, the teenager-who must remain anonymous for legal reasons-grew agitated and ran away from Joseph.
Joseph ran after his charge, but twisted his knee and fell to the pavement, hearing a loud cracking sound as he hit the ground. He was brought to hospital, and an x-ray later revealed that he had broken a bone in the area. Despite medical intervention, Joseph still experiences discomfort that distracts him from daily life. He was also left with a scar from his injury.
Joseph sought legal advice, and made a social care worker injury claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE). In the action, Joseph claimed that his employer failed to carry out a thorough risk assessment of the situation, despite the youth showing severe agitation prior to the visit. Joseph argued that had the assessment been carried out, a fellow social care worker or member of staff should have been present so that Joseph would not have had to give pursuit.
His employers denied any liability for Joseph’s injuries. The social care worker injury claim was brought to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Judge Francis Comerford. Midway through proceedings, the judge was told that a settlement had been agreed between the parties and that the dispute had been resolved.
The details of the settlement of compensation were not released, but it is known that the liability for Joseph’s injuries were split equally between the HSE and Joseph. The case was struck out of court, and Joseph was awarded his legal fees.
Posted: January 31st, 2016
A twenty-five year-old Longford man has received a settlement of compensation for brain injuries he sustained at just eighteen years old.
On the 27th January 2009, Francis Smith – of Edgeworthstown in County Longford and employed in a local factory – was driving along a road. However, because of an oncoming vehicle, Mr Smith had to suddenly swerve to avoid a collision. This action, regrettable, caused his to collide with a parked lorry just ahead of him, and left him with severe and extensive physical and cognitive injuries.
Mr Smith, then aged just eighteen years old, was so severely injured by the collision that he can no longer work, and is reliant on his mother, Martina Dempsey, for twenty-four-seven care. Acting on behalf of hew disabled son, Ms Dempsey filed a claim for compensation against the Longford County Council. In the claim, Mr Smith’s mother alleged that there were the ongoing roadworks were not sufficiently advertised and as such motorists were not adequately aware of their presence. Additionally, there was no flagman at the site to make drivers aware of oncoming vehicles. She also claimed that the lorry with which her son collided was parked such that it extended too far onto the road, and its nearness to the roadworks posed another danger.
Longford County Council never conceded liability for Mr Smith’s injuries, counteracting Ms Dempsey’s claim by stating Mr Smith was mostly accountable for his injuries as he had been negligent and driven too fast for the conditions of the road.
When the case went to Dublin’s High Court, the parties had negotiated a €750,000 settlement of compensation – roughly 25% of the claim’s full value. The case was overseen by Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who proceeded to approve the settlement of compensation. In his closing remarks, Judge Cross said he wished Mr Smith well in his future.
Posted: December 22nd, 2015
A judge in Dublin’s High Court has awarded compensation for emotional trauma to a fourteen-year-old boy after a fire in his home left him traumatised.
The accident occurred when a Hotpoint dishwasher burst into flames in a family home in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath on the 26th June 2010. The entire Monds family, who owned the home, managed to escape the burning building with little physical damage, though they could not live in their house until the following spring.
One of the Monds’ children, Aaron – who was just nine years old at the time – was severely affected by the fire. He suffered from a known intellectual disability, and the fire exacerbated his obsessive-compulsive tendencies to include checking and rechecking that electrical appliances were turned off.
Henry Monds, Aaron’s father, made a claim for emotional trauma compensation on his son’s behalf against Indesit UK Ltd, who manufacture Hotpoint appliances. AN investigation had attributed the start of the fire to a fault in the appliance, and after the company admitted liability, the case proceeded to the High Court. This was necessary because the claim was made on behalf of a minor.
The case was overseen by Mr Justice Bernard Barton, who heard evidence of how Aaron was still badly affected through night terrors and anxiety around fires. Testimony was also given that therapy was helping to relive some of the symptoms, though Aaron was still anxious that another fire could occur.
After accepting Aaron’s medical evidence and diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, Judge Barton awarded Aaron a compensation settlement of €51,244. The judge ordered that this settlement be paid into court fund unit Aaron reached the age of eighteen.
Posted: November 28th, 2015
A teenager, who successfully made a claim for compensation for injuries she sustained in a traffic accident when she was just six years old against her mother, has received a €1.3 million compensation settlement.
The accident occurred on the 26th November 2005, when Beth Cullen – then aged just six years old, from Wicklow – was travelling as a passenger in a car driven by her mother, Caroline Barrett, along the infamous Nine Bends, part of the N11. As a result of the accident, beth became blind in her left eye, deaf in her left ear, and lost her sense of smell.
William Cullen, Beth’s father, proceeded to make a claim for compensation on his daughter’s behalf against Ms Barrett. In the claim, he alleged that – as well as not having enough regard for their daughter’s safety – Ms Barrett could not adequately steer, stop or manoeuvre the family car that she had been driving. As such, she caused the crash which resulted in Beth’s serious injuries.
Ms Barrett’s insurance company conceded liability for the accident, and the parties proceeded to negotiate a compensation settlement for Beth. When the sum – €1.3 million – was agreed upon, the case proceeded to the High Court. As the claim was made on behalf of a minor, a judge had to approve the settlement before it could be awarded.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw proceedings in the High Court earlier this month. After hearing the circumstances of the case, and details of how Beth was managing to do well in school in spite of her obvious difficulties, Judge Cross approved the settlement for car crash compensation, wishing Beth well for the future.
Posted: October 30th, 2015
A group of seven patients, whose gynaecologist had recently been found negligent by the Medical Council, have made claims for compensation after negligent hysterectomies.
Each woman filing for compensation received treatment from Dr Peter van Greene, who performed the allegedly negligent procedures between 2009 and 2011 at the Aut Even private hospital in Kilkenny. The gynaecologist was recently found guilty by the Medical Council’s Fitness to Practice Committee for two counts of poor professional performance.
Helen Cruise and three other women – who have remained anonymous – brought forward the complaints against Dr van Greene. Helen underwent a hysterectomy at the private facility, but told the Medical Council that the gynaecologist did not get her informed consent before the treatment was carried out.
She told the committee that the procedure, along with any risks associated with it, were not explained to her until after the administration of her anaesthetic.
Helen also told the council of how she needed 6 pints of blood after the operation because of excessive bleeding. Ever since, Helen has suffered from bouts of depression because of the poor standard of treatment.
The committee also heard evidence of how Dr van Greene, now unemployed, had recently filed for bankruptcy in the United Kingdom. Before becoming unemployed, Dr van Greene worked at the Whitfield Clinic in Waterford whilst the investigation into his alleged misconduct was carried out.
Though he has filed for bankruptcy, this does not prevent Dr van Greene’s patients from getting compensation if they are granted it. The settlements would be paid by Dr van Greene’s formed medical indemnity insurance company.
Posted: September 5th, 2015
A forty-seven year-old man, who was seriously injured after he fell from a ladder at work, has received compensation for his injuries.
The accident occurred on the 22nd March 2011 when Michael Brady, from Monasterevin in Co. Kildare, was working at his family firm in Naas. He had just started work at the Philip Brady Building Contractors Ltd when he was asked to clear vegetation from a gutter. Accompanied by his father, Philip Brady (who does not own the company, but is related to the owner), he climbed atop of a sixteen-foot ladder to accomplish the job.
Philip briefly left his son, but by the time he returned, Michael had fallen from the ladder and was found unresponsive on the ground. The emergency services were called and Michael was rushed to hospital. There, he underwent emergency neurosurgery and since has had other operations to reconstruct his the damage to his face and repair some more of the brain damage. However, since the accident, Michael has been dependent on round-the-click care and has suffered from impaired vision.
The brain damage meant that Michael was deemed unable to represent himself in court, and as such Philip Brady Senior made a claim for work injury compensation on his son’s behalf. In the claim, Philip alleges that the ladder Michael was required to use was not suitable for the task and that it lacked sufficient safety guards to prevent him falling.
However, Philip Brady Building Contractors Ltd denied that they were liable for Michael’s accident. However, just before the scheduled High Court hearing, the judge who was to oversee the case was informed that Michael had been offered a compensation settlement of €1.5 million. The judge approved the settlement for a work injury claim and then closed the case.
Posted: August 10th, 2015
The critical comments, which claimed that children in residential care homes are put in a “vulnerable situation”, were made by the Ombudsman for Children whilst on national television.
Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children, was interviewed as part of RTE1’s “Morning Ireland” programme earlier this week when he criticised the HSE’s Child and Family Service (“TUSLA). During the programme, he claimed that the scheme was allowing both voluntary and private residential homes for children to continue running, despite evidence that those who ran them were breaching regulations.
The Ombudsman said that the shortage of staff at TUSLA was largely to blame for the “inconsistencies and discrepancies” across the country. He said that his office conducted their own investigation, which uncovered that there was often a fourteen month delay after registration for an investigation. Muldoon said that it was this delay that caused children in the homes to be put in a “vulnerable situation”.
Mr Muldoon went on the explain that the inconsistencies were a result of the HSE having four different regions that grew over two decades. Each separate regions have its own regulations and procedures, which means that the standards across the different regions varies. This concerns the Ombudsman, who says that his office would like to see the same standards across the country.
The Ombudsman has initiated proposals with TUSLA that aims to amalgamate the body into the Health and Information and Quality Authority (HIQA, who currently monitor state-run residential care homes). They hope that the agency will be independent, in line with recommendations made by the 2009 Ryan Report.
Brian Lee, TUSLA’s Director of Quality Assurance, spoke later on RTE’s News at One, saying that “We are working very closing with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and with HIQA to move this along. There’s nothing impeding us from supporting this process but it’s in the hands of the Department and HIQA to move this forward.”
Posted: July 11th, 2015
A seventy year-old woman has been awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation after she injured herself in the local Dunnes Stores.
On the 2nd July 2013, Bernadette O’Leary went to her local branch of Dunnes Stores to buy a waterproof canopy, which she would then use to protect her stall at the local market where she sold food products.
After searching the shop, Bernadette found a small gazebo. However, she was unsure whether or not it was waterproof, and asked an employee for assistance. However, the assistant she asked was also unsure. He asked Bernadette to follow him through the store as he found a colleague to consult.
However, as Bernadette followed the shop assistant, she fell to the ground after tripping over a deckchair that had been removed from its packaging. This was done so that the deckchair could be put on display, but in the interim it was left aside.
Bernadette was taken to hospital in an ambulance, but had to wait on a trolley for over forty-eight hours as there was no available bed. Eventually, she was treated for a broken hip. Upon her discharge, Bernadette sought legal counsel before making a claim for shop injury compensation against Dunnes Stores.
In her legal action, Bernadette alleged that Dunnes Stores were negligent by leaving the deckchair out in an aisle, as it posed a serious trip hazard. However, this was contested by the retailer, who argued that Bernadette should have been more cautious.
As liability was contested, Bernadette was issued with authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue her claim in court. As such, the case was heard earlier this week in Cork’s High Court by Mr Justice Henry Abbot.
During the hearing, CCTV footage of Bernadette’s fall was presented to the judge. Considering this, and other evidence, he ruled that “the defendant had invited the plaintiff into the path of a hazard on which she fell and was injured”. He then proceeded to award Bernadette €137,000 for her injuries.
Posted: June 13th, 2015
A High Court judge has ruled that the victim of a hit-and-run accident was partially liable for his injuries.
The accident occurred on the 2nd November 2012 when twenty-five year old Anthony Driver, from Enniskerry in Wicklow, was waiting on a friend after a night out. He was hit whilst standing at Sidmonton Avenue Junction.
Anthony cannot remember much of the accident. He can recall that the car – which was never identified – briefly pulled over after hitting him, but proceeded to drive away. The driver did not check Anthony’s condition or call the emergency services.
Later that night, Anthony was found by a passing Garda. The Garda proceeded to take Anthony to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with extensive fractures to his spine and ribs, lacerations to his liver and other internal injuries.
Anthony spent a total of nine days in hospital, with four of them spent in the intensive care unit. Despite his treatment, Anthony still experiences pains in his back and found it difficult to eat.
To claim compensation, Anthony had to make his claim with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MBI). The MBI handle claims where the perpetrator of the crime was never traced by the police, as is the case with Anthony’s accident. They also handle cases where the driver was uninsured.
However, Anthony’s claim was disputed by the MBI. This was based on a testimony from the Garda who found him, who described Anthony as “grossly intoxicated” on the evening of the hit and run. Taking this statement into account, the MBI argue that Anthony was partially responsible for his injuries.
The case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin to settle the liability dispute. There, the case was heard by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns. Anthony confessed to the judge that he had been inebriated on the evening of the accident, which caused the MBI to restate their argument that he was somewhat liable for what happened.
The hearing was briefly adjourned before Judge Kearns returned to assign Anthony 75% contributory negligence for his hit-and-run injuries.
Posted: April 15th, 2015
A leading UK solicitor has published an opinion piece in which she argues that insurance industry whiplash claims are out of proportion.
Ruth Bennett – a specialist in road traffic compensation claims in the UK – wrote her Op-Ed in response to insurance industry whiplash claims by Aviva Liverpool Ltd that the UK´s “compensation culture” was to blame for a forecast 9% year-on-year increase in whiplash injury compensation claims.
According to Aviva Liverpool Ltd, too many fraudulent and exaggerated claims are still being made, and the company speculated that the total number of whiplash injury claims in 2014/15 would exceed 840,000. The company´s press release proposed further changes to whiplash injury legislation that would reduce the number of claimants eligible to claim compensation for whiplash injuries.
Ms Bennett attacked suggestions that the Statute of Limitations for whiplash injury compensation claims should be reduced to twelve months (from three years in the UK) and proposals that – in order to be eligible for whiplash compensation – a claimant must have displayed symptoms of an injury for at least three months.
She added that the Government has already introduced several changes that make it harder for genuinely injured people to claim compensation when they have been hurt in an accident for which they were not at fault, and said that the need for further changes was unnecessary. Ms Bennett also attacked the insurance industry whiplash claims for being misleading.
In a further attack on the insurance industry whiplash claims, Ms Bennett argued that, if insurance companies believed that a “compensation culture existed”, they should be the ones to address the problem. She said that if it was believed by the insurance industry that whiplash claims were fraudulent or exaggerate, why not challenge them in court.
She concluded by saying that the insurance companies promised car insurance premiums would come down when the previous series of changes to whiplash compensation law were made. It did not materialise last time, she argues, and would be unlikely to happen if further changes were made to appease the insurance industry.
Although Ms Bennett´s comments applied to insurance industry whiplash claims made in the UK, the same story applies in Ireland, where there has been a failure by insurance companies to reduce car insurance premiums despite huge savings in litigation costs due to the introduction of the injuries board. And still the insurance companies complain about whiplash injury compensation claims!
Posted: February 17th, 2015
A €10,000 settlement of passenger whiplash injury compensation has been awarded by a Circuit Civil Court judge after a hearing in Dublin.
At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Circuit President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard how John Connors from Saggart in Dublin was a passenger in a car when it collided with a wall on Kiltipper Road in Tallaght on 2nd December 2010.
John – who was fifteen years of age at the time – was treated at the Tallaght Hospital for soft tissue injuries to his neck and back, and returned to the hospital several times to receive physiotherapy on his injuries.
On John´s behalf, his father had made a claim for passenger whiplash injury compensation against the driver of the car – John´s aunt, Bridget Connors. Liability for the accident and John´s injuries was admitted, but John´s father was not happy with the assessment of the claim by the Injuries Board.
An authorisation was issued by the Injuries Board, and the case went before Judge Groarke for his assessment of passenger whiplash injury compensation.
In court, the judge was told that confusion existed over John´s claim, as a similar claim had been made in County Cork. John told the judge that his father (now deceased) had taken him to see a firm of solicitors, but he did not remember who the solicitors were or how to find them.
As the claim for passenger whiplash injury compensation was before Judge Groarke for the assessment of damages only, the judge enquired about any long-term consequences John had suffered as a result of the accident four years ago.
John replied that the soft tissue injuries in his neck and back had healed, but told the judge that he had an unrelated liver condition that meant he could not drink alcohol and that would eventually lead to premature aging.
Judge Groarke awarded John €10,000 passenger whiplash injury compensation and the costs of bringing his legal action. The judge commented that the fact John had suffered soft tissue injuries was not in doubt and liability had not been contested.
Posted: November 25th, 2014
An actress´s legal action for whiplash injuries has been settled out of court during the first day of a hearing in Dublin.
Former “Fair City” actress – Rebecca Smith – took legal action for whiplash injuries after sustaining soft tissue damage on November 24th 2008 during a location shoot in the Mount Merrion Church area of Dublin.
Rebecca – who played the character of Annette Daly in the soap opera – was being filmed while a passenger in a car which was driven by a stuntman employed by RTE. During the filming of the sequence, Rebecca was thrown back and forth in the passenger seat as the stuntman was required to brake sharply on several occasions.
Immediately after shooting the scene, Rebecca – from Killiney, County Dublin – felt pain in her neck and was taken to a local VHI Swiftcare Clinic. Despite receiving prompt treatment, the pain in Rebecca´s neck extended down into her back and through her right arm. Rebecca experienced numbness and tingling all the way down to the fingers of her right hand.
Claiming that her injuries made it impossible for her to sleep, and that she was out of work for a week due to the injuries she sustained, Rebecca took legal action for whiplash injuries against the producers of the show – RTE – claiming that the company was negligent by failing to employ a stunt double during the scene and had thus failed to ensure her safety.
RTE disputed Rebecca´s allegations, and the Injuries Board issued Rebecca with an authorisation in order that Rebecca could pursue her legal action for whiplash injuries through the court process. However, on the first day of the hearing at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Rebecca´s legal representative informed Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the actress had settled her legal action for whiplash injuries and that the claim could be struck out by the court.
Posted: October 30th, 2014
A car accident wrist injury claim, made by a woman who was forced to retire from training horses, has been resolved after a hearing in the Circuit Civil Court.
Denise Murray (49) from Newcastle in County Dublin made her car accident wrist injury claim after a crash in December 2011 left her with a weak right wrist. Denise – who up until the time of the accident had been a stud groom with a small stable of horses that she trained for show jumping and eventing – was unable to continue her outdoor profession and had to take a clerical job in a village post office.
Before Mr Justice Raymond Groake in the Circuit Civil Court, Denise explained that she was no longer able to ride, school or groom her horses and that the slightest pull on her wrist could cause excruciating pain. She added that turning a key in a door or opening a jar with her dominant right hand resulted in pain and that pain killers did not agree with her.
A former DIY enthusiast – Denise has had steroid injections in the base of her thumb to try and resolve her wrist injury, and the only option available for her – Judge Groarke heard – was to undergo surgery that would involve the insertion of pins into her wrist. Denise said that there was no guarantee that this would be successful and that an existing asymptomatic arthritic condition had also been aggravated as a result of the accident.
The judge agreed with Denise´s car accident wrist claim, and said that Denise would have had an ongoing good quality of life for many years had it not been for the trauma she suffered as a result of the car crash. He awarded Denise €30,500 compensation for the injury and her loss of an outdoor occupation.
Posted: August 19th, 2014
A woman´s passenger whiplash injury compensation claim has been settled for $3.1 million after a trial at the Superior Court of California in Pasadena.
Teresa Gamage (59) from Beverley Hills in California brought her passenger whiplash injury compensation claim after being hurt in a low-impact collision in May 2011. The vehicle in which Teresa was a front seat passenger was waiting at a red light near Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles when it was rear-ended at low speed by a car driven by Estelle Roitblat.
Teresa immediately felt a pain in her neck and attended her doctor the same day. An MRI scan revealed that Teresa had ruptured the C5-6 disc in her neck and, due to the soft tissue injuries also sustained in the accident, it was pressing against her spinal cord and causing her considerable pain.
Doctors attempted to manage the pain with epidural injections and physical therapy, but in November 2011 Teresa had to undergo fusion surgery. Due to the costs of the mounting medical expenses, Teresa sought legal advice and made a passenger whiplash injury compensation claim against Roitblat.
Roitblat contested the claim on the grounds that the impact between the two cars had caused only minimal damage and was insufficient to cause such a serious injury. Roitblat´s insurance company also contested Teresa´s claim on the grounds that the amount being claimed was excessive.
Roitblat´s insurers offered Teresa a settlement of her passenger whiplash injury compensation claim amounting to $87,000 – a fraction her medical expenses – and the offer was rejected by Teresa´s solicitors. Consequently the case was presented to a jury at the Superior Court of California in Pasadena before Judge Jan Pluim.
During the trial, Roitblat´s solicitors pressed the case that neither Teresa´s claim nor the amount of compensation she was asking for could be justified. However, after four hours of deliberations, the jury delivered a verdict in favour of Teresa and awarded her $3.1 million in resolution of her passenger whiplash injury compensation claim.
Posted: July 29th, 2014
Settlements of whiplash injury compensation claims could be delayed by up to three months following the introduction of the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme.
The “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme” is a new initiative due to be introduced on Friday 1st August which will enable the Department of Social Protection to recover welfare benefits paid to plaintiffs that directly relate to their whiplash accident.
Although likely to only affect the most seriously injured plaintiffs (due to the category of welfare benefit that is included in the new scheme), insurance companies will have to apply to the Department of Social Protection for a statement indicating the value of applicable welfare payments paid to the plaintiff over the previous five years.
The insurance company will then deduct the appropriate amount from settlements of whiplash injury compensation claims, send the repayment of the welfare benefits to the Department of Social Protection, and the balance to the plaintiff. The problem of delayed settlements is caused by the procedures that are involved.
The Department of Social Protection has four weeks in which to supply the insurance company with the statement of benefits paid; after which the insurance company must send the repayment to the Department and wait for a certificate of repayment to be received before sending the balance to the injured plaintiff. Depending on the efficiency of the Department and the insurance company, settlements of whiplash injury compensation claims could be delayed by up to three months.
It is important to note that the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme only applies to plaintiffs who have received Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Injury Benefit, Illness Benefit, Partial Capacity Benefit or Incapacity Supplement as a direct result of their whiplash injury. Plaintiffs who have not received these benefits, will experience a much shorter delay while the Department of Social protection confirms that no deductions are to be made.
If you are not clear about the new process for settlements of whiplash injury compensation claims, you should speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.
Posted: February 13th, 2014
A thirty-two year old woman, who suffered devastating injuries because of a driver´s irresponsibility, has resolved her claim for a passenger injury in a car accident after a hearing at the High Court.
Lydia Branley from Kinlough in Country Leitrim – a former air traffic controller – was left in a coma in September 2010 when the driver of a BMW Coupe in which she was a passenger lost control of the vehicle at 150km per hour and came off the N4 on the Ballinsodare slip road near Sligo.
The BMW collided with two roadside barriers, hit a pole and ended up on its roof in a stream by the side of the road. The driver of the BMW and another passenger were thrown from the car in the accident, but Lydia was knocked unconscious and had to be rescued from the wreckage by emergency services.
Lydia was rushed to Sligo General Hospital, from where she was transferred to Dublin´s Beaumont Hospital due to her serious condition. She remained in a coma for nine months and discovered when she awoke that she had lost the use of her limbs and was unable to speak.
The driver of the car – Martin Kearney from Balinoo in County Mayo – was also injured in the accident but was subsequently convicted in June 2012 of dangerous driving causing serious harm and sentenced to six years in prison. He was also banned from driving for twenty years.
Through her father, Lydia made a claim for a passenger injury in a car accident and a settlement of €10 million was negotiated. However, due to Lydia´s condition, the settlement had to first be approved by a judge before the claim could be concluded.
Therefore, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard the circumstances of the car crash, the details of Lydia´s injuries and an explanation of why Lydia will require full-time care for the rest of her life.
Judge Irvine commented that the settlement of compensation for a passenger injury in a car accident did not give back Lydia her life. “Nothing will”, the judge said, “but it will provide her with the best care and hopefully bring back a degree of normality.” Judge Irvine then approved the settlement and closed the hearing.
Posted: January 14th, 2014
The Road Safety Authority has warned of the risk of fatal and serious injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt in its provisional annual report.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has released provisional figures in relation to road accidents in Ireland in 2013, which show an increase in the number of fatal collision and fatal injuries for the first time since 2005.
According to reports made by An Garda Siochána, there were 181 fatal collisions (152 in 2012) resulting in 190 fatal injuries (162 in 2012) during the year ended 31st December 2013.
Drivers (95) and their passengers (32) accounted for two-thirds of the citizens killed on Irish roads in 2013, with the remainder made up by “vulnerable road users” – pedestrians (31), motorcyclists (27) and pedal cyclists (5).
The RSA identified that many fatal and serious injuries were due to not wearing a seatbelt; claiming that 38% of car user fatalities (in which An Garda Siochána could determine whether the victim(s) had been wearing a seatbelt) could have been avoided if the victim had been secured in the vehicle.
The report highlighted other factors which could have contributed to the increased number of fatal road accidents in 2013 – for example, more motorcyclists were on the roads during the warm summer, leading to a spike in motorcycle accidents.
However, the provisional figures also suggest that there was a decrease in casualties caused by speeding, and showed a decline in fatal accidents involving young drivers in the 21-25 years age group.
The conclusion of the report says that the RSA should allocate more resources to educate both drivers and passengers on the risk of serious injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt.
Posted: November 29th, 2013
The Injuries Board of Ireland has published a press release relating to motor liability claims in which awards of compensation for whiplash injuries are at the top of the list.
The figures released by the Injuries Board show that the Government body received 7,622 applications for the assessment of compensation when injuries had been sustained in a road traffic accident – approximately 75 percent of all the applications received by the Injuries Board in 2012.
The press release states that “the most prevalent injuries sustained in the vast majority of motor claims include soft tissue injuries (neck and back), and orthopaedic related injuries (fractures etc)” and comments that women make slightly more claims for whiplash injury compensation than their male counterparts.
There are several possible explanations for this:
- Women generally have weaker neck muscles than men and are more prone to injury when a rear-end accident occurs
- Women are more likely to be seated in the passenger seat when a rear-end accident occurs and not have the split second that a driver may have to brace prior to impact.
- Car seats are designed to accommodate men, who are generally heavier and taller than women, so that the impact of a rear-end accident frequently results in more severe neck and upper back injuries
The statistics also showed that the average value of awards for car accident injuries in 2012 was €20,631, and that Donegal (11) and Cork (10) were the counties in which the highest number of fatal accidents due to somebody else´s negligence occurred.
Commenting on the figures, Patricia Byron – CEO of the Injuries Board – said “Our award trends indicate that the winter months are the most dangerous on our roads and we are urging all road users to be extra vigilant at this time. We awarded over €157m in compensation for injuries sustained in road traffic accidents last year which reflects the significant human cost of these accidents not to mention the social impact.”
Posted: October 14th, 2013
The Civil Circuit Court in Dublin has approved the settlement of a teenagers injury compensation claim after a hearing into the events before and after her birth in 1999.
Aoife Sheehan (14) from Rathfarnham in Dublin was delivered prematurely at the Coombe Hospital on 15th April 1999 after her mother had gone into early onset labour at thirty-six weeks following a car crash.
Unable to breathe independently after being born, Aoife was transferred to the neo-natal intensive care unit of the Coombe Hospital, where her breathing had to be assisted by a ventilator and medication. Aoife was found to be suffering from respiratory distress syndrome and remained critically ill in intensive care for three weeks.
Through her mother – Martina Sheehan – Aoife made a teenagers injury compensation claim against the driver of the vehicle who had been in collision with her mother – Elaine O’Connor also from Rathfarnham – claiming that had it not been for the accident, Martina would not have gone into early onset labour, Aoife would not have been prematurely and not have suffered from respiratory distress syndrome after her birth.
Insurers for the defendant denied their client´s liability, stating that there was no medical evidence to support an alleged connection between the accident and Aoife´s premature birth, that babies born prematurely were more likely to suffer from respiratory distress and, as the accident happened while Aoife was still in her mother´s womb, she was ineligible to receive compensation anyway
Solicitors representing Aoife pursued her teenagers injury compensation claim and, and following a long period of negotiation, acquired a settlement that would see Aoife receive €15,000 compensation in general damages for the pain and suffering she was subject to after her birth with a further €2,800 allocated in special damages to account for the expenses her parents had incurred looking after her.
At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Matthew Judge Deery approved the settlement of Aoife´s teenagers injury compensation claim; commenting that her solicitors had done a good job in securing a positive outcome, as it would have been difficult to establish Ms O´Connor´s liability had the case been heard in court.
Posted: September 24th, 2013
A woman who suffered serious neck injuries when rear-ended by a Texas Forest Service employee has won a two-year battle against her own insurance company to recover compensation for a whiplash injury.
In April 2011, Brenda Nolen (51) from Texoma in Young County, Texas, was returning from a shopping trip when her Dodge pick-up was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by a Texas Forest Service employee who had fallen asleep at the wheel. The impact of the crash forced Brenda´s pick-up into a petrol pump on a garage forecourt, which burst into flames when she ran into it.
Brenda managed to escape from her burning vehicle with help from passers-by, but she suffered a broken arm, multiple burns and a serious whiplash injury in the accident. Brenda had to undergo multiple operations to repair the injury to her neck and was unable to drive or work for almost two years.
She made a claim for compensation for her whiplash injury against the Forest Service driver´s employers – the State of Texas – to cover her medical costs and to pay for a replacement vehicle. However, the State of Texas rejected her claim for compensation – stating that employees of the State Forest Service were immune from liability for any injuries or accidents caused while on their way to an emergency according to the Homeland Security Act.
Brenda then approached State Farm – her own insurance company – who declined her claim for whiplash injury compensation using the same anti-terrorist legislation. This was despite Brenda obtaining a statement from the Texas Forest Service employee to confirm that he had fallen asleep at the wheel of his vehicle and was not en route to an emergency.
With help from a solicitor, Brenda pursued her entitlement to compensation for a whiplash injury and, after threatening court action, her insurance company agreed to an undisclosed settlement which enabled Brenda to get a new car and cover most – but not all – of her medical expenses.
Posted: September 3rd, 2013
New limits on whiplash injury settlements have been introduced in the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 which have not found favour with representatives of the insurance industry.
Changes in the law introducedby the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 – previously referred to as the Courts Bill – will increase the upper limits on whiplash injury settlements that can be awarded/approved by the District Court from €6,384 to €15,000, and by the Circuit Court from €38,000 to €60,000.
When proposing the changes to the law earlier this year, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that the new limits on whiplash injury settlements would result in a reduction in legal costs due to fewer personal injury compensation claims going to the High Court; however two representatives of the insurance industry have claimed that the new upper limits could add as much as 30% to car insurance premiums.
“Amounts Are Too High”
Commenting on the new limits on whiplash injury settlements, Ken Norgrove from Zurich Insurance said “There amounts are too high. The Personal Injuries Board was great for straightforward and uncontested injuries but people will now take their chances in the District Court”.
His sentiments were echoed by Ciaran Phelan – CEO of the Irish Brokers Association – who accused the Seanad of passing the legislation without consideration of the costs involved. “These changes will see thousands more cases reach the courts this year” he said, “which obviously will increase the legal costs for insurers [and] which will in turn be passed onto consumers”.
Both industry experts predicted that the new limits on whiplash compensation settlements will encourage plaintiffs to “have a go” at a better settlement by pursuing legal action, rather than settle their claims for whiplash injury compensation out of court.
Were Premiums to Rise Anyway?
The warning of higher motor insurance premiums came a day after it was revealed that insurance premiums were likely to rise in any event, because of underwriting losses made throughout the year by insurance companies who have been undercutting each other´s rates to attract business.
Whereas an underwriting loss is a common occurrence for car insurance companies, they normally make a profit on investments income from funds they have on deposit which covers the loss. However, in recent years the return on investment has fallen which has reduced the overall income of the insurance companies and could result in the increase in premiums suggested by Mr Norgrove and Mr Phelan – only not for the reasons they claim.
Posted: August 7th, 2013
A woman from New Orleans, who suffered a neck injury when an escalator she was riding on came to a sudden stop, has made claims for whiplash injuries she alleges she received in the accident.
Gwendolyn Leonard from Gretna in Louisiana made her claims for whiplash injuries after an accident on the escalator between floors of the Boomtown Casino in New Orleans. Gwendolyn alleges in her claims that, when the mechanism jerked to a stop on 30th June 2012, she suffered neck injuries similar to those that would be sustained in a rear-end collision.
She accused the casino of failing in its duty of care to properly maintain and operate the escalator, and is claiming an unspecified amount of compensation for whiplash injuries to account for the pain and suffering she experienced at the time of the accident, her subsequent medical expenses and loss of earnings.
Gwendolyn filed her action against the casino on May 22nd at the 24th Judicial District Court in New Orleans, but as yet the casino has not indicated whether it will accept liability for Gwendolyn´s injuries or contest her claim.
Posted: July 23rd, 2013
A report published in the British Medical Journal has identified that the misdiagnosis of injuries and illnesses is the most common cause of claims against GPs for compensation.
The report – “The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” was prepared by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) and studied more than 7,000 claims against GP for compensation from Ireland and elsewhere around the world.
The report´s objective was to determine which areas of primary care in Ireland should receive special attention when it came to developing educational strategies and providing risk management mechanisms for front-line healthcare professionals including GPs and doctors working in hospital emergency departments.
The primary findings in the RCSI report were:-
- Claims against GPs for compensation were most often made for the misdiagnosis – or a delayed diagnosis – of cancer of heart attacks
- Medication errors – both prescription errors and administration errors – were also highlighted as common mistakes made in primary care
- The errors most frequently cited when children were the patients were the misdiagnosis of appendicitis and delayed diagnosis of meningitis
- Claims against GPs for compensation due to the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition appear to be on the increase year-on-year.
Dr Emma Wallace – the head researcher for the report – admitted that reviewing claims against GP for compensation was not the ideal substitute for accurately recording “adverse effects” in primary healthcare, but it had identified that more GPs and front-line health practitioners were practising more cautiously.
She said that, rather than attempt an accurate diagnosis themselves, more GPs were referring patients to consultants because of the fear of legal action if a mistake was made. This has the knock-on effect on placing more pressure on the Irish Health Service and potentially allowing an avoidable deterioration of an existing condition to go untreated.
It was also discovered that claims against GP for compensation often place front-line healthcare practitioners under greater levels of stress – reducing their ability to make an accurate diagnosis and placing patients at a higher risk of injury. Dr Wallace hopes that, with better educational strategies and risk management mechanisms, the report will help improve the standard of healthcare provided by front-line health practitioners and reduce the number of claims against GPs for compensation.
Posted: December 27th, 2012
A twelve-year-old girl from County Meath has been awarded €3.9 million in child passenger compensation after suffering spinal injuries which left her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Britney Arendse from Kells suffered her life-changing injuries after being involved in a crash in June 2009 with her mother Bridgette – who was driving – her mother’s friend, and her mother’s friend’s two daughters.
The car Britney was travelling in was hit by another vehicle travelling on the wrong side of the road. After the accident Britney and the four other passengers had to be cut from the vehicle by firemen and rushed to hospital. Britney had fallen into a coma by the time she arrived at the hospital. She spent three weeks in Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin, before being moved to the National Rehabilitation Unit.
After hearing that her daughter would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, Bridgette sought legal advice and decided to pursue a claim for compensation against the negligent driver Sean McKenna, and the owner of the car, Patricia McKenna.
The McKennas accepted liability fort Britney’s injuries and agreed to pay a settlement amounting to €3.9m. As Britney was a minor at the time of her accident the award had to be approved by a judge and paid into court funds, where it will rest until Britney reaches eighteen years of age.
You can read more detailed information about here about passengers in car accidents.
Posted: November 22nd, 2012
A young girl from Tuam, Co Galway has been awarded €200,000 in car accident compensation for a child after she suffered severe spinal injuries and witnessed her sister and best friend die in a car crash caused by her mother, who had already been banned from driving.
Twelve-year-old Faith Varden-Carberry, whose injuries were so severe that she had to undergo emergency treatment at the scene before she could be rushed to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, was driven into an embankment outside Edgeworthstown, Co Longford along with her sister Ava (6) and best friend Michela Logan by Mary Carberry (36).
Carberry, who had been disqualified from driving because of a previous accident, was found to have been over the legal alcohol limit at the time of the crash and was later arrested and sentenced to six years in prison.
Faith, who received compensation for physical and emotional trauma, now lives with her step-father and made a claim for car accident compensation for a child through her grandfather, Anthony Carberry. The claim was pursued against both Faith’s mother and father, Thomas Varden, who was the owner of the car in which Faith had been travelling.
The claim against Thomas was later dropped, and as Faith’s mother had been banned from driving and thus was uninsured, the claim was pursued against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
At the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Charleton said that the €200,000 settlement was being awarded to Faith for damages only. Justice Charelton also approved a request for the release of €2,000 for a computer to be used by Faith for her schoolwork.
Posted: November 12th, 2012
A woman from Berkshire, England has been awarded €9,000 in compensation at the High Court for neck injuries she sustained during a Go-Karting accident at Kylemore Indoor Karting racetrack in Dublin. Karen Wimpory (31) had been in Dublin on a hen’s party weekend at the time of the accident in March 2009.
Wimpory, who signed a disclaimer stating that the track owner could not be held liable for injury “in the absence of any negligence on the party of the company” and watched a training video prior to getting into her kart, was injured when a race marshal stepped out onto the track without warning, causing her to brake and the driver behind her to slam into the back of her kart.
After her accident Wimpory sought legal advice from a personal injury claims solicitor and pursued a claim for neck injury compensation against Grovepark Services Ltd, which trades as Kylemore Karting, claiming that the neck injuries she sustained were the brought about by the negligence of the company.
Justice Matthew Deery decided to approve Wimpory’s request for neck injury compensation after deciding that despite the fact that the plaintiff had watched a safety video, there were no instructions provided to her about what to do if the warning lights on the track were illuminated. Deery also heard how the karts did not have neck restrains or headrests fitted, and how novice racers should have been told to sit at full extension.
Two of Kylemore Karting’s management team, racetrack designer Stewart Cosgrave and race controller Denis Gaffney, said that although it was unlikely that a race marshal would walk onto the track while the karts were travelling at speeds in excess of twenty miles per hour, the marshal in question is not available to provide evidence as he has since died in a road traffic accident.
Posted: June 25th, 2012
An insurance company has been order to pay aggravated damages for a whiplash claim after it failed to pursue accusations of collusion against the defendant, James O’Sullivan of Clane, Co Kildare. Insurance company AXA had claimed that O’Sullivan had colluded with a defence witness to extract compensation from the company.
O’Sullivan’s taxi had been rear-ended by Gary Reilly, of Ballyfermot, Co Dublin, who later swore an affidavit concerning the accident. Reilly rear-ended O’Sullivan’s taxi in Eirhouse, Co Dublin on September 27, 2008.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery ordered AXA to pay €3,000 in aggravated damages for a whiplash claim to O’Sullivan after they failed to pursue the accusation, in addition to €7,750 for the whiplash injury.
Posted: May 11th, 2012
A Texan woman whose car was hit by lorry driver talking on a mobile phone has been awarded $24 million for neck, spine and back injuries she sustained in the collision. Thirty-seven-year-old Vanice Chatman-Wilson from Corpus Christi in Texas sustained the injuries when her car – a Ford Fusion – was hit by a Coca-Cola delivery lorry being driven by Araceli Vanessa Cabral who had been talking on her mobile phone and not fully concentrating on the road.
Chatman-Wilson managed to secure compensation after seeking legal advice from a personal injury claim solicitor and despite the fact that driving while talking on a mobile phone is not against the law in Texas. In court, Chatman-Wilson secured compensation after Coca-Cola defended itself by pointing out that it operates a hands-free policy for staff; Cabral said that she had never been made aware of the dangers of driving while talking on a mobile phone.
The jury at the Corpus Christi High Court awarded Chatman-Wilson the $24 million for her pain and suffering and punitive damages. She was left with permanent nerve damage despite undergoing a lumbar operation in February last year. Her solicitor said after the claim that the jury’s decision should serve as a warning to Coca-Cola that they need to better educate their drivers on the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.
Posted: April 7th, 2012
A New York volunteer firefighter has been awarded an injury compensation settlement of $1.275 million for injuries he sustained in a collision on a road adjacent to the NYE Ford factory in Oneida, New York. Paul Tully’s vehicle was struck by a car being driven by Ford employee Keith Chase, leaving him with serious spine and head injuries.
The award was granted by a jury who deliberated on damages only, as liability had already been admitted. Chase had already admitted to not looking left down Genesse Street and that he had pulled away from the manufacturing plant without realising that Paul’s car was in front of him. Chase made the admission during an investigation into the accident.
The $1.275 million settlement was decided upon by the Oneida Supreme Court jury after the court heard how Paul had been unable to work since the accident, and that the cost of his treatment had placed a substantial financial burden on his family. Paul had rejected a $150,000 settlement offer prior to his claim being heard in court.
After deliberating, the jury decided to award Paul $650,000 for the pain and suffering he has experienced as a result of his injury, $200,000 for the pain and suffering he will experience in future, and an additional $400,000 to cover the medical treatment he has underwent and the help he will require in future.
Posted: February 25th, 2012
A man who suffered catastrophic brain injuries in a crash after being ejected from a car being driven by an uninsured driver has had his claim for compensation approved by a judge at the High Court. The claimant, who pursed his claim against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) as no insurance policy was available to be claimed from, was 19 years old at the time of his accident in March 2008.
The man – who is a ward of court and cannot be named for legal reasons – now requires permanent nursing care and can only communicate through a ‘thumbs up or thumbs down’ system. As the victim wasn’t wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident his award was reduced by 20 percent to €4.25 million to represent his own contribution to his injury.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine ordered an additional payment of €544,000 to the victim’s foster mother to cover expenses associated with his care. Justice Irvine said that the settlement was an excellent award, and that it will provide enough funding to cover the cost of the victim’s care for catastrophic brain injuries in a crash for the rest of his life.
Posted: January 12th, 2012
A man who suffered a broken neck and devastating spinal injuries when a trailer broke free from a truck and crushed his car from above has been awarded $1.4 million in road traffic accident compensation.
William Geary (60) sustained his injuries as he was waiting for a red light to change colour at an intersection. After the accident, which occurred when truck driver Phillip McCullough failed in a risky manoeuvre on a road above, was trapped for an hour and a half after the trailer landed on the roof of his car.
McCullough was later fined for making an improper turn and for careless driving. After an investigation it was found that the brake slack adjusters were not properly matched and that the brakes on the trailer had not been properly aligned.
Geary, from Medford, in Jackson County, Oregon, successfully negotiated a settlement for road traffic accident compensation which took into account his pain and suffering, loss of amenity and loss of income ($700,000), consideration for his future medical expenses ($400,000); and medical expenses he had incurred to date ($300,000).
Posted: September 15th, 2011
A woman from Oakland, California has agreed to accept a $10.5 million out-of-court settlement for a crushed hip and broken femur she sustained after being trapped under the chassis of a bus for 15 minutes. Abby Nichols (23) was trapped under a bus at a pedestrian crossing after crossing at a green light, and was left there in pain as the driver did not know how to operate the hydraulic lever used to move the chassis.
Nichols, who had just finished work at a San Francisco bagel shop when the accident occurred, still walks with the aid of a cane and has to undergo physical therapy.
After the bus company conducted an investigation into the accident it found the driver guilty of negligence. It failed to arrange a quick settlement for Nichols however, and it was only when she decided to pursue compensation for being trapped under the chassis of a bus did the bus company choose to engage in talks.
Posted: August 14th, 2011
A 53-year-old man has been awarded $950,000 in compensation for a severe whiplash injury he sustained while being rear-ended by a van belonging to the County of Los Angeles. Felipe Medina was awarded the settlement days before his claim was due to be heard before a judge at the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Medina sustained his severe whiplash injury after being rear-ended in his Saturn Vue by a van being driven by Los Angeles county employee Wille Duckworth westbound on the 105 freeway in Lynwood, California. Medina came to a stop due to a traffic jam in front of him.
Police investigating the incident later discovered that Duckworth had been travelling at excessive speed and had been unable to stop when he crashed his van into the back of Medina’s Saturn Vue.
Medina suffered extensive shoulder and neck injuries during the collision which it was feared may prevent him from continuing his job as a maintenance supervisor. He was forced to undergo several operations to relieve him of his pain, and had to wear a back brace and receive epidural injections and painkilling tablets for a time after the collision.
Felipe pursued his claim against the County of Los Angeles after seeking legal advice. In California employers can be held liable for the negligent acts of their workers.
Posted: July 17th, 2011
A golf club in Texas has been ordered to pay out almost $1 million in wrongful death compensation after it was found that Lance Shelter, a father of three and inventor of medical devices that benefited children, would still be alive if the club had adhered to its own policy of not over-serving patrons. Shelter was killed by a drunk driver who had been drunk 18 cans of beer at the club and been allowed to drive home.
Fort Worth District Court judge Dana Womack heard that the Southern Oaks Golf Club in Burleston, Texas, sold Mark Charles Pierce 12 cans of beer before his round of golf, and another six after, despite the fact that he showed clear signs of intoxication.
Pierce later drove home from the golf club and was found to have been responsible for the accident in which Shelter was killed.
Posted: May 22nd, 2011
Claims for whiplash injury compensation in the UK are the highest among all European countries, James Dalton, Assistant Director of Motor and Liability for the Association of British Insurers has claimed.
Dalton, who was speaking at the 2011 Whiplash Conference in Leeds, said that claims for whiplash account for two-thirds of all compensation claims pursued in the UK, and that insurance companies are paying out almost two billion pounds per year to claimants. Dalton called for the government to quickly implement their proposals for civil justice reform.
According to the Association of British Insurers 1,200 claims for whiplash are made in the UK every day – six times the amount of claims pursued for work related injuries. The sheer volume of whiplash complaints adds around £74 to each insurance policy in the UK, say the Association.
Dalton claims that civil justice reform measures proposed by the Government would mean a decrease in fraudulent claims for whiplash injury compensation; and that genuine claimants would receive fairer settlements and quicker access to rehabilitation.
Posted: April 2nd, 2011
A Cavan man who suffered severe brain injuries during a hit and run incident has been awarded €2 million in compensation after his brother successfully pursued a claim on his behalf. Oliver Gogarty pursued the claim on behalf of his brother Paul, formerly a factory worker, after his was knocked down by an unknown driver while walking home from a night out in Kingscourt.
As the vehicle involved in the accident was never identified the claim was brought against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI.
Since the accident Paul has required on-going care for post-traumatic epilepsy, and the nature of his injuries has also caused cognitive and behavioural problems.
On approving the €2 million settlement for hit and run incident compensation, which was proposed by the MIBI, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said that Paul will be made a ward of the court.
Posted: March 15th, 2011
A whiplash victim has been awarded €16,000 in compensation after claiming that his injuries adversely affected his weight loss programme and led to him developing sleep apnoea. Declan O’Hora of Blessington, County Wicklow claimed that his injuries left him unable to swim – an integral part of his weight loss programme.
O’Hora, who suffered head and neck injuries following a road traffic accident in 2008, suffered head and neck injuries after being involved in a collision with Brian Duggan of Knocklyon, County Dublin,
As liability had already been conceded, Mr Justice Matthew Deery only had to determine how much compensation was to be paid to O’Hora.
Posted: January 25th, 2011
Three young siblings have been awarded a combined €56,000 for their whiplash injury claim after the car in which they were travelling with their mother was rear-ended in January 2007. The children had suffered recurrent and protracted symptoms and have had to visit their GP and a specialist, Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard during the claim, which was brought by the children’s father Thomas Hopkins on their behalf.
Rachel Hopkins (9) and her brothers Daniel (10) and Thomas (7) from Broadford, Co Kildare were hurt when their mother’s car was rear-ended by Monica Carey from Lucan, Co Dublin. Daniel and Thomas received awards of €20,000 each as their injuries are thought to be more problematic than Rachael’s, who received €16,000.
The children’s awards will be paid into court funds where they will remain until the they reach eighteen years of age.
Posted: December 2nd, 2010
A 26-year-old man from Waterford has been awarded £3 million in car crash compensation by a court in Belfast after he sustained catastrophic injuries while asleep in the back of a friend’s car in Scotland. Owen Griffen pursued his claim against the driver of the car in which he was travelling after the head-on collision with a motorbike.
Griffen, who was asleep and seat-belted in the back of the car when the accident occurred, was left comatose and with brain injuries. He has been living with assistance from carers since February 2007.
Two others died in the accident.
Griffen’s claim was heard in a Belfast court as the driver against who he pursued compensation is from Omagh, County Tyrone.
Posted: October 15th, 2010
A woman from Belturbet, County Cavan has been awarded €5 million in compensation by the High Court after suffering injuries in a car crash which mean that she will require carer assistance for the rest of her life. Caroline Bogue suffered brain injuries when the uninsured car in which she was traveling hit a tree.
Because the car was uninsured, the claim was taken against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland, as well as the car’s driver, Declan Bogue, and its owner Ciaran Bogue.
The settlement was arranged without liability being admitted. The defendants refused to admit liability, claiming that Caroline knew that the car was uninsured and that it was taken without the permission of the owner.
Posted: August 12th, 2010
Evidence submitted by Dublin Bus against a whiplash claimant from Finglas, Dublin has led a judge to conclude that it was “highly probable” that the claimant mislead the court when she pursued a claim for whiplash against the company.
Mr Justice John Quirke ruled against Mary Farrell who was caught on camera mowing her grass and emptying the grass box over a wall – actions which should have been impossible given the supposed nature of her condition.
Dublin Bus also submitted evidence that Farrell, who was attempting to claim €410,000 in damages from the company, had made a number of expensive purchases in the time after her accident including foreign holidays and expensive cars – activity Dublin Bus dubbed as inconsistent with the claim for loss of earnings and future loss of earnings being pursued by Farrell.
Farrell had been involved in an accident with a Dublin Bus owned vehicle at the junction of the North Circular Road and Dorset Street near Dublin City Centre on June 14, 2004.
Dublin Bus asked Justice Quirke to dismiss Farrell’s claim under the provision of the Civil Liability and Courts Act which allows for the dismissal of a compensation claim when a judge believes that misleading evidence has been presented by a claimant.
Posted: July 2nd, 2010
The family of a Filipino nurse who was killed in a road accident involving a bus have received a settlement of €575,000 in the High Court. Maria Verdida (52) was killed when she was knocked down by a Dublin Bus in October 2003. The claim for compensation for Maria’s wrongful death was pursued by her husband Resituto, who has since moved back to the Philippines.
Dublin Bus admitted liability for Maria’s death, despite the fact that the bus driver Frank Turner from Crumlin said that he was travelling at a safe speed. Turner said that he did not see Maria because of he was temporarily blinded by strong sunlight on his windscreen.
Turner apologised to Maria’s family and was given a €500 fine and a six-month suspended sentence.
There were no passengers on the bus at the time of the accident.
Posted: June 14th, 2010
The family of a 42-year-old mother of nine children who was killed in a collision with a drunk driver have been awarded €506,000 in road accident claims compensation by a judge at the High Court. The family of Bridget O’Reilly from Ballybeg, County Waterford, which includes a three-year-old child, pursued the claim against Frank Prendergast – the drunk driver – and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland.
O’Reilly died in hospital a few weeks after the crash, which occurred in Powerstown, County Carlow in 2002. The claim was taken by her husband, Edward O’Reilly. O’Reilly’s sister, who has her own large family, has been helping Edward to take care of the children since he lost his wife.
The court heard how Prendergast was travelling at speed prior to the crash, and crossed into the lane on the other side of the road before colliding with her car.
Posted: May 22nd, 2010
Twelve Irish road traffic organisations have signed the European Road Safety Charter, which aims to reduce the number of road traffic accidents in Europe through improvements in vehicular safety and driver behaviour, and through added emphasis on road infrastructure safety. The charter was signed in Dublin on Wednesday.
It is estimated that the 1.3 million road accidents in the European Union in 2008 led to 1.6 million injuries and 39,000 road deaths, costing the Union around 2% of its annual Gross Domestic Product.
The twelve new Irish signatories are Cavan Area Rural Transport, Dun Laoighaire – Rathdown Couty Council, Community Transport Association of Ireland, ECO Unesco, Irish Medical Organisation, Headway Ireland, Irish Road Haulage Association, Shell, Metroplex Ireland, Vantastic, The Irish Insurance Federation and World Rally Team Ireland.
Posted: March 28th, 2010
Twenty-five-year-old Claire Noone has been awarded €4.35 million in car crash compensation by the High Court for injuries she sustained in a collision near Enfield, County Meath in November 2005. Noone suffered severe lower back injuries which mean that she can now only walk short distances without feeling pain. Her boyfriend, John Larkin died in the crash.
The accident occurred when the car in which Claire and her boyfriend were traveling was hit by another vehicle, which just prior to crashing into the couple’s vehicle.
As Noone was ejected from the car on impact questions were raised about whether or not she was wearing a seatbelt at the time, and therefore if contributory negligence would be a factor.
In court, Mr Justice John Quirke expressed his disappointment that car crash compensation claims in Ireland can only be paid in lump sums and not through instalments; he described the system as a “lottery situation”.
Posted: February 28th, 2010
A four-year-old boy has been awarded €2.9 million in car crash injury compensation after being rendered blind and suffering brain damage while traveling in a car driven by his mother, who was uninsured at the time. Ben McHale’s claim was taken on his behalf by his uncle William McHale, against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland.
Ben, from Clonmel in Tipperary, had his settlement approved by Mr Justice John Quirke at the High Court.
Posted: November 23rd, 2009
Two Buffalo Department of Street Sanitation workers have been awarded $3.25m for injuries they sustained during a collision in which their rubbish lorry was impacted by a commercial vehicle which had broken a red light.
The workers, who were performing sanitation duties at the time of their accident, required extensive treatment following the crash: both required spinal fusion surgery to address injuries sustained for back, knee, neck and head injuries.
The award was made after an eighteen month Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) failed to produce an agreement and it became clear that the claim would go to court.