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Compensation Claims Against the State Up by Almost a Fifth

Posted: October 21st, 2017

A recent report issued by the State Claims Agency has shown that there was a rise in the cost of compensation claims taken against the State, bringing the overall cost of these compensation actions to almost €2.2 billion last year.

This is equivalent to 22% increase on the 2016 figures according to the agency responsible for legal actions taken against the State.  The total number of cases encountered throughout 2016 was 8,900 up to the end of the year, up from 6,000 in 2015.

Main Factors Behind the Increase in Compensation Paid Out by the State

  1. The Department of Education settled/paid out legal compensation claims for an estimated €50 million.
  2. €1.9 billion of the €2.2 billion overall State compensation paid out was by Tusla and the Health Service Executive (HSE).
  3. Any individual who is successful in a legal action is now entitled to a higher pay out following a Supreme Court ruling to make up for falling returns on the cash awarded.
  4. The Department of Justice and Defence paid out State compensation claims worth around €175 million compared to €27 million of compensation claims for the Department of Health.

The State Claims Agency, part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), was established to address the continual increases in compensation actions being made against the State.

Séamus McCarthy Comptroller and Auditor General for the NTMA commented on the increase of 22% saying “The number of claims under management has increased significantly since 2011”.

Judge Rules that Claim for Leg Injury Compensation is Inadequate

Posted: January 31st, 2017

A play school in Dublin has been ordered to pay a higher settlement of compensation to a young girl who fell and badly injured her leg whilst in their care.

The accident occurred in April 2015 at the Larkin Early Education Centre in Ballybough, Dublin, climbed on top of a wardrobe. However, the little girl soon fell to the floor and was subsequently rushed to hospital. An x-ray revealed that she had fractured her left tibia and she underwent emergency surgery to reset the broken bone.

After she was discharged from hospital, the young girl had to wear a full leg cast and continued to wear a protective boot for weeks after the cast was removed. Two years on and the little girl has not fully recovered, complaining to her mother of pains in her leg where the fracture occurred. Her mother, acting on her behalf, made a claim for personal injury compensation against the Larkin Early Education Centre.

The Injuries Board Ireland first assessed the claim, after which an offer of compensation of €31,000 was made by the play centre. However, the mother’s legal counsel did not believe that this was a fair settlement and advised that she refuse the offer. The mother acted on this advice, and as no other offer of compensation was made, the case proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court for a hearing.

The hearing, overseen by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, occurred earlier this week in Dublin. The judge was detailed the circumstances of the accident and how the injury has affected the little girl. Judge Groarke agreed that the settlement offered by the play school was not adequate for the nature of the injury sustained.

The Book of Quantum, which has recently been revised, says that the minimum compensation to be awarded for a fracture with a displaced bone is €40,500. Additionally, injuries to the tibia are more serious than those for the fibula, and as the girl still suffers from the injury two years later, the compensation should be higher than the minimum.

Court Rules Compensation for Crèche Trauma is Inadequate

Posted: July 26th, 2015

The offer of a five-figure settlement of compensation for a young girl who was psychologically scarred whilst attending a crèche has been deemed as insufficient by a judge in the Circuit Criminal Court.

In 2011, Emilie Kiely, now aged four from Sandyford in Dublin, started attending the Giraffe crèche in Stepaside. By September 2012, Emilie was moved to the “Toddlers’ Room”, but her parents noticed that she was becoming increasingly anxious in the mornings as her parents were getting her ready to take her to childcare centre.

However, in May 2013, RTE’s PrimeTime aired a documentary entitled “A Breach of Trust” that exposed employees in the childcare centre mistreating children in their care. The footage included a clip of one of the employees, who was also responsible for Emilie, screaming at the toddlers. As soon as Emilie’s parents saw the programme they withdrew Emilie from the crèche.

Emilie’s parents sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for psychological trauma on Emilie’s behalf. In the claim, John alleged that upon her transfer to the Toddlers’ Room, Emilie would cry “No crèche!” every morning. John claims that Emilie has suffered unwarranted stress and emotional trauma due to the crèche’s negligence.

Though Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre disputed the allegations made by John’s legal action, they offered Emilie a settlement of €15,000 without admitting liability.

As the legal action was made on behalf of a minor, the compensation settlement had to be approved by a judge before it could be awarded. The case was then heard at the Circuit Civil Court by James O’Donohue. However, the judge ruled that – given the extent to which Emilie has suffered and the trauma she has sustained – that the offered settlement was insufficient.

Judge O’Donohue went on to say that the case will have a full hearing ahead of another judge. This ruling will affect around twenty-five other cases made for similar injuries by the parents of other affected children. The Kiely’s have also initiated legal action against Giraffe Childcare for breaching their contract, though this has yet to be resolved.

 

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