Work Injury Claim
Posted: December 12th, 2016
The Circuit Civil Court has heard a claim for a restaurant employee slip and fall accident made by a woman who worked at Dublin´s Heuston Station.
In May 2013, the twenty-five year old woman was working at the open air restaurant outside Heuston Station in Dublin, when she slipped on pigeon droppings and fell sideways on her knees and back, suffering soft tissue injuries to her ankle, knees and lower back.
The woman made a claim for a restaurant employee slip and fall accident against her employer – Heuston Refreshment Rooms – and Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE) for failing to deal with a serious pigeon problem that has affected travellers and staff at the Dublin station.
Both defendants denied their liability and refused their consent for the Injuries Board to assess the claim for a restaurant employee slip and fall accident. The Injuries Board subsequently issued the woman with an authorisation to pursue her claim through the courts system.
The hearing to determine liability was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. At the hearing Judge Groarke heard that the plaintiff had often had to shoo pigeons away from the open air tables and had reported the problem to her employer.
Representatives of the Heuston Refreshment Rooms told the judge that the restaurant had complained to CIE, but the measures that CIE had implemented to resolved the problem – including introducing a hawk to which the pigeons had become acquainted – had proved to be ineffective.
Judge Groarke found in the plaintiff´s favour and awarded her €22,500 compensation in settlement of her claim for a restaurant employee slip and fall accident. The judge ruled that both defendants were aware the pigeons were a problem and a potential cause of injury; and, although granting judgement against both defendants, he would make an order in favour of the restaurant against CIE.
Posted: September 26th, 2016
In the coming weeks, a revised Book of Quantum is to be introduced to Irish in an effort to update compensation settlements awarded to injured parties.
First published in 2004, the book of Quantum is a reference publication used by solicitors, judges and insurance companies to determine the amount of compensation the victim of an accident is entitled to. The book accounts for a range of of physical injuries and provided estimates of settlements based upon severity and permanence of the injury.
However, over the past few years, an increasing number of professionals have come out to criticise the Book of Quantum, claiming that it is outdated and no longer compensates fairly. Judges and solicitors have increasingly ignored the guidelines provided, or instead will take the highest value given. This leads to various inconsistencies in the settling of compensation claims.
As a result, Ireland’s senior judges engaged in discussions with the Courts Services and the Injuries Board concerning a revision of the Book. A team analysed around 52,000 personal injury claims made in Ireland between 2013 and 2014, using these data to create a new reference text. This new Book of Quantum will be published in the next few weeks, and many hope that it will restore consistency to the system.
Revisions include a recalculation of the estimates provided to account for inflation and an increase in the number of subcategories for both severity and permanence. This allows those settling a claim to award more appropriate figures of compensation depending upon the injury.
The Book of Quantum only accounts for physical injuries inflicted upon to the injured party. He or she may also be able to claim for emotional trauma or financial losses: as such, it is best to consult a solicitor before embarking on a claim for personal injuries compensation.
Posted: August 24th, 2016
A five-figure settlement of compensation has been paid to a bicycle courier who was injured in a road accident with a taxi.
The accident occurred in March 2015, when Rotimi Omotayo was cycling on the Custom House Quay. However, taxi driver Kenneth Griffin pulled out from one of the lanes on the carriageway and snowed Rotimi from his bicycle.
Luckily, Rotimi was not seriously injured in the accident. Yet when he made a claim to the Injuries Board, his claim was dismissed on the grounds that he was believed to have contributed to his injury. The Injuries Board proceeded to issue the courier with authorisation to pursue his claim through the courts, and the case went to the High Court of Dublin. It was overseen by Mr Justice Bernard Barton.
During the hearing, Judge Barton heard evidence from witnesses for both Rotimi and Mr Griffin. It needed to be determined whether Rotimi had breached the Road Traffic Regulations by cycling in a hatched area.
However, upon hearing that Rotimi needed to deliver to the river side of the Quay, and as such was entitled to cycle in the outside lane before turning, Judge Barton dismissed allegations of contributory negligence and found in his favour.
When assessing damages, Judge Barton commented that he was not going to consult the Book of Quantum as he deemed it “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.
Instead, Judge Barton chose to apply Tort Law and awarded Rotimi €30,000 in general damages. Concerning the claim for special damages, the judge determined that there no evidence to show that Rotimi suffered a lack of earnings. He did, however, allow for compensation of Rotimi’s legal costs.
Posted: May 9th, 2016
The Dublin Criminal Court has fined a company €200,000 for breaches in health and safety laws that resulted in the death of an employee.
The accident happened on the 28th November 2015 when a supervisor at VF Coldstores Ltd, Robert Ceremuga, was working in a warehouse owned by the company. Robert was killed when a scaffold that was supporting over thirty six tonnes of food products collapsed because of a collision involving a forklift. However, an investigation discovered that the employee who was driving the forklift had been working with the company for just three weeks and lacked the appropriate license to drive the vehicle.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) prosecuted VF Coldstores Ltd for serious and fatal breaches of health and safety laws. Earlier this year, a representative for the company plead guilty to the charges brought against them. At the hearing in the Circuit Criminal Court, Dublin, Maria – Robert’s widow – gave a victim impact statement. After this, Judge Melanie Greally adjourned such that she could take a “scientific approach” to calculating the fine.
Last week, the hearing recommenced. Judge Greally issued a €200,000 fine to VF Coldstores Ltd for their criminal actions. Brian Higgisson, the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA, commented 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 12th, 2016
Dublin’s High Court have awarded a waitress in a hotel a compensation settlement of €500,000 after deeming that the crockery she was asked to use was unfit for purpose.
Sophie Caillaud – aged forty-two – was working at the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, Co. Leitrim when the accident occurred. As she was filling up a glass jug, it shattered in her hand, causing a deep cut to her thumb.
Shortly after the accident surgery was performed on the digit to try and help repair any soft-tissue damage sustained. However, Sophie has still not been able to regain full strength in her thumb and as such now experiences difficulty engaging in daily tasks.
During her recovery, Sophie sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim for compensation against the Lough Rynn Hotel, her employers. She additionally made a claim for compensation against the Utopia Tableware Ltd and Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd, the two companies that supplied and manufactured the glass jug that caused Sophie’s injury.
However, the defendants argued that Sophie was negligent in her actions, and that she caused her own injuries. They also disputed the amount of compensation being sought, claiming that it was too high for the injuries that she sustained.
As the case was not resolved through negotiations or intervention from the Injruies Board, it proceeded t the High Court in Dublin. There, it was overseen by Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who was told that other staff members at the hotel had previously been injured in similar incidents involving the same glass jug.
Testimony was given from an expert witness, who explained that the joint between the handle and the jug was weakened by repeated hot-and-cold cycles in the dishwasher. As such, he confirmed that the jugs were not fit for purpose.
After Sophie gave evidence at the hearing, judge cross dismissed the allegations made that she had either acted negligently or exaggerated her injuries. Before awarding her a €500,000 compensation settlement, he commented that he had found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”.
Posted: March 11th, 2016
A chef’s claim for an injury he sustained in a kitchen has been resolved, with an award of €15,000.
Shijun Liu was working as an ordinary chef at the Howard’s Way Restaurant, Rathgar, when the accident occurred. In March 2013, when he was working at a sistered restaurant in Churchtown, Dublin, Mr Liu went to help a cleaner who was attempting to untangle a power hose used to clean kitchens.
Whilst attempting to untangle the hose, it suddenly started spurting water, spraying hot water on Mr Liu. This caused severe burns to his ankle, and he was rushed to the VHI Clinic in Dundrum for treatment.
The burns were so severe that Mr Liu was unable to return to work for two weeks after the accident. After seeking legal counsel, Mr Liu made a claim for injury compensation against Declan Howard, his employer, trading as Howard’s Way Restaurant. However, no consent was approved such that the Injuries Board could assess Mr Liu’s claim.
The case was taken to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard earlier this month by Mr Justice Raymond Groake. Judge Groarke heard evidence that the hose used to clean the facility was not fit for the purpose. After finding in favour of Mr Liu, and granting him €15,000 compensation for his injury claim, Judge Groarke added that he found Mr Liu’s version of events to be very compelling.
Posted: October 28th, 2015
A compensation claim for a workplace shoulder injury has been settled for a former employee of Irish rail.
The accident occurred in February 2012, when thirty-eight year-old Padraic Reddin – from Donaghmede in Dublin – was working as an electrician in Irish Rail. He was asked to change the scroll showing the destination of one of the Dart trains when he sustained the injury.
As Padriac lifted the scroll to its place, he felt a sharp pain in his shoulders and across his torso. He took a break to rest, before securing the fitting later that day.
However, the pain persisted and started to negatively impact Padraic’s life. His sleep was disrupted, and he even felt pain engaging in simple tasks such as making tea. Despite a visit to the GP, his pain continued for many months after the accident.
Though Padraic reported the injury to one of his superiors, he waited until two weeks after the actual accident occurred. As such, the superior refused to fill out an accident report form.
After seeking legal counsel, Padraic made a claim for work injury compensation against Iarnród Éireann, as well as sending an application to the Injuries Board to asses the claim. However, the employers would not allow an investigation, and as such Padraic was granted permission to pursue his claim though the courts by the board.
Earlier this week, the hearing to establish liability was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke in the Circuit Civil Court. There, evidence was given of how the scroll with which Padraic was tasked to replace weighed around 10 kg, and needed to be lifted 2 metres into place.
However, after Padraic’s solicitors argued that the task should have been delegated to two employees, rather than just Padraic, a request was put in for a brief adjournment. Once this finished, and the court returned to session, the judge was informed that the case had been settled for an undisclosed amount and could be struck out.