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Work Injury Claim

€25,000 Garda Work Injury Compensation Award Approved

Posted: February 19th, 2018

A €25,000 Garda Work Injury compensation award has been approved following a head-butt attacked on a Wexford based Garda who suffered terrible snoring problems.

Sergeant Noel McSweeney experienced the injury to his nose when he was on duty. McSweeney’s snoring disturbed his wife’s sleep and he had to sleep in another room man times.

Barrister Ellen Gleeson told presiding Judge Justice Michael Twomey that, when when the incident occurred in May 2012, Sergeant McSweeney had been working on a missing person search.

Mr McSweeney said that the missing woman had been found in a car where she was intoxicated, possessing drugs and acting aggressively. She was taken into custody following this.

Speaking about the incident Sergeant McSweeney said: “She jumped back and threw her head backwards, hitting me in the nose and upper teeth”. He added that he suffered cuts to four of his upper front teeth and the line of his nose had been damaged. Mr McSweeney also suffered a restriction of the airflow through his nose along with a deviated septum in the assault.

Sergeant McSweeney also admitted that he was not conscious of the problem but did have to sleep in the spare room of his residence due to his snoring problems. He added that he only suffered minimal slight discomfort and, hence, he chose not to have surgery.

Judge Twomey referred to the Book of Quantum in assessing the amount of Garda Accident Compensation to be paid. He approved a compensation award of  €7,500 be paid for the minor dental damage along with €18,000 nose injury damages.

Garda Awarded €30,000 Workplace Injury Compensation for Injury to Mouth

Posted: December 4th, 2017

Garda Sean Kelly (31) who is due to be wed this coming weekend, has been awarded €30,000 Garda Workplace Injury Compensation following an assaulted where he suffered a severe cut to his mouth.

Garda Kelly told the High Court that he is still sensitive in relation to the laceration on his upper lip and remarked to Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still paranoid regarding the star-shaped scar. He was still able to find amusement with the presiding judge that he may have to wear some make-up when he gets married to his fiancé next Saturday.

The incident happened while he was at work on January 7 2012. As part of his duties, Garda Kelly had been called to a house in Finglas. Here a man, who had just been released from a psychiatric institution where he had been treated, was threatening to self harm. Garda Kelly was accompanied by two colleagues on the call in question

Garda Kelly told the court that the individual, who had swallowed a lot of non-prescriptive medication, had locked himself in his bathroom. From there he was threatening to throw himself out the bathroom window. Garda Kelly was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder, which lacerated his lip, when they tried to apprehend the man.

Garda Kelly had to be rushed to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to tend to the bleeding. When he was treated, a portion of porcelain was found in his upper lip. X-rays clearly displayed that he had not suffered any major fractures.

He was also given an anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, a number of them on the inside of his mouth. When the scar later became infected, he had to follows a course of antibiotics until the infection had cleared up. The scar on the exterior of his lip was identifiable at close quarters.

Barrister Derek Ryan, representing the Minister for Public Expenditure, remarked to the High Court that, due to conflicting medical reports, he did not believe Garda Kelly had suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the degree that it would justify an exceptional workplace compensation award.

Healthcare Workers Make Sexual Harassment Against Patients: RTE Report

Posted: November 28th, 2017

Five staff members in the State healthcare system took sexual harassment allegations over the last few years, claiming they were sexually assaulted by service users, according to a report published by RTE in November 2017.

The State Claims Agency has not made public actual details about where the supposed abuse happened in these or any other cases.

The claims relate to incidents that took place between 2012 and 2016 and make up almost half of all sexual harassment claims being taken care by the State Claims Agency on behalf of the State.

The State Claims Agency had, until recently, refused to release any information on these allegations.

There have been appeals from the Fianna Fail political party and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency to make available a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against separate public sector bodies. This comes after the initial refusal by the State Claims Agency to publish such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment allegations which it operates for the State.

Additionally, in November The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee wrote to Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan asking him to get behind a request for the data to be released to the public. As a result of this the State Claims Agency made available a small amount of information on the amount of claims. However, it did not reveal where the claims came from.

In a statement issued it was revealed that the State Claims Agency has managed 11 claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it said was “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also revealed that in six of the cases they’ve handled the alleged assailant and victim are both staff members. In the other five cases they said the person believed responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare area and the victim was a member of staff.

Sewerage Plant Worker Receives Compensation for Slip and Fall Injury

Posted: September 17th, 2017

A former worker at a sewerage plant has been awarded compensation for a slip and fall injury he suffered at work, after accepting some liability for the accident himself.

In February 2010, an employee at the Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary was working when he slipped and fell on a path while at work. A subsequent investigation discovered that the fall was due to sewerage overflowing from the flumes surrounding the inlet channels at the now decommissioned plant.

As a result of his accident, the employee suffered frequent headaches and sustained a back injury. The severity of the injury was such that he was prevented from adequately performing his job at the plant, and thus could not return to work. He sought legal counsel, and applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a slip and fall injury at work. However, the defendants-the party responsible for the sewerage plant, Templemore Town Council-denied consent to assess the claim.

As a result, the former employee of the plant sought authorisation from the Injuries Board to pursue his claim in court. This authorisation was granted, and a hearing to determine liability and assess damages took place last week at the High Court. The case was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Fullam. The judge was informed that the employee worked alone at the time of the accident, and that no safe system of work had been implemented by the council for the workers at the sewerage plant.

The council defended the claim for compensation for a slip and fall injury at work by arguing one of the employee´s duties was to keep the paths clear of hazards. They further stated that if he needed additional tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them from his superiors. The council contested that the employee´s accident had occurred due to his own lack of care and negligence, and thus denied all liability.

Judge Fullam agreed with the defendants that the employee was partially responsible for his accident, and therefore he should take some responsibility. However he accepted the employee´s evidence that frequently the pumps in the plant experienced issues, and he did not have time to clean the paths on a regular basis. Judge Fullam also acknowledged that flumes surrounding the inlet channels were in a bad state on the day of the accident.

The judge said that he would have awarded the plaintiff €79,000 compensation for a slip and fall accident at work, however he was reducing the award by 40% to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence. The adjusted settlement of the claim consequently amounted to €47,400.

Former Servicemen Make Claim Against Casement Airbase

Posted: May 19th, 2017

Former servicemen have made claims against the Casement Airbase due to extensive exposure to toxic chemicals at the facility, and the associated damage to their-and their families’-health. 

An online newspaper, the Journal, has published an article stating that a former Air Corps mechanic has made toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase to highlight a lack of health and safety procedures at the facility. The mechanic has claimed that servicemen, their partners and their children have suffered illnesses and development issues due to exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals. He further claims that some people have even died due to exposure to the chemicals at the site.

The “whistle-blower” made the claims under a protected disclosure agreement in an address to Ministers, TDs, senators and a Defence Forces representative. Supporting documentation was provided, which claimed that up to twenty former servicemen may have died due to the exposure to toxic chemicals. Furthermore, the documents claim that five children born to parents who had been exposed to the chemicals were with cancer-related conditions or birth defects.

The former Air Corps mechanic told the assembly: “I have come across several personnel whose wives have had multiple miscarriages both in serving and in retired personnel. In one case, a retired member’s wife had eight miscarriages in succession. I am also aware of three personnel who shared in an office in Casement´s engineering wing whose wives all had a miscarriage in the same six-month timeframe.”

These latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase has been when there six personal injury claims already being made against the Defence Forces by former air corps servicemen. These former servicemen claim they were exposed to high levels of the restricted substance dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks associated with extensive exposure.

Furthermore, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has threatened to prosecute the  Defence Forces. Last year, the HSA conducted an inspection of the working conditions at the Casement Airbase. Among a series of faults at the airbase, inspectors found a failure to conduct basic risk assessments or provide personal protective equipment to personnel working with hazardous substances.

When asked to comment on the latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase, a spokesperson for the Department of Defence told the Journal an independent investigator was reviewing the claims and there would be no comment until the final report was received and studied. A spokesperson for the Defence Forces told the Journal: “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Court Hears Claim for a Restaurant Employee Slip and Fall Accident

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.

New Book of Quantum to Make Settlements Consistent

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.  

Courier Compensated for Taxi Injury

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.

 

Six-Figure Fine for Company after Work Death

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.”

Compensation Awarded for Injury to Waitress

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”.

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