Posted: August 6th, 2019
The relatives of a 29-year old Donegal man who was killed as he was cutting down some tree at a wind farm construction site wind farm has settled various work death compensation actions for a six-figure award.
Jonathan Gormley, who was employed as a chainsaw operator was killed just prior to Christmas in 2015. Mr Gormley, the father of two young children, while cutting down trees at the construction site for the Meenadreen Wind Farm in the Barnesmore area of County Donegal.
The inquest into Mr Gormley’s death was informed that Mr Gormley was crouched down and a pine tree was across his left shoulder when he was found. It is believed that he had not been seen for almost two and a half hours before a work colleague, Joe Devaney, located him.
Mr Devaney told the inquest that he last saw Mr Gormley at approximately 11.30am or 12pm on December 21. It had been a particularly windy day. Mr Devaney called Mr Gormley’s mobile phone four times between 2.17pm and 2.36pm, but got no answer and became concerned. When found Mr Gormley he was on his knees with his helmet on and a tree down on his shoulder. He as unable to find Gormley’s pulse.
After a number of unsuccessful attempts to remove the tree he was given approval to cut the tree. Mr Gormley could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene at the accident. Medical testimony at the inquest said the cause of death was traumatic or mechanical asphyxia secondary to compression of the chest due to a fallen tree.
Mr Gormley’s partner Mairead Coughlin and his Mr Gormley’s parents took the wrongful death compensation action against Viridian Energy Ltd trading as Energia, owners of the wind farm, and Softwood Ireland Ltd
in relation to the accident on December 21, 2015.
It was claimed there was a failure to have any or any appropriate employee to co-ordinate chainsaw
work and to ensure no chainsaw worker was permitted to be completed by a one on his/her own. It was further claimed Mr Gormley had been been permitted to clear a stand of trees manually using a chainsaw in circumstances where he allegedly should have been provided with appropriate mechanical plant and equipment.
Further claims said there was a failure to ensure all chainsaw and tree-felling work was not permitted once there were gale force gusts of up to 44 knots. Due to this Mr Gormley had been permitted to work on a
day which was unsuitable for the type of work i he was trying to complete and when it was dangerous to perform chainsaw work in a stand of allegedly unstable, windblown and haphazard trees.
The claims were denied by the defendants.
Following talks between all parties, Michael Cush SC told the High Court the six-figure sum was a “global settlement figure”. Justice Garett Simons approved the settlements of the compensation actions including those for
nervous shock over the death of the father of two in Donegal in 2015 and said that it was a reasonable one.
Posted: October 26th, 2018
A woman has been awarded €30,000 laser hair removal injury compensation by the High Court due to a burning incident during a beauty treatment on her face in which she claims that she suffered first-degree burns.
Ms Jolanta Skaudvilaite, who lives at Pine Grove, Athlumney Wood, Navan, Co Meath was unable to attend work for 10 days due to the injuries she experienced following the incident that occurred when she attended a beauty salon to have laser hair removal treatment on her cheeks. The 37-year-old woman took the beauty salon injury compensation action against Alchemy Beauty, Trimgate Street, Navan.
Ms Skaudvilaite told the High Court that the injuries occurred during the treatment she opted for at the Alchemy clinic on July 21, 2011. During this treatment she she was exposed to a laser that was liable to inflict serious burns. She told Justice Tom Cross that there was failure to ensure proper working equipment was in place for her laser hair removal treatment. She also claimed that the treatment that she received could be termed common acceptable practice.
Ms Skaudvilaite, a retail assistant, went on to say that she had gotten in touch with the salon when she began feeling pain in her cheeks and the staff had expressed some surprise that this was the case. Due to this she became suspicious and went to a doctor’s clinic where she was prescribed a course of antibiotics. After this her cheeks slowly got better over time. Alchemy Beauty refuted the claims of Ms Skaudvilaite.
Ms Skaudvilaite also told the High Court that she had to deal with lot of trauma following sustaining the injuries and was prescribed tranquilisers to deal with this. Her cheeks could still be sensitive on occasion. A specialist plastic surgeon submitted a medical which said there had been some changes to the pigmentation in Ms Skaudvilaite’s right cheek. She had been warned to use sunblock when outdoors to stop any additional injuries or pain being experienced..
In awarding the laser hair removal injury compensation Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he did not believe that she had exaggerated her complaints.
Posted: December 10th, 2017
In its first ever report the the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) has called for injury data held by insurance companies to be released on an ongoing basis.
The PIC submitted the approvals to the government, saying that data regarding the incidence of ‘whiplash’ and other soft tissue injuries should be released to.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, Chairperson of the Commission that was established to address the rising expense of motor insurance, remarked that these figures should be made available from insurance companies. They could then form part of the National Claims Information Database which is being developed by the Central Bank of Ireland currently.
Additionally the report also finds that the figures being paid out for whiplash compensation claims should be connected to the severity of the injury inflicted, with a standardised grading scheme set up to make this easier. The report also says there should be more transparency in respect of payouts of whiplash compensation as levels of general damages are not currently accounted for in legislation.
Legal firms have responded negatively to the report. Jody Cantillon, Associate solicitor at Cantillons Solicitors commented on the report saying “Firstly, the basis for the Personal Injuries Commission seems to us to be flawed in that the rise in insurance premiums has nothing at all to do with personal injuries litigation.
Mr Cantillon added “We would have grave concerns about a standardised approach to the diagnosis, treatment and reporting of soft tissue injuries. No one person or injury is the same. The impact that a back injury might have on a new mother is different to the impact such an injury might have on a young man. A standardised approach would not take sufficient consideration of the individuals circumstances.
He finished by saying: “We are surprised at the Commission’s ‘recommendation’ that the sums awarded in whiplash claims should be linked to the severity of the condition. This is already the case, so there is nothing new there.
Posted: November 20th, 2017
A Garda has been awarded €31,000 damages as a result of injuries he suffered when his patrol car was rammed in a car accident that occurred seven years ago.
Following a high-speed chase involving a Mercedes car, Garda, and former Limerick hurler, Nigel Carey (46), of Croom, Co Limerick, was injured when the Garda patrol car he was sitting in was rear ended in October 2010.
Barrister Kevin D’Arcy, representing Garda Carey, claimed his client had been quite a renowned hurler at the time of the crash occurring in 2010. The Garda attended his family doctor to have his neck, shoulder and lower back injuries seen to and was told that he should seek physiotherapy treatment
The Garda patrol car, according to Garda Carey, “sent flying” due to the impact of the crash and was so badly damaged it had to be written off following the accident.
In the accident his neck, right shoulder and lower back were badly damaged. He also said that his shoulder was still restricted in movement slightly.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton remarked that “the best medical report supporting Garda Carey’s claim for compensation” was given by the chief medical officer from An Garda Síochána who had medically examined Mr Carey for the defendant – the Minister for Public Expenditure.
The judge praised Garda Carey’s dedication and work ethic during the Garda Traffic Car Accident Compensation hearing as Mr Carey had only been absent from work for three days in the aftermath of the incident. He also said that it was to Garda Carey’s credit that he had not made an issue of the nature of his back injury which quickly cleared up following the incident.
Mr Carey had made no attempt to build up more and more medical reports to make more of his injuries than was there in his workplace traffic compensation claim.
Posted: May 15th, 2017
The plaintiffs in a case against a car dealership which sold them a vehicle with a faulty sunroof have been awarded compensation for injuries caused by the roof blowing off while on the motorway.
While travelling from Dublin to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition in November 2013, the sun roof of the car the two plaintiffs were travelling in blew off. The car had been travelling along the M1 at a speed of 80-90kmph. The driver was startled by the incident, and braked hard in alarm as the roof blew off of their vehicle.
Due to the very rapid stop, the five passengers in the car (the two plaintiffs and three of their family members) suffered whiplash-type injuries. There were two children in the vehicle, which were luckily unharmed. However, the driver´s 72-year-old mother, suffered several injuries, including a compression fracture to one of the vertebrae in her lower back.
The affected family members sought legal counsel, and subsequently made claims for car accident injuries against the showroom from which the car had been purchased. The vehicle had only been purchased four months prior to the incident. In their motion, the plaintiffs claimed that the sun roof had been faulty and the fault should have been identified by the dealer.
The defendants-Denis Mahony Limited of Kilbarrack Road in Dublin-denied liability for the faulty sun roof and the plaintiffs´ injuries. The case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The judge was informed that corrosion found around the remaining frame of the sun roof would have been present on the Toyota at the time it was sold. According to the testimony of an independent motor assessor, the corrosion led to the sun roof blowing off.
Judge Groarke stated that he understood that the sun roof being blown off at 90kmph would have been a terrifying experience for the plaintiffs, and understood why the driver plaintiff had applied the brakes so sharply. He awarded the driver of the car €12,500 compensation and her mother €25,000 compensation in settlement of their claims for car accident injuries.
Posted: April 19th, 2017
A hit-and-run accident-which left the cyclist with severe brain damage-has been settled in the High Court.
In early August 2013, a man on a bicycle-who was not wearing a helmet at the time-was cycling in Blanchardstown, Dublin. When he reached the junction of the Ongar Distributor Road and Shelerin Road, he was hit by a van. Several people witnessed the accident, and one eye-witness statement claimed that the impact of the van threw the cyclist nearly three metres into the air. The emergency services were called, and he received immediate on-scene attention.
It was determined that thirty-three year old cyclist suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident. He was transferred to Beaumont Hospital, where he underwent a decompressive craniotomy at the Beaumont Hospital. After this initial treatment, he was later transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre. Due to the severely traumatic nature of his injury, he cyclist suffered amnesia for four months. A psychologist later had to tell him that he had been involved in a serious accident.
A police investigation was launched, and it concluded the van was travelling at a speed of 57kmph at the time. The driver of the van – who had fled the scene of the accident – was tracked down, and subsequently charged with criminal offences. He was brought before the courts in November 2015 and convicted with dangerous driving and causing serious harm while driving without a license or insurance. He was sentenced to 3½ years in prison. Following the criminal conviction, the cyclist´s wife claimed cyclist brain injury compensation on behalf of her husband.
As the van driver was uninsured, the claim was made against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). The claim was not contested and, after reports to assess the plaintiff´s future needs had been competed, a €3 million settlement of the cyclist brain injury compensation was agreed. The compensation would have been higher, but it was found that the cyclist had not been wearing a cycling helmet and therefore was liable for some of the damages. As the claim had been made on behalf of a plaintiff unable to represent himself, the settlement went to the High Court for approval.
The case was heard at the High Court by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. The judge was told the circumstances of the tragic accident, the consequences of the accident, and the fact that the settlement had been reduced to reflect the cyclist´s contributory negligence. Judge Cross approved the settlement of cyclist brain injury compensation – commenting it had been a dreadful incident, and closing the approval hearing by wishing the cyclist and his family the best for the future.
Posted: March 16th, 2017
A woman has been awarded compensation for an injury in a taxi accident, with her status as a musician causing the judge to cite the case as an “exceptional” one.
In March 2012, a woman from Ardnacrusha in County Clare was a passenger in a taxi when it was rear-ended on Wexford Street in Dublin by another taxi. Due to the force of the collision, the woman suffered pain in her neck and right shoulder. She sought medical attention as a result of the accident and was prescribed painkillers for her injury by her GP.
After seeking legal counsel, the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim. The negligent taxi driver accepted liability for causing the accident and her injuries. However, the amount of the assessment which was initially offered by the negligent party was rejected by the woman, who claimed the proposed settlement of compensation for an injury in a taxi accident did not reflect the full consequences of her injury.
Due to her request for more compensation, the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the woman to pursue her claim in court. The case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The judge was informed that the pain in her right shoulder prevented the woman from practising the violin for several hours a day. However, he was also told by the defendant´s insurance company that her injury was unrelated to the accident, as the collision between the two taxis had been “insignificant” to cause the injuries claimed.
Judge Groarke admitted that the medical evidence in the case was “very conflicting” and that on the balance of probabilities the woman would likely made a full recovery from her injury. However, while concluding that the injuries from the accident were “not particularly serious”, the judge acknowledged that the woman needed a perfect shoulder to practise her violin. The woman was described as a “talented musician” in court, and as such it was an exceptional case.
Judge Groarke awarded the woman €25,000 compensation for an injury in a taxi accident, stating he accepted the plaintiff´s belief that the discomfort she suffers is related to the accident between the two taxis.
Posted: November 20th, 2016
A claim for personal injury compensation made against the supermarket giant has been settled in Dublin’s Circuit Court.
The accident occurred in January 2014 when the victim, an unnamed thirty-two-year-old Dublin nurse, attended her local branch of Tesco Metro. Whilst navigating through the shop, the woman tripped and fell over a six-pack of beer that had been placed on the floor by a queueing customer.
The woman, who had previously required reconstructive surgery on one of her knees, was rushed by ambulance to St James’ Hospital, where an x-ray was carried out on her leg. The x-ray showed that the same knee that had been damaged before had sustained another fracture. Two surgeries were required to amend the damage, though the woman also had to endure two-and-a-half years of physiotherapy.
After the victim made a claim for personal injuries compensation through Injuries Board Ireland, the Board asked permission from Tesco to carry out an assessment. When this permission was denied, the woman was the authorised to proceed with her claim through the courts, where it was heard earlier this month.
Mr Justice Raymond Groarke oversaw proceedings at the Circuit Court, where he was informed that Tesco were denying liability for the fractured knee. They argued that there was nothing that they could have done to prevent the accident, and that the woman had caused her own injury by failing to avoid the brightly-packaged obstacle.
However, it was counter-argued that the layout of the small supermarket meant that customers had to navigate through the queue of people waiting to use the self-checkout machines to access certain parts of the shop. The judge, who noted that the knee fracture must be particularly bad to still cause the victim trouble, commented that this was a poor system.
Adding that customer traffic should have been better managed, Judge Groarke found in the claimant’s favour. Initially awarding a sum of €60,000, 20% was then deducted for contributory negligence.
Posted: September 25th, 2016
A soon-to-be-published revised Book of Quantum will provide new guidelines concerning the award of personal injury compensation in Ireland.
The Book of Quantum is a publication that contains an extensive list of injuries corresponding estimates of the amount of compensation that should be awarded for said injury. It is used by judges and solicitors when settling claims for compensation where the victim was injured through someone else’s lack of care, and accounts for both the severity of the initial injury and the long-term impact.
However, the book was first published in 2004 and in recent years has been criticised by many as being out of date. Some judges and insurance companies have stopped using the book completely, believing that the guidelines are no longer appropriate. Many more will continue to use the book, but consistently award the highest estimate provided. These can both lead to inequality across the system.
Concerned with the developments, many of Ireland’s senior judges engaged in discussions with the Courts Services and the Injuries Board Ireland to develop a new Book of Quantum. Over 52,000 cases from 2013 and 2014 were analysed and the results were used to create new estimates for personal injury claims. The new Book of Quantum, to be published within the next few months, should resolve the current inconsistencies.
One of the major revisions was to alter the estimates provided to account for inflation and a change in the cost of living in the twelve years since the initial book was published. More subdivisions were also introduced to allow fairer settlements to be awarded.
Though the Book of Quantum only compensates for physical injuries, claimants can also recover compensation for emotional trauma and financial losses. To ensure that you receive the best settlement possible for your injuries, it is strongly advised that you consult an experienced personal injuries solicitor.
Posted: October 24th, 2015
A bar located in the country’s capital has been found liable for injuries sustained by a painter/decorator after hearing.
The man in question, David O’Keeffe – aged thirty-one – injured his hand at the Woolshed Baa & Grill on Parnell Street, Dublin, on the 18th September 2011. Mr O’Keeffe was in the establishment watching the All Ireland Football Final with a group of friends when, on his way to the bathrooms, he slipped and fell on a wet area of the floor. When he fell, he cut his hand on a piece of glass that was lying on the floor.
First Aid was administered to Mr O’Keeffe while he was in the bar, and then he was brought to the Accident & Emergency Department of St James’ Hospital. There, stitches were administered to the wound.
After receiving his treatment, Mr O’Keeffe sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for his injury against the Woolshed Baa & Grill. In this claim, he alleged that the bar had inappropriately stacked glasses, causing them to fall over and smash. As such, there was still glass on the floor when he fell. He also claimed that the bar did not appropriately clean up spilled drinks, which caused him to initially fall.
The city-centre establishment denied any liability for the injury to Mr O’Keeffe, and did not consent to an Injuries Board assessment of the claim. Mr O’Keeffe was subsequently issued with an authorisation to follow his claim to the Circuit Civil Court, where a hearing to establish liability was overseen by Judge Jacqueline Linnane earlier this month.
Representatives of Woolshed Baa & Grill argued at that Mr O’Keeffe actually sustained the injury when his friends unsuccessfully tried to lift him up while he was still holding a glass. They also claimed that they adequately cleaned the bar that day, and that the accident report that was filled out at the time had gotten lost.
Judge Linnane ruled in Mr O’Keefe’s favour, stating that the bar had been filled to capacity “to the point that one would not have been able to see that the floor was wet”. Mr O’Keeffe was awarded €20,000 for his injury.