Posted: August 10th, 2018
The High Court has overturned the decision of the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal’s refusal to award a woman compensation after she experienced “nervous shock” after her father died from an AIDS-related illness.
Justice Bernard Barton, making the ruling at the High Court, has cleared the way for similar claims that are due to be heard before the tribunal. The tribunal was established in 1995 to compensate anyone who has contracted hepatitis C due to using infected blood products.
Judge Barton said he was happy to overrule a 2015 decision of the tribunal that she did not qualify for compensation and has remitted her application to the tribunal for assessment and a final award of personal injury compensation.
Judge Barton heard the woman’s father, who was a haemophiliac, was one of the first people in Ireland to die after contracting HIV/AIDS. His daughter’s identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
The tribunal, while making an award to the woman for the loss of society and opportunity, had dismissed her claim for PTSD. The woman, who was represented by Gerry Danaher SC, had appealed the tribunal’s decision to the High Court. The State opposed the appeal.
Judge Barton said the tribunal’s reasoning for the dismissal was due to the fact that while the duration of her father’s illness had been distressing and traumatic, there did not seem to have been one particularly bad or traumatic event or series of events which she encountered leading to her illness.
The judge said he took into account the medical evidence presented which said that the events before her father’s death caused a known psychiatric illness which came to the fore after the woman had been treated at hospital for depression.
As a teenager, she had overheard her mother and a doctor talk about AIDS, which she knew was bad news. Rock star Freddy Mercury had come out to say he was dying of AIDS.
Judge Barton said, referring to the girl who was aged 16 years old when her father died, “The appellant literally watched her father waste away”. He described the events of her father’s death as “horrific”. He adjourned the proceedings to a date in October.
Categories: Personal Injury Claims