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Car Accident Aid News

Plaintiffs win case against car dealership for roof malfunction

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.

Hit-and-Run Incident with Cyclist Settled in Court

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.

Woman Receives Compensation for Shoulder Injury in “Exceptional Case”

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.

Child Awarded Interim Compensation Settlement for Birth Injuries

Posted: January 20th, 2017

A young boy, who sustained severe birth injuries because of a delayed Caesarean section, has been awarded €1.35 million.

The claim for medical negligence compensation was made on behalf of a six-year-old boy from Bantry, Co. Cork. He was delivered at Cork University Maternity Hospital in March 2010. The boy had been suffering from foetal distress syndrome before he was born, though the claim alleges that medical staff failed to correctly diagnose this from the results of a CTG scan.

As such, there was a delay in performing a Caesarean section on the boy’s mother. This lead to an oxygen-deprived environment in utero and the boy suffered from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy, resulting in severe brain damage.

The extent of the brain damage has left the young boy unable to speak, see and suffering from daily seizures. He is cared for at home by his parents and extended family, but receives additional support from the Jack and Jill Foundation.

Acting on her son’s behalf, the boy’s mother made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE). Though the HSE denied the allegations of negligence, they agreed to pay an interim settlement of compensation of €1.35 million without admitting liability. The settlement allows for an assessment of the boy’s condition and future care needs.

The child’s mother consulted a medical negligence solicitor before making a claim for compensation on her son’s behalf. The claim was made against the Health Service Executives, who contested the allegations of negligence. However, they offered to pay a €1.35 million interim settlement of compensation without admitting liability. Further assessments of the boy’s condition and care needs will be conducted before another settlement is paid.

As the claim was made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to be approved in court before it could be awarded. During the hearing, the family detailed their difficult journey in claiming compensation and expressed their relief that the process was finally over. Wishing the family the best for the future, Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement and adjourned the case for three years.

Man Awarded Compensation for Aggravating Injuries in a Van Accident

Posted: December 2nd, 2016

A man has been awarded compensation for aggravating injuries in a van accident after being described as a “very unfortunate accident prone individual”.

While the plaintiff was waiting at a junction by the Thomond Bridge in March last year, he was hit from behind with “significant impact” by a car that “came out of nowhere”. The work van he had been driving was a write-off and, while he was reporting the accident to his employer, the car driver responsible for causing the accident drove off – mounting the kerb and hitting the wall of the bridge as he left.

The injured van driver – a thirty-eight year old father of two from Rhebogue in County Limerick – suffered an aggravation of existing injuries to his neck, shoulder and lower back. He attended his GP the following day and allegedly suffered for the next six months. He claims to have sustained “psychological issues” as a result of the accident and is still receiving injections to manage the pain.

The car driver responsible for causing the accident was traced and the plaintiff claimed compensation for aggravating injuries in a van accident. The car driver´s insurance company had its doubts about the legitimacy of the claim, and denied its consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment. The plaintiff was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim in court.

The hearing took place at Limerick Circuit Court, where counsel for Liberty Insurance – the negligent driver´s insurance company – told Judge James O´Donohue that the plaintiff had made a substantial number of personal injury claims in the past. Five of the previous personal injury claims related to road traffic accident that had aggravated existing injuries on each occasion.

Judge O´Donohue also heard that the plaintiff was on disability benefit for his existing injuries and was only able to work a limited number of hours each week. Noting that he had been “well compensated in the past”, Judge O´Donohue awarded the plaintiff €10,000 compensation for aggravating injuries in a van accident and described him as a “very unfortunate injury prone individual”.

Tesco Knee Injury Claim Settled in Court

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.

New Book of Quantum to Make Courts Fairer

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.


Contributory Negligence Dismissed in Courier Road Injury

Posted: August 23rd, 2016

A courier, who was injured in an accident involving a taxi, has received a full five-figure settlement of compensation after a judge ruled that he was not negligent in his actions.

The road accident occurred in March 2015 as Rotimi Omotayo, a bicycle courier, was carrying out a delivery on the Custom House Quay. As he was cycling, a taxi – driven by Kenneth Griffin – pulled out from a lane and knocked Rotimi to the ground.

Fortunately, Rotimi was not previously injured by the accident and was able to return to work a few weeks later. However, after making a claim for compensation to the Injuries Board Ireland, the case was dismissed as Rotimi was believed to have contributed to his injuries. However, the Injuries Board did issue authorisation for the claim to be pursued in the courts. Consequently, a hearing was held at Dublin’s High Court earlier this month, overseen by Mr Justice Bernard Barton.

At the hearing, statements were heard supporting both parties. The court hoped to determine whether or not Rotimi was at fault for his injuries through breaching the Road Traffic Regulations.

Yet, once all testimonies were presented, and it was discovered that by needing to deliver to the “river side” of the quay Rotimi was entitled to cycle in the outside lane before turning. The judge proceeded to dismiss any allegations that the courier was negligent and ruled in his favour.

Judge Barton also commented on a contemporary issue in the courts when he said that he would not use the Book of Quantum in determining the settlement as it was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.

Tort Law was instead applied and Rotimi was awarded €30,000 in general damages for his injuries. However, Judge Barton ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support the loss of income claim and discarded the special damages claim. Rotimi, however, was still compensated for his legal costs.

Holiday Injury Compensation Awarded to Teenager

Posted: July 9th, 2016

A six-figure settlement of compensation has been awarded to a teenage girl who was injured whilst on holiday with her family as a child.

Shauna Burke, then aged ten, was staying at the Slattery Caravan Park in Co. Clare in 2009 when the accident occurred. Whist Shauna was playing with other children at the park, she ran past a pole in a communal area that had a nail jutting from it. This nail scraped along Shauna’s leg and caused a deep laceration.

Despite the quick medical attention that was administered to Shauna, once the injury had healed she was still left with a large scar to her leg. Shauna’s father, John, decided to seek medical counsel on her behalf and proceeded to make a claim for personal injury compensation against Austin Francis Slattery, the owner of the caravan park.

In the claim for compensation, John accused Slattery of negligence as he alleges that the park owner was aware of the potential risk that the nail posed, as it was in a place popular with residents. Slattery denied liability, though did make an offer of compensation worth €106,000 to account for Shauna’s suffering to date and future medical care.

However, as the claim was made on behalf of a minor, the settlement had to approved by a High Court judge to ensure it is in Shauna’s best interest. As such, the case was overseen by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at Dublin’s High Court earlier this month. After hearing the details of the case, and inspecting Shauna’s scar, the judge commented that he was happy to approve the settlement.

Shauna will soon turn eighteen, and until that point the settlement will be paid into interest-yielding court funds.

UN Criticises Irish Abortion Law

Posted: June 17th, 2016

The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has said that the Irish government should alter the laws that prevent women seeking abortions for fatal foetal abnormalities.

Despite recent changes to the Eighth Amendment – which protects the right to life of the unborn – such that women may seek terminations if it can be shown that the mother’s health is jeopardised, there are still many instances in which terminations are illegal. For example, if the foetus is malformed and as such will lead to a miscarriage, it is illegal to abort the foetus. Additionally, pregnancies that are the result of incest or rape are not allowed to be terminated.

Many Irish women are negatively affected by such laws, and will often travel abroad for medical treatment. One such woman was Amanda Mellet, who found out twenty-one weeks into her pregnancy that her foetus fatally abnormal. She was informed that the pregnancy would end in miscarriage, or that her baby would die very shortly after birth. Not wanting to endure either scenario, Amanda decided to travel to the United Kingdom and undergo an abortion.

However, Amanda’s experience was highly upsetting as she could not easily access information before the treatment and was not entitled to bereavement counselling upon her return home. In light of this, Amanda decided to set up “Termination for Medical Reasons”, an organisation that has campaigned for changes to Irish law and has even petitioned the UN Human Rights Committee. The organisation claims that the current laws are cruel, discriminatory, inhuman and degrading.

The committee found in Amanda’s favour, ruling that her well-being was put at risk because of the Irish law. They also said that Amanda had undergone necessary financial and emotional suffering, and recommended that the State compensate her for their failure to provide a termination “in the familiar environment of her own country and under the care of health professionals whom she knew and trusted.”

The United Nations also recommended that the Eighth Amendment should be revised to allow Irish women to access “effective, timely and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination in Ireland, and take measures to ensure that healthcare providers are in a position to supply full information on safe abortion services without fearing being subjected to criminal sanctions.”


Fine for Company After Fatal Work Accident

Posted: May 10th, 2016

A Dublin company has been issued a six-figure for for serious breaches of health and safety laws that resulted in the death of an employee.

Robert Ceremuga, aged thirty-two, was killed at work when a racking that contained thirty-six tonnes of food products collapsed whilst he was working in a VF Coldtores Ltd.. A report after the incident concluded that a forklift had collided with the racking, causing it to fall. Additionally, it was uncovered that the employee driving the forklift was working at the facility for just three weeks and lacked an adequate license to operate the forklift.

Following the reports, VF Coldstores LTD was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for breaching health and safety regulations. Last month, during a hearing at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin, the company plead guilty to the charges. During the same hearing, Maria – Robert’s widow – read a witness impact statement. Judge Melanie Greally then adjourned the hearing such that she could undertake a “scientific approach” to calculating the fine.

Earlier this week, the hearing was reconvened. VF Coldstores Ltd was then issued with a €200,000 for their fatal breaches of health and safety laws. After the announcement of the fine, the Chief Executive of the HSA, Brian Higgisson, commented to the press 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.”

Workplace Compensation Claim Heard in Court

Posted: April 8th, 2016

The High Court of Dublin, earlier this week, heard the case of a man who lost two of his fingers in an industrial saw accident.

Antoni Jamroziewicz – aged fifty-two, living in Limerick but originally from Poland – was working as a carpenter on the contraction of the Limerick Tunnel on 28th April 2008 when the accident occurs. Antoni fell when he was cutting a length of timer from a longer plank, and his hand was caught in the saw, severing two of his left fingers.

Despite their best efforts, doctors were not able to repair the damage to Atoni’s fingers. The physical and psychological trauma of the injury caused Antoni to start drinking heavily, and he found it difficult to find work after the accident. His injury affected his professional confidence and capabilities, and he also began to struggle in social situations.

Antoni sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim for compensation against the recruitment agency, O’Neill Brennan Ltd, and the German contractor Strabag International GmbH. In the claim, Antoni alleged that the surface on which he was working with the industrial saw was unsafe because it wasn’t level, but both defendants denied these claims. The case proceeded to the High Court, where it was heard earlier this week.

The court heard from Antoni that the accident happened because he had stumbled on an uneven surface, leading to his hand entering the industrial saw. However, this was disputed by both of the defendants, who testified that the saw as on a level surface. They argued that Antoni had probably caused his injury himself by acting negligently and placing his hand too close to the saw.

It was also argued by the defence that, as Antoni was an experienced carpenter, he should have ensured that the area was safe and level by placing a plywood sheet under the saw before use. Antoni’s lawyers counter-argued that, because the saw was already in place, it wasn’t Antoni’s responsibility to set it up and ensure it was safe.

The case is due to continue later this month.

Claim Made for Passenger Injuries of Child caused by Negligence

Posted: March 25th, 2016

The accident occurred on the 26th December 2016 when Cora-Lynn Kelley-Mattock, then aged two, was travelling with her mother Josephine along the A484 in Llandygwydd, Cardigan. Her mother crashed the car they were travelling in into a wall, causing severe injuries to herself and her young daughter.

Josephine, who was just nineteen when the accident occurred, died just three days after the crash because of her injuries. Cora-Lynn suffered extensive damage to her head and internal organs, and the damage to her brain has left her with life-long disabilities. Her vision has also been affected y damage to her eye.

The coroner who spoke at the inquest into the accident in 2014 determined that Josephine’s death was caused by misadventure. He commented that she was probably trying to avoid another car when she crashed, or was distracted by her young daughter.

However, solicitors working on behalf of Cora-Lynn have claimed that they believe Josephine could have been acting negligently when she crashed the car. As such, they have filed a claim for compensation against Josephine’s motor insurance company and her estate.

The claim alleges that Josephine was driving at a speed unsuitable for the conditions of the road at the time of the accident, considering the wet conditions. They also claim that she had failed to strap her daughter in properly before the accident, as Cora-Lynn was found suspended from her waist in the car seat. If she were secured properly, the straps around her shoulders would have protected her upper body.

Representatives of Josephine’s estate and the motor insurance company that insured her contest this claim, saying that though there is no disagreement as to the circumstances of the accident, the solicitors representing Cora-Lynn will have to show Josephine was negligent by causing the crash and not securely fastening her daughter’s seatbelt.

Injured Social Worker Receives Compensation from HSE for Injuries

Posted: February 19th, 2016

A social worker who was injured while on the job has received an unknown settlement of compensation from the HSE for the injuries he sustained.

Joseph Kavanagh, of Enfield, County Meath, was working in a Special Care Residential Unit as a social care worker dedicated to helping young people with behavioural issues. In June 2009, he was asked to accompany a particular young person-who must not be named for legal reasons-while their family visited them. During the visit, the youth became visibly agitated, and attempted to run away from his carer.

Joseph attempted to pursue the boy, but while he was running he twisted over his knee and fell to the pavement, cracking his kneecap. Joseph has since experienced difficulty in performing regular daily activities due to ongoing pain in the region. He was also left with a scar-four centimetres long-on his knee from his injury.

The social care worker sought legal advice, and made a claim for compensation against his employer, the Health Service Executive (HSE). Joseph claimed that his employer should have carried out a risk assessment of the family visit, considering the boy had displayed agitated and nervous behaviour prior to the family visit. He argued that there should have been another social worker on hand to help Joseph should the youth act out due to this behaviour.

The defendant denied liability for their employee’s injuries, and Joseph brought his claim to be heard by Judge Francis Comerford in the Circuit Civil Court. Before the HSE was able to present its defence against the social care worker injury claim for compensation, the judge was informed that a settlement had been agreed by the legal parties of both sides and that the claim had been resolved.

The details of the settlement were not released to the public, but the liability for Joseph’s injuries was shared between the defendant and the plaintiff equally. Joseph was further awarded his legal fees, and the case was struck from the Circuit Civil Court.

Brain Injury Compensation Awarded in Court

Posted: January 30th, 2016

A twenty-five year-old man has received a settlement of compensation for injuries to the brain after the sum was approved in Dublin’s High Court.

The accident occurred on the 27th January 2009, when Francis Smith – of Edgeworthstown in County Longford – was driving along a road and had to suddenly manoeuvre away from an oncoming car. However, this action meant that Mr Smith crashed instead into the back of a lorry parked ahead of him on the road.

Mr Smith, then aged just eighteen years old and was employed in a local factory, was so severely injured by the collision that he can no longer work, and is reliant on his mother, Martina Dempsey, for round the clock care. His cognitive and physical injuries were extensive.

Ms Dempsey made a claim for compensation for the road accident on her son’s behalf. The claim was made against the Longford County Council, and alleged that there were no sufficient signposts of roadworks, and there was no flagman posted on the road to warn of oncoming vehicles. She also claimed that the lorry – into which her son crashed – was parked such that it extended too far onto the road. The lorry posed a significant danger because of its proximity to the other roadworks.

The County Council denied any liability for the injuries Mr Smith sustained, stating the the accident was largely Mr Smith’s own fault as he had been negligent and driven too fast for the conditions of the road. Yet when the case proceeded to the High Court, the overseeing judge – Mr Justice Kevin Cross – heard that a compensation settlement of €750,000 was negotiated between the parties.

The judge noted that the value was just 25% of the full value of the claim, and proceeded to approve the settlement. Before closing the case, Judge Cross commented that the settlement was good and that he wished Mr Smith well for the future.

Five-Figure Compensation Settlement Awarded for Car Crash Fatality

Posted: December 1st, 2015

A claim for the death of a man in a car crash has been resolved in Belfast’s High Court.

Leslie and Elizabeth Browne were driving on the B8 from Newry to Hilltown during July 2010 when they were involved in a head-on-collision with another car. The collision occurred on an infamous stretch of the B8, locally known as The Seven Sisters – so same because of a successive series of treacherous bends. The Brownes collided with a Toyota Yaris driven by Sandra Murray.

Mr Browne, who was driving the car when the couple collided with Ms Murray, sustained very severe injuries and died just a month later. Mis wife proceeded to seek legal counsel, subsequently making a claim for her husband’s death against Ms Murray. In her claim, she alleged that Ms Murray was negligent in her driving, and the crash was caused by her inattentiveness and lack of adequate driving for the conditions of the road.

Ms Murray denied any liability for the death of Mr Browne, instead claiming that she had lost control of the car because her vehicle had been hit from behind by another car, driven by Michal Marczak. Mr Marczak denied this claim, saying that there had never been any contact between his car and Ms Murray’s, stating that the crash was caused by Ms Murray’s excessive breaking – which lead her to lose control.

The claim proceeded to Belfast’s High Court, where Judge Stephens oversaw proceedings. He heard that a settlement of £50,000 had been agreed between the parties, though he was to establish liability.

Mr Justice Stephens heard of the lack of evidence pointing to contact between Mr Marczak’s and Ms Murray’s cars, and as such, he found that Ms Murray bore sole responsibility for the death of Mr Browne. He said that this was in part due to her excessive speed (it was determined that she was travelling between 27mph and 37mph), and that this combined with her excessive breaking to lead to the crash.

The judge also agreed with Mrs Browne’s claim that Ms Murray was inattentive whilst driving, saying that “I consider that it reflects the fact that the first defendant did not and does not know what happened so that she grasped at anything that might exonerate her.” Ms Murray, in addition to paying the compensation settlement, must also pay for Mrs Browne’s and Mr Marczak’s legal costs.

Claim Made by Daughter Against her Mother for Injuries Sustained in Car Crash Resolved

Posted: November 28th, 2015

A teenager, who made a claim for compensation against her own mother, has received a seven-figure compensation settlement.

When Beth Cullen, then aged just six years old, was travelling with her mother on the 26th November 2005, she sustained severe injuries in a car crash on the infamous “Nine Bends” stretch of the N11, near Ballinameesda. As a result, Beth became blind in one eye, deaf in one year and completely lost her sense of smell.

William Cullen, Beth’s father, made a claim for compensation on his daughter’s behalf against Caroline Barrett, Beth’s mother. Ms Barrett had been driving the vehicle when it crashed, and is held responsible for the events.

In their claim for compensation, Mr Cullen claimed that Ms Barrett did not adequately handle the car prior to the accident, and as a result, she did not have enough regard for the safety of her young daughter.

Ms Barrett’s insurance company conceded liability for the accident, and the parties negotiated a €1.3 million settlement of compensation for Beth. However, as Beth was a minor and as such the claim had to be made on her behalf, the settlement had to be approved by a judge before it could be awarded.

The case then proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where it was overseen by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. The judge was told of the circumstances of the accident, and how they had impacted Beth’s day-to-day life. The judge was also informed that Beth was doing well at school, despite her difficulties, and Judge Cross proceeded to approve the settlement, wishing the teenager well for her future.

Dublin Bar Found Guilty for Hand Injury

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.

Construction Worker Compensated for Fall from Ladder

Posted: September 5th, 2015

A forty-seven year-old man, who sustained grave brain injuries after he fell off a ladder whilst working for a family company, has been awarded a settlement of compensation.

The accident occurred on the 22nd March 2011, shortly after Michael Brady from Co. Kildare began working at a business owned by his family, Philip Brady Building Contractors Ltd. Whilst working in Naas with his father, Philip Brady Senior (who, though related to the owner of the company, does not own it himself), he was asked to clear vegetation from a blocked gutter. To do this, he climbed a sixteen-foot ladder and was left briefly unattended by his father.

However, when Philip returned, he found Michael lying unresponsive at the bottom of the ladder. He was rushed to hospital where emergency surgery was carried out on his brain. Since the initial operation, Michael has had further procedures carried out to reconstruct damage to his face and to amend some of the brain damage. Despite these procedures, Michael is still visually impaired and also relies on assistance for day-to-day life.

As a result of the damage he sustained, it was decided that Michael was unable to represent himself in court. As a result, his father – Michael Brady – made a claim for work injury compensation on his son’s behalf. In the claim, Philip alleges that the ladder provided to his son was not suitable for the work that he was required to do. He also claims that it did not have adequate support to prevent a fall such as Michael’s.

However, Philip Brady Contractors Ltd denied any liability for Michael’s accident and the case proceeded to the High Court. However, shortly before the meeting was to commence, the judge was informed that negotiations had lead to the offer of €1.5 million in work injury compensation. After a presentation of facts concerning Michael’s accident, the judge approved the settlement.

Judge Halves Compensation for Restaurant Food Injury

Posted: August 7th, 2015

A District Court judge has halved the amount of compensation awarded to a man after she assigned him fifty percent contributory negligence for an injury he sustained whilst eating in a restaurant.

The accident occurred on  the 23rd of March 2013 when Shane McQuillan, aged thirty two from Swords in Dublin, was eating in the Gate Clock Bar in Dublin Airport. Whilst eating a sausage and bacon sandwich, Shane cracked one of his molars.

Shane sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim for compensation against the bar. In the claim, Shane alleges that his tooth was cracked when he bit into a tough rind of bacon. He claims that this was because the rind had been left out on display “for a number of hours”. However, the owners of the Gate Clock bar denied that they were liable for Shane’s injuries. As such, he was authorised by the Injuries Board to pursue his claim for compensation through the courts.

The claim for restaurant injury compensation was heard earlier this month at the Swords District Court by Judge Patricia McNamara. There, the judge was told that the steel tray from which Shane was served his sandwich was kept over a pan of hot water, and was protected by a glass display. Additionally, the manager claims that the food at the bar is changed every ninety minutes – though she had no written records to confirm this statement.

The legal team representing the bar argued that, had Shane any doubts concerning the freshness of his food, he should not have eaten it. By doing so, he had contributed to his injury.

Shane testified that, because of his injury, he still experiences bouts of pain and has some difficulty eating. Judge McNamara then awarded Shane a compensation settlement consisting of €6,500 in general damages, as well as another €2,500 in special damages.

Yet this figure was then halved to €4,500 when Shane was assigned a fifty percent contributory negligence for not being “careful of a crispy rasher rind”. Judge McNamara added that, had the manager provided adequate records, she would not have awarded Shane any compensation.

Circuit Court Deems Settlement for Psychological Trauma Too Low

Posted: July 26th, 2015

The Circuit Court has refused to approve a compensation settlement of €15,000 for a young girl who suffered psychological trauma whilst attending a crèche.

The child in question, Emilie Kiely – aged four from Sandyford in Dublin – began attending her Giraffe Crèche when she was just eight months old. By September 2012, she was moved to the “Toddlers Room”, but after the move her parents noticed their child becoming increasingly anxious and worried. This was particularly evident in the morning when they were getting ready to drop her off at the facility.

However, in May 2013, RTE’s Prime Time aired a documentary entitled “A Breach of Trust” that alleged Emilie’s crèche of mistreating its charges. Upon seeing this exposé, Emilie was withdrawn from the crèche. Footage included a carer that was responsible for their daughter screaming at another child.

Emilie parents then sought legal counsel before proceeding to make a claim on behalf of their daughter for the psychological trauma she endured. In the claim, John Kiely – Emilie’s father – alleged that her behaviour had altered after entry to the Toddlers’ Room. He claims that she would cry “No crèche” in the morning and that she was terrorised and upset because of the breach in the crèche’s duty of care.

The claim for compensation was contested by Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre, though an offer of compensation totalling €15,000 was offered without an admission of liability. This offer then had to be presented to a judge for approval, as the claim was made on behalf of a minor.

The case proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Judge James O’Donahue. However, the judge ruled that – given the amount of trauma and upset Emilie had endured – that the settlement was not a sufficient sum.

The judge then ruled that the case would have another hearing before a different judge. This will have implications for twenty-five other claims for child psychological trauma compensation made against Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre. Emilie’s parents, along with many other parents of affected children – have also commenced legal action concerning the crèche’s breach of contract.

Man Compensated for Hit and Run Injuries

Posted: June 11th, 2015

A young man, who was injured after a hit-and-run, has been awarded an undisclosed settlement of compensation after a High Court judge assigned him three-quarters contributory negligence.

On the 2nd November 2012, when Anthony Driver – aged twenty-five from Co. Wicklow – was at the junction between Meath Road and Sidmonton Avenue waiting for a friend to give him a lift home. However, as he was waiting, he was hit by an unidentified car.

Though unable to remember much of what happened after he was hit, Anthony does recall that the vehicle that hit him briefly stopped but then drove off without calling for an ambulance, or even checking that Anthony was injured.

Anthony was discovered later that evening by a passing Garda who rushed him to a nearby hospital. There, Anthony was diagnosed with extensive internal injuries – including a lacerated liver – as well as fractures to his ribs and spine.

Anthony spent four days in an intensive care unit, and a further five days in hospital before his discharge. However, he still experienced pain in his back and difficulty eating because of the accident.

As the driver who hit Anthony was never identified by the Gardaí, Anthony proceeded to make a claim for hit-and-run compensation with the Motor  Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). This body compensates those injured in an accident where those at fault cannot be traced or are uninsured.

The claim for compensation was contested by the MIBI, who said that – as Anthony was descried as “grossly intoxicated” by the Garda that found him – it was highly likely that he was responsible for his own injuries through lack of care.

Negotiations between the parties were unable to determine liability for Anthony’s injuries. As such, Anthony was granted authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue his claim for hit-and-run compensation through the courts. Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns heard the case earlier this month at Dublin’s High Court.

During the hearing, Anthony testified that he was indeed drunk when he was hit by the unidentified vehicle, causing the MIBI to argue again that some of the liability should be assigned to him.
After a brief pause, Judge Kearns ruled that Anthony should be assigned seventy-five per cent contributory negligence for the hit-and-run accident. He then awarded Anthony an undisclosed settlement of compensation.

Taxi Drivers Install Dashboard Cameras to Prevent Fraudulent Car Accident Claims

Posted: April 3rd, 2015

Taxi drivers have started to install dashboard cameras to prevent fraudulent car accident claims according to a report in the Irish Mirror.

The report alleges that a significant number of fraudulent car accident claims have been made by members of the public who have deliberately walked in front of – or thrown themselves in front of – slow moving vehicles in Dublin City Centre, in areas where they are sure of not sustaining a serious injury due to the low speed limits.

One taxi driver told the Irish Mirror: “I was almost caught out a few months ago when a man jumped off the pavement in O’Connell Street and landed in front of my taxi. I noticed a man weaving his way in and out of the crowds quite hastily and it just struck me it was suspicious so I started to slow and by the time he had thrown himself out in front of my taxi I had managed to slam on the brakes”.

The taxi driver has since bought a dashboard camera to avoid being held liable for fraudulent car accident claims in the future. He said: “Being on the road all day every day for the past 10 years I thought I had seen it all in terms of scams and dodgy claims ploys but this one takes the biscuit.”

Christy Humphreys from the National Private Hire and Taxi Association contributed to the story in the Irish Mirror by saying; “There’s a lot of this going on and drivers are terrified of falling victim to it. But drivers are reporting people now throwing themselves in front of taxis. Like there’s nearly too much going on to get your head around.”

The lobby group Insurance Ireland has also set up a special committee in a bid to tackle the issue and has identified six locations where there has been a spate of fraudulent car accident claims – the locations being Swords and Tallaght in Dublin, Galway, Cork, the Border region, and Ennis in County Clare.

Judge Awards Compensation for Passenger Whiplash Injuries

Posted: February 18th, 2015

A judge has awarded €10,000 in compensation for passenger whiplash injuries after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

John Connors from Saggart in County Dublin was just fifteen years of age when the car he was a passenger in collided with a wall alongside the Kiltipper Road in Tallaght on 2nd December 2010. John (now 20 years old) suffered soft tissue injuries to his back and neck and was treated at the Tallaght Hospital in Dublin.

John returned to the Tallaght Hospital on several occasions for physiotherapy on his back and neck, and on his behalf, John´s father claimed compensation for passenger whiplash injuries against the driver of the car – John´s aunt, Bridget Connors.

Bridget Connors admitted liability for the accident, but John´s father was not satisfied with the Injuries Board´s calculation of compensation for passenger whiplash injuries, and an authorisation was issued for the case to go to the Circuit Civil Court for the assessment of damages.

At the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that confusion existed over the claim for compensation, as a similar case being pursued in County Cork. John told the judge that his father had taken him to see a firm of solicitors before he died last year, but he did not know who the solicitors were or how to locate them.

As the claim for compensation for passenger whiplash injuries was before Judge Groarke for the assessment of damages only, the judge asked John about any long-term deterioration of his health as a result of the accident in his aunt´s car.

John told the judge that the soft tissue injuries in his back and neck had healed, but that he suffered from an unrelated liver condition that would eventually lead to premature aging. He also commented that the liver condition prevented him from drinking alcohol.

Judge Groarke awarded John €10,000 compensation for passenger whiplash injuries and the costs of bringing court action. The judge said that the fact John had suffered some level of soft tissue injuries as a result of the accident had not been contested.

Settlement of Compensation for a Fatal Car Accident Approved

Posted: December 3rd, 2014

A family who were devastated earlier this year when their son was killed in a head-on crash have had a settlement of compensation for a fatal car accident approved in the Circuit Civil Court.

On April 17, four-year-oldCiaran Treacy was a passenger in his mother´s car when it was involved in a head-on crash with a car being dangerously driven along the Portarlington to Portlaoise Road by Finbar O´Rourke

Ciaran died at the scene of the accident, while both his mother Gillian and his brother Sean were seriously injured. O´Rourke was arrested when the Gardai arrived and subsequently charged with dangerous driving causing death. He is currently released on bail pending sentencing on December 11.

On behalf of his family, Ciaran´s father – Ronan Treacy, of Portarlington, County Laois – made a claim for compensation for a fatal car accident in respect of the mental distress he and his family had suffered over the loss of their son.

O´Rourke´s insurance company admitted liability for Ciaran´s death and the claim was not contested. An offer of compensation for a fatal car accident amounting to €35,000 was made by the insurance company and accepted by the family subject to a judge´s approval.

Consequently, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court was told the circumstances of the accident and the effect it had on the family. He heard from both Ronan and Gillian Treacy – who is still in a wheelchair due to the accident – and informed of the breakdown of the compensation settlement.

The settlement consists of €10,000 compensation for a fatal car accident to each of Ciaran´s parents; €5,000 each to Ciaran’s brother, Sean -who was also injured in the accident – and two-year-old sister Caoimhe; and €1,250 each to Ciaran’s four grandparents.

Judge Groarke approved the settlement and added a further €8,000 to Ronan Treacy to account for the funeral costs of burying his son. Before closing the case, the judge also expressed his deep sympathy to the family for their tragic loss.

€1 Million Settlement of Compensation for Pedestrian Injured in Car Accident Approved at Court

Posted: August 1st, 2014

A settlement of €1 million compensation for a pedestrian injured in a car accident has been approved at the High Court in favour of a sixty-year-old woman.

On September 9th 2011, Elena Schiopu from Dublin was attempting to cross the Morehampton Road with a buggy containing her young granddaughter. A car stopped to give way, and Elena stepped out from the pavement. As she did so, Elena was hit by a vehicle that had attempted to undertake the stationary car, and despite suffering cuts and bruises, Elena continued home with her unharmed granddaughter.

On arriving home, Elena started to experience a weakness in her arms and legs and later developed slurred speech. She went to hospital for an examination and was admitted before being transferred to intensive care as her condition deteriorated. Elena remained in intensive care for seventeen days – during which time she was diagnosed as quadriplegic due to a brain injury. Elena lost all method of communication and is now confined to a wheelchair.

In 2012, Elena was moved into to a specialist nursing home where she can receive 24 hours-a-day specialist care and a claim for compensation for a pedestrian injured in a car accident was made on Elena´s behalf by her daughter against the driver of the vehicle that had hit her – Eamon McElwain of Donnybrook in Dublin.

McElwain´s insurers contested the claim for compensation – arguing that their policyholder had not been speeding or driving dangerously and that Elena had failed to pay attention to the road conditions as she stepped out from the pavement. Elena´s solicitors countered by saying McElwain had engaged in a dangerous manoeuvre and should have been aware that there was the potential for a pedestrian to be crossing the road.

The two parties negotiated a €1 million settlement of compensation for a pedestrian injured in a car accident; but, due to the fact that the claim was made on Elena´s behalf as she was not able to represent herself, the settlement had to be approved by a judge before the case could be resolved.

Due to the magnitude of the settlement, the case was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court. Judge Irvine was told the circumstances of Elena´s accident and the nature of her injuries, after which she commented that this was a particularly distressing case, and she extended her sympathies to the family as she approved the settlement of compensation.

Settlement of Compensation for Hit and Run Brain Injury Approved

Posted: July 15th, 2014

The High Court has approved a €1.2 million settlement of compensation for a hit and run brain injury in favour of a former veterinary student who was hit by an uninsured drunk driver.

Laura Byrne from New Ross in County Wexford was just twenty-one years on age when – on June 20th 2009 – she was hit by a drunk driver in John Street while talking to friends in the street. The driver – Karol Chrzan – panicked and left the scene of the accident, later admitting to police that he had drunk six beers and some vodka before driving his partner´s car, for which he was not insured.

Laura was rushed to Waterford Regional Hospital and later transferred to Cork for treatment to a brain injury she sustained when hitting her head on the windscreen of the car driven by Chrzan. Despite intensive treatment, Laura still has problems with her balance, has one arm weaker than the other and suffers from double vision. As a result of her injuries, Laura had to abandon the veterinary course she was studying at college.

Chrzan was charged with dangerous driving causing serious harm and sentenced to three years imprisonment. He was also banned from driving for six years. Laura made a claim for compensation for a hit and run brain injury against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) – the body responsible for settling claims against uninsured drivers – and a settlement of €1.2 million was negotiated to account for Laura´s injuries and her lost opportunities.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told of the circumstances which led to Laura´s injuries and of Chrzan´s subsequent conviction for dangerous driving. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for a hit and run brain injury – commenting that it was a very good one in the circumstances – and saying while no amount of money would compensate Laura for the trauma she had suffered and the opportunities she had missed, she hoped the extra money would make life better for her.

Compensation for Injuries Sustained in a Bus Accident Approved at Court

Posted: May 8th, 2014

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for injuries sustained in a bus accident in favour of a young Spanish student, who was hit by the bus as he was fleeing from other youths.

On February 4th 2009, Carlos Tesch was walking with fellow Spanish students along Herbert Road in Bray, County Wicklow, when the group was approached by a number of youths, who had previously been verbally abusive to them.

Carlos ran into the street in order to avoid the older boys, but as he did so he was hit by a bus coming up the road from behind him. Carlos suffered serious head injuries in the accident, including the fractured base of his skull, for which he has subsequently twice been to China for stem cell treatment.

As a result of his injuries sustained in the bus accident, Carlos is unable to speak and can only walk a few steps without assistance. His father – Hams Tesch – has given up his managerial position to care for Carlos, who is able to attend classes in his home town of Bray, County Wicklow, during term time.

Through his father, Carlos claimed compensation for his injuries sustained in the bus accident against the operators of the Bray bus service – Dublin Bus. Dublin Bus contested their liability for the boy´s injury, claiming that it was unreasonable for the bus driver to have predicted that Carlos would run out into the road in front of the bus.

The case went to the High Court last year, where Dublin Bus were found 70% liable for Carlos´ injuries because the bus driver had been distracted by a passenger just before Carlos ran out into the road. Dublin Bus appealed the verdict, but the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court, and the case was returned to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that a €9 million settlement of compensation for injuries sustained in a bus accident had been negotiated and, after hearing the circumstances of Carlos´ accident and the care and devotion his father has shown for him in the five years since, Judge Irvine approved the settlement – adding she was aware of the sacrifices that parents will make when their children are badly injured.

Court Approves Injury Compensation for Scooter Accident on Dublin Path

Posted: April 7th, 2014

A court has approved a settlement of injury compensation for a scooter accident on a Dublin City path in favour of a young girl who suffered a serious arm injury in a fall from her bike.

On May 31st 2007, Charlotte Clapperton was aged just nine years of age and was riding her electric scooter along Tyrconnell Road in Inchicore, Dublin, when she hit a raised section of the footpath. Charlotte fell from her bike and landed heavily on her left elbow.

Charlotte had to undergo two operations on the elbow to repair a broken bone and has a 10cm scar as a reminder of the injury. Whereas before her accident Charlotte was a keen gymnast and Irish dancer, she can no longer partake in these activities, and she has still not regained full flexibility of her elbow.

Through her mother – Collette Clapperton of Bluebell in Dublin – Charlotte claimed injury compensation for a scooter accident on a Dublin City path, on the grounds that the path was in a poor condition because the roots of nearby trees (which were Dublin City Council´s responsibility to maintain) had grown up through the paving slabs on the footpath.

Dublin City Council acknowledged that the footpath was in such a state to render it a hazard, and a settlement of injury compensation for a scooter accident amounting to €125,000 was agreed. However, before Charlotte´s claim for scooter accident compensation could be closed, the settlement first had to be approved by a judge as the claim was made on a child´s behalf.

Consequently, the circumstances of Charlotte´s accident and injury were heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court; who, after inspecting the scar on Charlotte´s arm, approved the settlement and awarded the Clapperton family the costs of their action.

Judge Approves Car Crash Injury Compensation Claim for Passenger

Posted: February 13th, 2014

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of a car crash injury compensation claim for a passenger in a car accident who suffered life-changing injuries in the 2010 crash.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told howLydia Branley from Kinlough, Country Leitrim, sustained life-changing injuries when the driver of a BMW Coupe she was a passenger in lost control of his vehicle, crashed it through two roadside barriers and hit a telegraph pole.

The car landed upside down in a stream alongside the N4 at the Ballisodare slip road, but the driver and another male passenger had been thrown clear when the vehicle hit the telegraph pole. Lydia had been wearing a seat belt and was trapped unconscious inside the car until emergency services cut her free.

Lydia was taken by ambulance to Sligo General Hospital and later transferred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where she remained in a coma for nine months. When she came to from the coma, Lydia discovered that she was unable to speak and had lost the use of her legs and arms.

The driver of the BMW – Martin Kearney from Balinoo, County Mayo – was arrested and charged with dangerous driving causing serious harm. In June 2012, a judge at the Roscommon Circuit Court sentenced Kearney to six years imprisonment and banned him from driving for twenty years.

Through her father – Martin – Lydia made a car crash injury claim for a passenger against Kearney and the owner of the car – Kearney´s father, Michael – and a settlement of €10 million compensation was negotiated between the parties.

Because of Lydia´s injuries, the settlement of the car crash injury claim for a passenger had to be approved by a judge before the claim could be completely resolved, and consequently the circumstances of the accident and injury were related to Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court.

After hearing that Lydia will need around the clock care for the rest of her life, the judge approved the €10 million compensation settlement, adding “It does not give back Lydia her life. Nothing will, but it will provide her with the best care and hopefully bring back a degree of normality.”

RSA Blames Increased Fatalities in Car Accidents on Lack of Seatbelt Use

Posted: January 15th, 2014

The Road Safety Authority has published provisional data relating to fatalities in car accidents during 2013, and has attributed the higher number of fatal injuries to drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts.

Each year the Road Safety Authority (RSA) publishes provisional details of accidents on roads in Ireland ahead of their annual report, and the unconfirmed figures for year-ended 31st December 2013 have just been released.

In a reversal of the general downward trend since the RSA started producing annual reports in 1997, there were more fatal collisions (181) and fatal injuries (190) in 2013 than there were in 2012 (152 and 162 respectively).

Drivers accounted for 95 of the fatalities in car accidents recorded by An Garda Siochána (78 in 2012), with the number of car passengers who sustained fatal injuries also increasing from 27 in 2012 to 32 in 2013. The 63 remaining deaths on Irish roads were accounted for by vulnerable road users such as pedestrians (31), motorcyclists (27) and pedal cyclists (5).

Various factors are blamed for the increased number of fatal accidents in Ireland – noticeably how the number of motorcycle accidents increased during the summer months because of the fine weather – but these were countered by the decrease in fatalities among the 21-25 age group (32 > 27) and those which were attributable to speeding.

However, the RSA did point to a substantial proportion of fatalities in car accidents which may have been avoided in the driver and/or passenger was wearing a seatbelt.

In all fatal collisions in which a car user had been killed – and in which An Garda Siochána could determine whether the victim(s) had been wearing a seatbelt – the fatally injured driver and/or passenger had not been wearing a seat belt 38% of the time.

The conclusion drawn by the RSA was that more emphasis on seatbelt wearing was required – both for drivers and passengers.

Passenger in Fatal Car Accident to Receive Compensation after High Court Hearing

Posted: December 11th, 2013

A young woman, who sustained serious injuries when she was a passenger in a fatal car accident, is to receive €100,000 compensation after a court hearing to determine liability.

Leah McVeigh from Drumkeerin in County Leitrim was only 16 years of age when, on 23rd December 2008, she was one of five teenagers who went for a “spin” in two cars outside the village. Leah rode as a passenger in a car driven by 17-year-old John Williams – who had received the car as a birthday present just two weeks earlier – while the second car was driven by 18-year-old Darragh Flynn.

According to witness reports, the two drivers raced each other for three miles on the outskirts of the village until John Williams – attempting a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre – lost control of his car, went over a grass verge and crashed into the side of a parked lorry. Williams was killed in the accident, and Leah sustained a head injury and a fracture of the left clavicle, and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Through her mother – Ethel McVeigh – Leah made a compensation claim for a passenger in a fatal car accident against Darragh Flynn and the insurance company who had provided insurance for the fatally-injured John Williams – Quinn Direct. Damages were agreed at €100,000, but neither Flynn nor the insurance company would accept liability for Leah´s injury claim and proceedings were issued for the case to be heard in court.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Moriarty heard evidence from Darragh Flynn and the other passengers who were present on the day on the accident. The judge stated that he considered the evidence given by Flynn and a male passenger in the fatal car accident to be “self-serving”, and believed the testimony given by Fern Skelton to be more loyal to the truth.

Mr Justice Moriarty found Flynn 22.5 percent liable, and ordered him to pay Leah €22,500 compensation for a passenger in a fatal car accident; while the balance of Leah´s passenger accident compensation settlement will be paid by Quinn Direct.

Injuries Board Awards €157.2 Million Compensation for Car Accident Injuries

Posted: November 29th, 2013

The Injuries Board of Ireland has released statistics revealing that assessments of compensation for car accident injuries amounted to €157.2 million in 2012.

According to figures released by the, November is the most dangerous month of the year to venture out in a car, and the independent Government body has just released details of the awards it distributed in 2012 to highlight the fact.

The analysis of compensation claims for car accident injuries in 2012 also revealed that the total number of applications for assessments had increased by 1.3 percent to 7,622 and that the most dangerous day of the week on which to drive is Friday.

Claims for compensation for car accident injuries accounted for 75 percent of all the applications for assessment received by the Injuries Board (the remainder were comprised of public liability claims and for accidents at work), with the majority of these being for soft tissue injuries (whiplash) and broken bone injuries.

The statistics also showed that the average value of awards for car accident injuries in 2012 was €20,631, with women making a slightly larger number of claims than men. It was also shown that Donegal (11) and Cork (10) were the counties in which the highest number of fatal accidents due to somebody else´s negligence occurred.

However, the press release included some assumptions that not everyone might agree with – for example; as only 4 percent of awards were made to drivers over the age of fifty-five, the Injuries Board described this age group as the “safest” – neglecting to consider research that has demonstrated that older drivers are four times more likely to cause a fatal crash than teenagers.

It might also be the case that older drivers do not accept the Injuries Board assessments as, in 2012, fewer than 5,000 plaintiffs actually agreed with the amount of compensation for car accident injuries that had been assessed (from 7,622 assessments) , and chose to pursue their claims outside of the Injuries Board process.

Commenting on the figures, Patricia Byron – CEO of the Injuries Board – said “Our award trends indicate that the winter months are the most dangerous on our roads and we are urging all road users to be extra vigilant at this time. We awarded over €157m in compensation for injuries sustained in road traffic accidents last year which reflects the significant human cost of these accidents not to mention the social impact.”

Girl Compensated after Car Accident Prenatal Injury Claim Heard in Court

Posted: October 12th, 2013

A young girl from Rathfarnham in Dublin is to receive €17,800 in compensation after a settlement of her car accident prenatal injury claim was approved in court.

Aoife Sheehan (now 14 years of age) was delivered prematurely at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin on 15th April 1999; two days after her mother – Martina – had been involved in a car accident which allegedly caused her to go into early onset labour at thirty-six weeks.

Unable to breathe independently, Aoife was admitted to the neo-natal intensive care unit of the Coombe Hospital where her breathing had to be supported by medication and a ventilator. Aoife was diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome and remained in intensive care critically ill for three weeks.

Through her mother, Aoife made a car accident prenatal injury claim for compensation against the driver of the vehicle with which her mother had the accident – Elaine O’Connor also from Rathfarnham – but insurers for the defendant denied their client´s liability, stating that there was no medical evidence to prove the connection between the accident and Aoife´s premature birth.

The insurance company also claimed that any injuries that Aoife had been sustained before she was born and she was not eligible to be awarded compensation. However, the solicitors from whom Martina had sought legal advice pursued the car accident prenatal injury claim and, and after a period of negotiation, acquired a settlement that would see Aoife receive €17,800 compensation.

After hearing the details of the case, Judge Matthew Deery at the Circuit Civil Court approved the settlement – saying that Aoife´s solicitors had done a good job in securing a settlement, as proving liability in the case had it gone to court would have been difficult.

Woman Wins 2 Year Battle to Recover Compensation for being Rear-Ended

Posted: September 25th, 2013

A woman has won a two-year battle against the State of Texas and her own insurance company to recover compensation for being rear-ended and suffering whiplash injuries.

Brenda Nolen from Young County in Texas was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by a Texas Forest Service employee who had fallen asleep at the wheel when she was returning from a shopping trip in April 2011. The force with which her Dodge pick-up was hit, shoved it onto a garage forecourt, where it crashed into a petrol pump which exploded on impact.

Fortunately passers-by were able to rescue Brenda from her burning vehicle, but she sustained a broken arm, multiple burns and a serious neck injury in the accident which required her to undergo multiple operations over the course of the following year.

Brenda made a claim for being rear-ended against the Forest Service driver´s employers – the State of Texas – to cover to cost of a new vehicle and her medical expenses. However, the State of Texas rejected her claim on the basis that employees of the State Forest Service are immune from responsibility for any injuries or accidents that happen while they are en route to an emergency.

Her own insurance company – State Farm – also declined her claim for compensation for being rear-ended despite Brenda obtaining a statement from the Texas Forest Service employee who had hit her vehicle to confirm that he had fallen asleep at the wheel and was not on his way to an emergency.

Brenda sought legal advice and, with help from a solicitor and the threat of court action, a negotiated settlement was reached with Brenda´s insurers and the State of Texas that will see her recover an undisclosed amount compensation for being rear-ended – enough to purchase a new Dodge pick-up and cover the majority of her medical expenses.

Insurers Claim New Limits on Car Accident Compensation will lead to Higher Premiums

Posted: September 3rd, 2013

Insurance companies have claimed that new limits on car accident compensation will lead to higher premiums following the introduction of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

The Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 – previously known as the Courts Bill – will increase the upper limits on car accident compensation that can be awarded in the District Court from €6,384 to €15,000, and in the Circuit Court from €38,000 to €60,000

On publication of the report in July, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that the changes would lead to reduction in legal costs due to fewer car accident compensation claims going to the High Court; however two insurance experts have warned that the Bill could add as much as 30% to car insurance premiums.

Thousands More Cases in the Courts

According to Ciaran Phelan – CEO of the Irish Brokers Association – and Ken Norgrove from Zurich Insurance, the Seanad passed the legislation without considering the implications of insurance costs – which both claim will encourage more plaintiffs to “have a go” at taking their claims for car accident injury compensation to court, rather than settle their claim without legal action.

Mr Phelan said “These changes will see thousands more cases reach the courts this year, which obviously will increase the legal costs for insurers [and] which will in turn be passed onto consumers. There will be no getting around this”.

“Those amounts are too high”, agreed Mr Norgrove, who claimed that the new limits on car accident compensation will only encourage more claims and a return to the “compo culture” of previous years. “The Personal Injuries Board was great for straightforward and uncontested injuries but people will now take their chances in the District Court”.

A Smoke Screen for Insurer´s Own Troubles?

The latest attack on the new limits on car accident compensation settlements came a day after several insurance companies announced that insurance premiums were likely to rise due to an underwriting gap between the funds they receive in insurance premiums and what they have to pay to settle car accident injury compensation claims.

Whereas it is not unusual for car insurance companies to make an underwriting loss, they have normally been able to rely on investment income from funds they have on deposit. However, the return on investment has fallen in recent years while at the same time car insurance companies have been involved in fierce competition which has reduced their income from car insurance premiums.

Motorcyclist Receives Compensation for a Foot Injury in a Car Accident

Posted: August 8th, 2013

A motorcyclist, who was knocked from his bike by a car driver who failed to look when pulling out of a car park, has been awarded £250,000 compensation for a foot injury in a car accident.

The unnamed motorcyclist was returning home from his weekly ride on his motorbike, when a car emerging from a car park drove straight across his path. The rider was thrown across the top of the car and into a roadside hedge.

The victim was taken to hospital by air ambulance where doctors identified injuries to both legs and his collarbone including multiple fractures to the right foot. The victim stayed in hospital for ten days before being discharged and then had to undergo months of physiotherapy to regain his coordination and recover the strength in his legs and foot.

After seeking legal advice, the former building manager made a claim for a foot injury in a car accident against the negligent driver to account for future medical treatment – including the possibility of further surgery if the bones in his foot degenerate – and loss of earnings as he has had to take a less strenuous job.

Liability was accepted for the accident, and a settlement of compensation for a foot injury in a car accident amounting to £250,000 was agreed in out-of-court negotiations.

Injury Compensation for an Accident on a Motorbike Approved in Court

Posted: July 19th, 2013

A woman, who sustained permanent brain injuries after the motorbike she was a passenger on was in collision with a car, has had a settlement of injury compensation for an accident on a motorbike approved at the High Court in London

Barbara Oliva (26) from Sao Paulo in Brazil was a passenger on her husband´s Honda in 2008, when the two were involved in an accident with a car driven by Yusef Mahmoud, of Southwark, London on London´s Embankment.

Barbara´s husband escaped with minor injuries, but Barbara landed on her head when she fell and, despite wearing a motorcycle helmet, suffered severe brain damage. She can no longer walk or talk coherently, and has to rely on the 24-hour care provided by her mother in the family home in Brazil.

Through her mother – Edna – Barbara made a claim for compensation for an accident on a motorbike against Yusef Mahmoud and, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Lewis heard that a final compensation settlement of £7 million had been agreed between Barbra´s legal representatives and Mahmoud´s insurers.

 Mr Justice Lewis approved the settlement of injury compensation for an accident on a motorbike, stating that it was “just and reasonable” and praised Edna for the care and devotion she had shown her daughter after Barbara and her husband had separated.

Lawnmower Accident Injury Compensation Approved in Court

Posted: June 1st, 2013

A six-year-old child, who had his right arm severed by a lawnmower blade, has had a settlement of lawnmower accident injury compensation approved at the High Court.

Conor Byrne from Kilva in Cork was weeks away from his third birthday in May 2009 when the accident happened in his aunt´s garden in Carrigogna. His mother had visited her sister to help sow some flowers in her garden and, while she did so, Conor was playing on the veranda of his aunt´s home.

However, while he was playing, Conor fell from the patio to the lawn, where his cousin was cutting the grass with a drive-on lawn mower.  Despite the blade of the lawnmower being protected by a safety guard, Conor´s right arm went beneath the guard as he fell and his right arm was cut off just below the elbow. Conor was immediately hurried to Cork University Hospital, but doctors could not re-attach the amputated arm.

Conor´s father – Ciaran – made a claim for lawnmower accident injury compensation against his wife´s relatives – Tom and Mary Keohane – and, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Feeney heard that that a compensation settlement of €1.5 million had been agreed.

The judge was also advised that the value of the compensation settlement had been calculated with consideration of Conor´s expected losses in the future and included the cost of renovating the family home in Kilva. Mr Justice Feeney approved the settlement of lawnmower accident injury compensation after hearing that, despite his accident, Conor was doing well at school.

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Personal Injury Claim for a Bus Accident Resolved in Court

Posted: April 16th, 2013

A man who injured his eye when a tree branch shattered a window on the Dublin Buss in which he was travelling, has been awarded €8,000 in compensation for a personal injury claim for a bus accident.

35-year-old Rafal Kowalski of Castleknock, Dublin sustained his injury in July 2011 when a window was shattered on the top deck of the Nº 37 bus showering him in glass and debris. He did not seek medical attention immediately, but upon later examination it was found that he had dry eye syndrome which Dublin Bus did not contest.

Judge Matthew Deery at the Circuit Court awarded Mr Kowalski Rafal €8,000 compensation in settlement of his personal injury claim for a bus accident.

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