Factory Worker Who Was Injured by Falling Glass Awarded €113k by High Court

Factory Worker Who Was Injured by Falling Glass Awarded €113k by High Court

A glass factory worker has been awarded €113,000 by the High Court after sustaining injuries to his lower limbs and back while at work.

Compression Injuries

The court heard how in March of 2018, the complainant (59) had been working at Tipperary Glass Limited of Railway Road, Templemore, Co Tipperary, when several sheets of glass fell from a trolley on top of him and knocked him to the ground. As a result of the incident, the complainant was left with compression injuries to his lower limbs and back, as well as several lacerations.

According to the employee’s estimation, the trolley had been carrying between 10 and 20 sheets of glass with a combined weight of 100kg. It was further alleged that the accident had occurred because another employee at the factory had failed to properly secure the sheets of glass which were stacked on the trolley.

Permanent Scarring

Following the accident, Mr Justice Garrett Simons that the complainant had been confined to bed for four to six weeks as the injuries took some time to heal. He has also been left with permanent scarring to his legs, and continues to suffer from chronic back pain according to medical evidence that was presented.

Liability in the case had been admitted by Tipperary Glass Limited, and the action was before the court for assessment of damages only.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Simons said that the complainant was entitled to a sum of €75,000 in general damages. This was in addition to a further €38,000 in damages for loss of earnings to date. He is also expected to receive a sum equivalent to four years of earnings in respect of loss of future earnings, the amount of which is to be finalised at a date in the future.

Mr Justice Simons added that the complainant is entitled to a further €7,000 for special damages, with the case returning before the court later this month to deal with outstanding matters.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Plaintiff in personal injuries action not entitled recover sick pay to compensate his employer

Plaintiff in personal injuries action not entitled recover sick pay to compensate his employer

The High Court has ruled that a successful plaintiff in a personal injuries action was not entitled to special damages to allow him to compensate his employer for sick pay.

Background

Mr Hynes was injured in a road traffic accident in 2011. He sued the driver of the other vehicle and the driver’s employer, Kilkenny County Council. In 2018, the defendants conceded liability for the incident but the parties could not reach agreement on the amount of compensation. Mr Hynes argued that his injures persisted up until 2018 whereas the defendants contended that they had mostly resolved by 2013.

The court applied the Book of Quantum to the plaintiff’s injuries because the issuing of the proceedings pre-dated the new Judicial Guidelines. Mr Hynes was awarded €70,000 for physical injuries and €45,000 for the psychological injuries. He was awarded a further €58,000 for special damages.

A further issue of controversy arose between the parties. Mr Hynes argued that he was obliged to compensate his employer for the sick pay he had been paid arising from the incident. The defendants disagreed that he was under any such legal obligation.

Terms of employment contract

The parties agreed that Mr Hynes’ contract of employment included a right to sick pay and did not include an obligation to repay such monies if recoverable by way of compensation. However, Mr Hynes argued that he had, through his solicitor, given an undertaking to refund the sum of €40,833.02 to his employer.

In deciding against the plaintiff on the point, Mr Justice Simons stated that the contract of employment contained a right to receive sick pay, which was not conditional on an obligation to reimburse the monies paid in the event of receiving compensation. In relation to the purported undertaking given to his employer to repay the money, Mr Justice Simons stated that the plaintiff cannot convert an unrecoverable item into a recoverable item in personal injuries litigation by waiving a contractual right. The judge also found that the purported undertaking given by the plaintiff to his employer was not legally enforceable.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Young Boy Awarded €4million after a road crash

Young Boy Awarded €4million after a road crash

A 13-year-old boy has settled his High Court action for €4 million after being involved in a road collision five years ago.

The court heard how the teenager had been visiting his grandparents in Co Cork in August of 2017 when a hire car driven by his father collided with another car that was parked on the hard shoulder at Ballyhea, Charleville.

Following the crash, the boy, who was 8 at the time and had a pre-existing brain cyst, was taken to University Hospital Limerick but did not appear to have any injuries. However, six days later he was brought to Cork University Hospital with complaints of vomiting and persistent headaches. A scan was then taken of the brain, where nothing unusual was reported other than the pre-existing cyst. He was then discharged and prescribed anti-nausea medication and painkillers.

Cranial Pressure

It was at this point, counsel for the complainant contested, that an intracranial problem should have been suspected by the hospital staff. They further alleged that an examination of the back of the complainant’s eye had not been carried out, nor was there any test for cranial pressure which could have been uncovered with the “most basic eye test”.

Upon returning to the Cayman Islands where the boy resides, he had to be transferred to a Miami hospital to undergo three separate surgeries to drill tiny holes in his skull in order to relieve pressure and insert drains.

As a result of his injuries, the complainant, through his mother, had sued the boy’s father, who was the driver of the rental car at the time of the incident. He also sued the driver of the other car which had been parked on the hard shoulder where the accident occurred. Liability was admitted by both drivers, as well as the car rental company.

Failure to Perform Eye Examination

Against the HSE, it was claimed there was an alleged failure to properly investigate the persistence of the boy’s neurological symptoms following the accident, and an alleged failure to carry out the relevant eye examination that would have spotted the cause of these symptoms earlier.

It was further claimed that the boy’s brain cyst had been perforated in the accident, but that this had been missed by Cork University Hospital. These claims were denied by the HSE.

Approving the settlement amount of €4 million, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said it was a good one and wished the boy and his family well for the future.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Consent terms in personal injuries case may be depriving taxpayers of money due from the insurance company, High Court states

Consent terms in personal injuries case may be depriving taxpayers of money due from the insurance company, High Court states

n the Kuczak case, the Judge noted that the Defendant had effectively accepted that they were liable for the injuries caused and the loss of earning. However, the consent terms sought to only reimburse the Department of Social Protection partially for the illness related benefits received by a Plaintiff.

Consent terms in personal injuries case

Terms of consent are often the basis for resolving litigation. In Kuczak v Treacy Tyres (Portuma) Ltd [2022] IEHC 181, the Plaintiff, Mr Kuczak, and the insurance company for the Defendant, agreed that Mr Kuczak’s claim for personal injuries would be settled on the basis of consent terms. Both parties agreed that Mr Kuczak would receive, from the Defendant’s insurance company, a sum of money in satisfaction of his claim against the Defendant. The parties sought those terms of consent to be ruled by the High Court.

The matter came before Mr Justice Twomey. The terms signed by the parties include what is commonly known as a section 343R(2) consent order.

Section 343R(2) consent order

Section 343R(2) inserted a new provision into the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013, whereby from 1 August 2014 defendants must reimburse the Department of Social Protection for certain illness related benefits received by a plaintiff in every personal injury case concluded after that date.

In the Kuczak case, the Judge noted that the Defendant had effectively accepted that they were liable for the injuries caused and the loss of earning. However, the consent terms sought to only reimburse the Department of Social Protection partially for the illness related benefits received by a Plaintiff. This, the Judge noted, effectively means that the taxpayer must bear the burden of the Defendant’s negligent actions. The Judge stated that if he were to rule the terms of consent, the insurance company would have the taxpayer foot the bill of €45,000, that would otherwise be regarded as a ‘business expense’ of the insurance company.

Mr Justice Twomey has requested that the Court Registrar send a copy of the judgment to the Minister for Social Protection and to give the Minister liberty to apply. The position taken by the Minister and any further judgments by the Court in this matter will likely have wide-reaching implications for personal injuries practitioners and insurance companies.

 

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*