Jacqueline Whelan v Castle Leslie Equestrian Holidays Ltd, March 2018 No. 2017/5848 P [2018] IEHC 12

Damages – Personal injury – Accident – Finding of facts – Special damages – General damages – Damages €52,122

Facts: The plaintiff claimed damages for the injuries she had suffered in an accident while participating in a horse-riding exercise on the premises of the defendant’s hotel. The plaintiff contended that she had suffered severe pain and swelling in her lower-back area and left buttock. The plaintiff also showed the evidence of medical examination to prove that the plaintiff would be in discomfort for a prolonged period of time and she suffered serious cosmetic blemishes which she will have to live with for the rest of her life. The plaintiff also contended that she was undergoing IVF treatment at the time of accident that had to be postponed due to the injuries sustained in the accident.

Held: Mr. Justice Barr awarded the plaintiff a sum for pain and sufferings together with general damages for pain and suffering and in respect of cosmetic aspects of her injuries into the future and held that the sum must be added with the agreed sum for special damages in favour of the plaintiff. The Court found that the plaintiff had to postpone the IVF treatment due to the injuries sustained in the accident and that would have caused frustration and disappointment during that period to the plaintiff. The Court also noted that the plaintiff had been left with serious cosmetic blemishes, which would remain with her for the rest of her life.

Shu Zhang v Bus Eireann and Brendan Whyte, March 2018 No. 2007/3868 P [2018] IEHC 13

Road accident – Brain injury causing memory loss – Inexcusable delay in the proceedings – No trace of eye witness – Balance of justice

Facts: The defendants, by way of a motion, sought the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim for want of prosecution. The defendants contended that there was an inordinate and inexcusable delay in the proceedings on behalf of the plaintiff. The defendants also contended that despite their best endeavours, they were unable to trace the witness. The plaintiff argued that the delay in the proceedings was reasonable as he was awaiting the engineer’s report in relation to the tachograph in the bus involved in the accident.

Held: Mr. Justice Noonan dismissed the defendants’ application and adjourned the matter for mention into the case management list in order to ensure that there would be no further delay in the proceedings. The Court held that, for the balance of justice, it would be appropriate to permit the plaintiff to proceed with the proceedings. The Court observed that by virtue of brain injury, the plaintiff was personally blameless in relation to any issues of delay and the defendants themselves had made no attempt to contact the witness within the timeframe of the proceedings.