16th February, 2022
The High Court has accepted a proposed settlement of €32,500 for a boy who lost the tip of his little finger while ice skating. In so ruling, the court held that the offer was appropriate in circumstances where there was a “real likelihood that the personal injuries claim would be dismissed”.
The plaintiff was eight years old at the time of his accident. In November 2013, he was ice skating with his family on a synthetic rink operated by the defendant. The plaintiff slipped on the surface and, unfortunately, another person skated over his left hand.
The plaintiff suffered a partial amputation of his little finger. He was rushed to hospital, where attempts were made to reattach the finger tip, but this proved to be unsuccessful. The top of his finger was terminated and closed with sutures. His little finger was approximately 17 millimetres shorter than his other finger.
The plaintiff was discharged following surgery and attended hospital as an outpatient while his wound healed. He also attended mental health services to deal with the trauma of the accident. The report of a consultant plastic surgeon in 2017 outlined that the plaintiff had made a good recovery from his accident, with even grip strength in both his hands. There was also a clinical psychologist’s report which outlined the significant short and long-term sequelae for the boy.
Personal injuries proceedings issued against the defendant in 2015 with a defence delivered shortly thereafter. Liability and causation were in issue in the case. A settlement offer of €7,500 was made in November 2020, which was rejected by the court as not being a reasonable offer. Further offers were made by the defendant, which culminated in an “all-in” offer of €32,500, with €20,000 apportioned to the plaintiff and €12,500 apportioned for legal costs.