Boy (5) who saw mother injured by glass panel awarded €20k for 'psychiatric injuries'
A 15-month-old baby, who saw his mother seriously injured and covered in blood after she walked into a pane of glass, was awarded damages of €20,000 for psychiatric injuries he suffered as a result of the experience.
Keith O’Grady, counsel for Jude Johnson-Rice, now aged five, told the Circuit Civil Court that in December 2014 the boy was with his mother, Jill, at Terenure College Rugby Football Club when he witnessed the aftermath of his mum’s accidental walking into the clear glass pane that had not been marked with any indications or warnings.
Mr O’Grady, who appeared with John Murphy, of Murphy Ballantyne Solicitors, Sligo, for Jude, whose parents live in Co Fermanagh, said the boy had not witnessed the accident or the glass shattering but had been extremely distressed by seeing his mother in a bloody state.
He said the defendants, Panda Play Café Limited and Terenure College Rugby Football Club, had already settled the boy’s mother’s claim and had offered a settlement of €20,000 to Jude, who had sued through his grandfather Brian Johnson, Alderwood Park, Salloon, Ballinamallard, Co Fermanagh.
Mr O’Grady told Judge Eoin Garavan that the incident and the injuries to his mother had been a very frightening incident for the child. He told the judge he had two issues with not recommending approval of the settlement.
Firstly the rugby club had entered a full defence in which it had pleaded that the child did not suffer from any recognised psychiatric injury and, secondly, the mother had not taken her child for medical treatment until almost two years after the incident when the mother advised her GP that her son had remained very nervous and anxious for six months afterwards.
Mr O’Grady said the defendants had entered into correspondence with the family solicitor John Murphy who told them after they denied liability that they would incur further serious costs arising out of inspections and the provision of cctv footage. Following a settlement meeting an offer of €20,000 had been made.
Mr O’Grady said his doctor had found very little wrong with the child who had not witnessed the incident but had observed his mother in a bloody and distressed state immediately afterwards. The GP had stated that while this had the potential of being traumatizing for the boy there had been no lasting negative effect on the boy.
He told Judge Garavan that while the defendants had not joined the mother as a third party to her son’s claim they had alleged negligence against the mother in their full defence. He recommended acceptance of the offer.
Judge Garavan, who said that while there was no recognised psychiatric illness diagnosed, nonetheless there were many cases that came before the court that did not measure up to post traumatic stress disorder. He approved the offer.