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Baby Daniel’s occupier’s liability claim settled for €48,500

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Baby Daniel's occupier's liability claim settled for €48,500

Injury claim case study concerning a minor

Daniel, who was just six months old at the time, was taken on a mini break to Dublin with his family, who are from Northern Ireland. They stayed in a well-known 4-star hotel and enjoyed amenities such as breakfast and leisure facilities. The family were enjoying breakfast together in the hotel dining area. Baby Daniel was sitting in his buggy at the time and was level with the table. A member of staff placed a very hot coffee pot on the table. The dining area was very busy and Daniel’s family did not see the coffee pot being placed on the table.

The worst happened

Curious, as babies are, Daniel reached out and grabbed the pot. He was completely covered in scalding hot coffee. He suffered injuries consistent with scalding and was left with significant scarring. Medics later said that burns covered around 10% of the baby’s body. Daniel’s parents were left traumatised and furious by what had happened.

The parents wished to pursue compensation for their son. As the accident occurred in Dublin, they needed a solicitor qualified to practice in the Republic of Ireland. However, given the traumatic circumstances, they preferred to use a local solicitor who they could meet easily and get to know. The family contacted Michael Allison, who is dual-qualified and can practice anywhere throughout the jurisdiction of Ireland. He gave them the benefit of a free initial consultation and talked the parents through the process. They subsequently instructed him with Daniel’s case.

Michael issued a letter of claim to the hotel which denied liability. He had Daniel examined by several medical consultants including a consultant plastic surgeon. 

The hotel alleged that the coffee pot had been placed in the centre of the table and not within the grasp of the 6-month-year-old. The hotel maintained that if the baby suffered any injury, it was due to an unfortunate accident that was not caused by negligence of the hotel or its staff.

The case was listed for hearing in Dublin

The date fast approached and the hearing began. Mr Justice Paul Coffey heard the arguments of both sides during day 1 of the hearing. However, on day 2, the hotel’s legal representatives’ showed a willingness to settle the matter and abandon court proceedings. The hotel did not concede liability, but the matter was settled for €48,500. Of the settlement, €2,000 contributed towards hospital treatment fees. The remaining €46,500 would be paid to Daniel on his eighteenth birthday. In the meantime, the compensation would be held by the Accountant’s Office where it would accrue interest.

The case settled on the second day of the hearing

The Court approved of the settlement and Justice Coffey said he was satisfied, because the litigation risk in the case was very great in relation to liability, to approve the offer. He wished Daniel and his family the very best.

The case attracted media attention and was reported on by several media outlets across the island of Ireland.

Our personal injury department can help you too

If you or your child was injured in a public place, our team of personal injury solicitors are available to help you too. You can learn more about our Public & Occupiers’ Liability Claims service or contact us for a free, no-commitment discussion with a personal injury specialist solicitor.


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