High Court Judge Tells Plaintiff to Wait for Structured Settlement System

A High Court judge has declined a plaintiff´s request for a final settlement of their birth injuries claim and told them that a structured settlement system should soon be introduced.

The request for a final settlement of the birth injuries claim was made by Judith Corroon from Mallow in County Cork on behalf of her son – Connor – who was born at the Cork City General Hospital in February 1995 after being starved of oxygen in the womb.

Connor (now nineteen years of age) suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. Nonetheless his mother hopes that he will be able to go to college, and she told Mr Justice Bernard Barton at the High Court that the series of assessments he has to undergo before each interim payment of compensation is stopping him from getting on with his life.

Connor was the first plaintiff in Ireland to be awarded an interim settlement of compensation for catastrophic injuries pending the introduction of a structured settlement system when – in 2010 – he was awarded €1.6 million compensation.

With there still being no structured settlement in place last year, Connor had to undergo another series of assessments before being awarded a further €765,000. His case was again adjourned in the hope that legislation to provide a system of periodic payments would be introduced.

However, no such legislation has been introduced and, on Connor´s behalf, his mother appealed to the High Court that this third interim settlement of compensation for birth injuries should be a full and final payment.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Bernard Barton denied Judith´s request for a full and final payment, explaining to her that he had recently received a consultation paper from the Department of Justice, aims to introduce a structured settlement system next year through the Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill.

Judge Barton said it would be catastrophic for Connor if the court were to approve a final settlement prior to this Bill being introduced and the money run out later in his life. He approved a third interim settlement of Connor´s claim for birth injuries compensation for €1.45 million and adjourned the case for a further five years.