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Tipperary man who injured back lifting bag of pork awarded €365k in damages

The award was made in favour of Patrick Ryan of Carrick-on-Suir, in Co Tipperary who had sued his employer Queally Pig Slaughtering Limited

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Aodhan O'FaolainSunday World

The High Court has awarded €365,000 in damages to a Co Tipperary man who has been left unable to work after injuring his back in a work-place accident.

The award was made by Mr Justice Tony O'Connor in favour of Patrick Ryan of Ormonde Crescent, Carrick-on-Suir, in Co Tipperary who had sued his employer Queally Pig Slaughtering Limited over injuries he sustained on April 13, 2017, last while lifting a bag of pork.

Mr Ryan claimed that he experienced awful pain in his central mid lower back area when swinging over one of the bags of pork at the meat processing facility located near Waterford City.

Arising out of his injuries Mr Ryan sued his employer seeking damages for the injuries he suffered which he alleged were caused by the defendant's alleged negligence and failure to provide him with a safe system of work.

The claims had been denied.

In his judgement the judge said that the court had heard evidence from the defendant that Mr Ryan had "a bad back, which was going to cause him many of his current complaints"

The judge said that the defendant had initially kept liability as an issue in the case but had later "confined its defence to the extent of Mr Ryan's injuries and losses."

Mr Ryan is no longer able to do any manual work, and claims that surgery will not help him.

All he can do is to take action to avoid pain and take medication.

In his judgement Mr Justice O'Connor said he was satisfied that Mr Ryan was left unable to work due to the pain he has suffered following the accident.

The judge said that he was satisfied from the medical evidence given to the court that there was "no merit" in the defendant's position that Mr Ryan's injuries and inability to work were solely or substantially attributable to the plaintiff's "bad back".

The court was also satisfied that the defendant had not established that Mr Ryan had failed to take any reasonable steps to "reduce his loss."

The judge said that Mr Ryan's injuries had resulted in a drastic deterioration of the previously fulfilled life had had enjoyed prior to the accident.

The judge said that Mr Ryan had given evidence that he continues to experience severe pain since the accident.

He is unable to go fishing anymore, nor attend local matches because of the pain, while any lengthy period of time driving causes him great difficulties.

After swinging over the bag Mr Ryan "did not want to make a fuss" and thought that he would be "grand". Due to the pain, he experienced he was referred by his GP to the accident and emergency unit in Clonmel Hospital.

The Judge said that that he was satisfied that Mr Ryan, who was "a good manual worker" wanted to return to work, despite his significant pain.

However, physiotherapy had not given Mr Ryan any relief, and he had a suboptimal response to medication and injections he has received.

The judge said that Mr Ryan had attempted to return to work doing light duties, a few months after the accident.

However, his pain and discomfort got worse, and he ceased working for the defendant in April 2018.

When all the evidence was taken into account the Judge said Mr Ryan was entitled to damages, under hearings including past loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, and general damages totalling €365,500.

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