HSE worker who broke knee chasing teenager settles claim

© The independent

A social care worker, who broke his left knee while chasing a teenager has settled a €38,000 damages claim against the HSE in the Circuit Civil Court.

Joseph Kavanagh (54) told the court that in June 2009 he was working in a special care residential unit for young people with behavioural problems.

Mr Kavanagh told his barrister, Mairead Smith, that he had accompanied the teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to a family access visit outside the unit.

The teenager had become agitated and abusive after the visit and he later ran off.

Mr Kavanagh said he had been running after the teenager when he twisted his knee and fell. An X-ray had later revealed a fracture in his knee which had required surgery.

Judge Francis Comerford heard that Mr Kavanagh suffered ongoing discomfort and pain in his knee, interfering with his daily activities.

The injury had left a 4cm scar. He sued the HSE, which had denied liability, for negligence.

Mr Kavanagh, with an address at Killyon, Longwood, Enfield, Co Meath, claimed his employer had failed to carry out a proper risk assessment before allowing the teenager to go on the family visit.

Ms Smith said her client claimed the teenager had already been agitated earlier that day and therefore another member of staff should have accompanied them.

The HSE, which had delivered a full defence to Mr Kavanagh’s claim, alleged its employee had been guilty of contributory negligence.

After Mr Kavanagh’s evidence and a short adjournment, Ms Smith told Judge Comerford that following talks between the parties, the matter had settled and liability had been agreed on a 50/50 basis.

Judge Comerford struck out the case and awarded Mr Kavanagh his legal costs. No details of the financial settlement were disclosed to the court.

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