August 24

Costochondritis

What is Costochondritis?

Costochondritis is a condition that results from an inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone, or sternum. Being a relatively harmless condition, it usually goes away without the need for medical treatment.

Costochondritis commonly occurs in young children and adolescents, between the ages of 12-14.

Costochondritis is also considered as a possible diagnosis for adults who have chest pain, affecting females more than males (70% versus 30%). However, it is important to note that chest pain in adults may be a sign of a heart condition and the necessary tests to rule out same should be carried out prior to a diagnosis of costochondritis being made.

The causes of Costochondritis are generally unknown. Studies have shown that it may arise as a result of repeated trauma to the chest wall, overuse of the arms, or viral respiratory and/or bacterial infections. It may also occur as a result of the use of IV drugs, or in those who have had surgical procedures carried out on their upper chest. This is due to the fact that, after surgery, the cartilage can become more prone to infection, because of reduced blood flow in the region that has been operated on, resulting in persons experiencing pain and discomfort consistent with the condition.

There are three know types of infectious diseases that can cause costochondritis:
(1) Viral: Costochondritis commonly occurs with viral respiratory infections because of the inflammation of the area from the viral infection itself, or from straining from coughing.
(2) Bacterial: Costochondritis may occur after surgery and be caused by bacterial infections.
(3) Fungal: Fungal infections may also cause costochondritis, although this is rare.

The most common symptoms of costochondritis are as follows;
• Pain that is usually sharp and located on your front chest wall. It may radiate to the back or abdomen, and is most common on the left side. Pain may also be dull.
• Pain may present with a deep breath or cough.
• The most common sites of pain are the fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs. Pain may increase with physical movement or deep breathing, and decrease when movement is limited or with quiet breathing.
• Finally, tenderness when pressing on the rib joints (costochondral junctions) is a constant feature of costochondritis. Without this tenderness, a diagnosis of costochondritis is unlikely.

The treatment of costochondritis can vary, depending on whether one’s medical attendant is of the opinion that medication/surgical intervention is required, or whether symptoms can be relieved by way of home remedies.

If no medical or surgical intervention is required, the following treatment can provide relief to those suffering from Costochondritis;
• Over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications; i.e. ibuprofen or naproxen, as needed;
• Administering heat or ice locally, to relieve pain;
• Avoiding unnecessary exercise or activities that worsen the symptoms until such time that normal activities can be resumed as tolerated.
Where symptoms persist and are not relieved by any of the above, it may be necessary to attend your medical practitioner, who may provide the following treatment;
• Local anesthetic and/or a steroid injection in the area that is tender in circumstances where normal activities are painful and symptoms are not relieved having taken medication.
• Infectious (bacterial or fungal) costochondritis can be treated initially with antibiotics, and subsequent oral antibiotics.
• The affected cartilage may require surgical removal If one remains symptomatic having exhausted all of the above treatment.

Should you suffer from any of the previously mentioned symptoms as a result of a surgical procedure on your upper chest area, it is advised that you attend your doctor in this regard in order to explore any treatment options available to you.

August 2

Noise- Induced Hearing Loss

Noise- Induced Hearing Loss

Noise induced hearing loss occurs most commonly in the workplace environment, where workers are exposed on a regular basis to noise levels of over 80dBA. Such exposure over a long period of time can result in permanent hearing impairment, which often occurs gradually.

The following industries are amongst the most common within which workers are at risk of hearing impairment;

  • Construction;
  • Road drilling;
  • Mining;
  • Engineering;
  • Shipyards;
  • Car manufacturing.

However, there are many other industries and work environments that may result in workers suffering damage, and in the circumstances, anyone who believes that their impairment is a direct result of exposure to certain working conditions, may be eligible to claim compensation against their employer, or former employer. 

Employers owe a duty of care to their employees to ensure that they do not suffer any injury that is reasonably within the employer’s ability to avoid and protect against.

The scope of the duty of care, at common law, is generally assessed under the following headings;

  • The provision of competent staff;
  • The provision of a safe place of work;
  • The provision of proper equipment;
  • The provision of a safe system of work.

Furthermore, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 sets out a number of obligations on employers, and employees, in the work place, and imposes a duty on employers to do everything reasonably practicable to ensure the safety, welfare and health of their employees.

“Reasonably practicable” has been interpreted to mean that an employer has exercised all due care by putting in place the necessary protective and preventative measures, having identified the hazards and assessed the risks to safety and health…at the place of work.

Sections 8 to 12 of the 2005 Act contain the general duties of employers, both to employees and to other persons. Such general duties, include the obligation on the employer to;

  1. provide information to employees;
  2. provide instruction, training and supervision;
  3. to ensure plans and procedures for emergencies and imminent dangers are in place;
  4. and general duties to persons who are not employees.

Sections 18-24 of the 2005 Act deal with protective and preventative measures generally.

Employers of those working in environments whereby employees are exposed to loud noise on a persistent, or repetitive basis, really ought to ensure that the following safety measures/systems of work are in place;

  • Quieter machinery;
  • Installation of sound barriers and absorbent materials;
  • Shorter working periods, or reduction of exposure to loud noise;
  • The provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as earplugs, to workers at risk of noise exposure.

Failure to ensure that employees are adequately protected in the workplace, and failure to do all that is reasonably expected of them to ensure that no injury is sustained by workers, may leave employers liable for any damage or loss sustained as a result of inadequate systems of work.

The following are the most common forms of impaired hearing that arise from over-exposure to loud noise in the workplace;

Tittinus: which causes a ringing or buzzing sound in both ears;

Acoustic Shock Syndrome: which is damage to the ear caused by a single intense “impulse” sound at close proximity, such as an explosion or bang, or alternatively, through repeated exposure to high-frequency, high-intensity sounds through a headset.

Occupational Deafness: causing permanent cell damage to the inner ear that causes partial or complete deafness.

Compensation may be achieved for noise-induced hearing impairment in the workplace. General damages, for the injury itself, together with special damages, which are those out-of-pocket expenses borne by the claimant as a result of the accident, and any loss of earnings, may be recoverable from an employer who has failed in their duty of care to the employee.

Particularly in relation to special damages, claimants may be able to recover expenses arising out of the need to undergo surgery and have certain adaptations made to their home such as adapted telephones, door bells and alarm clocks.   Furthermore, the need for hearing aids, batteries and replacements, as well as sign language training, may also be recoverable.

Pursuant to the Statute of Limitations Act 1957, a claim must be brought within two years of:

  • The date of the noise exposure that caused the hearing loss, or
  • The date of discovering a hearing impairment linked to noise exposure. This is known as the date of knowledge.

The date of knowledge is the date that a claimant may reasonably have been expected to realise that they have a hearing impairment as a result of their working conditions. The date of knowledge is usually the date of diagnosis made by a healthcare professional, but not always.  

If a claimant has not been officially diagnosed with a hearing impairment which is a direct result of exposure in their workplace environment, an audiologist report can be procured. This report will indicate whether the hearing impairment is linked to working conditions, or whether it is a result of other degenerative factors, such as age.  Where the report establishes a causative link between the resulting hearing impairment and the employees working conditions, compensation may arise.

For further information, please contact:-

Keith Rolls on 01-531 3800, keith@colemanlegalpartners.ie

Johanna Ryan on 01-531 3800, johanna@colemanlegalpartners.ie


REFERENCES

https://www.quittance.co.uk/personal-injury-compensation/noise-induced-hearing-loss-claims

http://www.injuriesboard.ie/eng/How-to-make-a-claim/compensation-calculator/

http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Hearing-Disability-Assessment-Report-of-the-Expert-Hearing-Group.pdf

http://employmentrightsireland.com/health-and-safety-obligations-for-irish-employers/

August 1

Personal injury arising out of Lip Implant and Lip Filler Procedures

nose surgeryPersonal injury arising out of Lip Implant and Lip Filler Procedures

Both lip implant and lip filler procedures are usually carried out without complication, however where complications arise, the resulting consequences and symptoms of same can be most distressing.

Lip Fillers

Dermal fillers are used to enhance the lips and create a fuller, but natural looking, lip line. Commonly used are hyaluronic acid fillers, that are specifically designed to restore natural fullness and to shape the lips. There are several hyaluronic acid fillers on the market, including the following;

  • Restylane, Restylane-L, Restylane Silk
  • Juvederm Ultra, Juvederm Ultra Plus
  • Belotero Balance
  • HylaForm
  • Elevess
  • Prevelle Silk
  • Captique

The effect usually lasts up to six months, after which more injections are required to sustain the desired look of fullness and volume.

When dermal fillers are injected incorrectly however, this can result in facial imperfections and in some cases, disfigurement. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), 69% of surgeons have witnessed issues with dermal fillers. In most cases, surgical corrective treatment or reversal procedures are required.

Some common symptoms of lip filler complications include;

  • The filler migrating to a different part of the face, or body;
  • The injection site become infected
  • The formation of granuloma nodules (skin tissue inflammation)
  • Prolonged swelling or bruising
  • Lip asymmetry
  • Lumps and irregularities in the lips
  • Infection
  • Injection into a blood vessel, causing tissue loss
  • Ulceration, scarring, or stiffening of the lip
  • Allergic reaction causing redness, swelling, or itching around the lips.

Lip Implants

Lip implant surgery involves the insertion of implants with a permanent result. The operation is performed under general anaesthetic.

The procedure involves two small incisions being created at the corners of the mount, followed by a longer incision along the lining of the lips. The implants are then inserted, and the incisions are stitched.

The following are amongst the most common lip implant options;

  • Alloderm
  • SoftForm
  • GORE-TEX
  • Ultrasoft
  • Perma Lip Implants

Much of the complications arising out of lip implant procedures are similar to those arising out of Lip Filler procedures, listed above, the most common, particular to lip implants, being;

  • Bruising;
  • Swelling;
  • Bleeding;
  • Infection;
  • Allergic reactions;
  • Hardening/solidifying of implant material.

Compensation may be achievable for anyone suffering from the above mentioned symptoms/complications arising out of negligence in either the performance of the procedure, or the manufacture/supply of the product itself. Compensation for both pain and suffering, together with the costs of any required revisionary/reparation surgery may be recoverable.

May 16

International Enforcement of Judgments

International Enforcement of Judgments

Coleman Legal Partners has advised clients extensively on the legal principles and methodologies involved in seeking to enforce monetary judgments across a wide range of legal jurisdictions to include the United Kingdom, Europe, and in sub Saharan Africa. The following is a brief summary of the legal principles pertaining to enforcement of judgments in Switzerland.

Switzerland

Enforcement of judgments in Switzerland is governed by the Lugano Convention. Originally when the Lugano Convention was incepted in 1988 there were 12 members of the European Free Trade Association to include Austria, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. Most of those signatories now have full EU membership leaving only Switzerland, Norway and Finland in the European Free Trade Association. The Lugano Convention is essentially the same as the Brussel’s Convention or even slightly looser in that there are certain derogations afforded to the signatories.
Before going into a brief explanation of the enforcement of judgments in Switzerland, there are always two issues that need to be addressed in the first instance:

1. Where exactly is the defendant’s domicile?
2. If there was a conflict, was there an arbitration clause agreed between the parties?

Enforcement of foreign Judgments in Switzerland

If the judgment of the foreign court is final and is applicable under the Lugano Convention, it is enforceable in Switzerland. However, if the judgment is a plenary or a provisional one, it may not be enforceable unless the Lugano Convention is applicable. It should be noted where the defendant may be domiciled in the European Union, the Swiss Private International Law (PAL) may be applicable in those circumstances.

Points to note re enforcement of foreign judgments in Switzerland

Swiss law is not favourable to ex-parte applications. The Swiss courts will only enforce an ex-parte application where the defendant has been properly served. Many lawyers have fallen foul of this rule and indeed this peculiarity of the Swiss courts, where they have gone through lengthy proceedings only to find that the Swiss courts have taken exception to the way in which papers were served in the first instance on the defendant. It is very important that the service of initial papers is done correctly. To be more specific, the Swiss courts look to the Convention on Service of Traditional Documents Abroad dated the 15th of November 1965. Switzerland has also declared their reservation to Lugano Convention so that default Judgments cannot be enforced in Switzerland if the defendant has not been served properly at the beginning of the proceedings, even if the defendant had a chance to appeal the decision.

Needless to say, if the Lugano Convention is applicable, foreign judgment must also be enforced in a state of origin in order to be enforceable in Switzerland.

Money Judgments/awards

Foreign money judgment/awards are enforceable. There are two options available;

1. Separate proceedings governed by the Lugano Convention or the Swiss Private International Act (PILA) to attain a declaration of enforceability of the foreign money judgment.

2. Enforceability can be examined as a preliminary question in the main proceedings.
After the declaration or the judgment in the main proceedings had been granted, the ordinary debt collection proceedings can be initiated with the enforceable decision in hand.

Another option is simply to commence the actual debt enforcement proceedings by requesting the issuing of a repayment summons against the debtor. If the debtor objects to the summons, the creditor with the foreign money judgment can, if it is enforceable, obtain a definitive dismissal of the action. The question of enforceability is then examined as a preliminary question or as a separate application indeed in these setting aside proceedings.

Injunctive proceedings prohibiting the dissipation of assets.

Judgments ordering or prohibiting the doing of an act / injunctions are enforceable in Switzerland

Declaratory Judgments

Declaratory Judgments are not enforceable in Switzerland but can be recognised by the court in certain circumstances.

Foreign enforcement orders/attachment orders/awards

In Swiss law attachment proceedings of a foreign judgment is recognisable and enforceable in Switzerland. Such a judgment can entitle the creditor to attach assets to the debtor in Switzerland.

Exclusions

1. The judgment is affecting a legal relationship. In any judgments regarding the making of a declaration of intention are to be excluded from enforcement in Switzerland.
2. Foreign Ex-Parte decisions in declaratory judgments are not enforceable.
3. If the judgment offends public policy in Switzerland, it is unenforceable.
4. No conflict between domestic or foreign judgments exists (in other words if there is a domestic Swiss judgment against the debtor for the same monies) then the foreign judgment is unenforceable.
5. Limitation periods. Where a limitation period has been triggered, it is not a initially examined by the swiss enforcement court but the defending party can raise an objection in this regard. Furthermore, the statute of limitation runs for 10 years in the case of arbitration in Swiss law.

Interest accrued

In the case of domestic judgments in Switzerland, the rate of courts interest is 5% per annum. However, the rate of interest for a foreign judgment under the Lugano Convention (if the creditor is entitled to interest) is calculated depending upon the foreign judgment and the foreign law governing the judgment at the time

Fees

Fees in Switzerland are governed by federal regulation, specifically on debt enforcement and bankruptcy act (DBA) these fees are generally lower than the fees in the ordinary proceedings.

Documentary requirements

Under the Lugano Convention, a copy of the judgment which satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity and the certificate using the standard form in annex five and the Lugano Convention, has to be produced.
Under arbitration (Swiss Private International Law Act (SPIL)), the following documents must be enclosed with the request for enforcement:
1. A completed certified copy of the decision.
2. A confirmation that no-ordinary traditional remedies are available against the decision or that it is final.
3. In case of a judgment by default, a document evidencing that the defendant’s party was summoned in a due form and early enough to have had the opportunity to defend himself.

Translations

Generally speaking all documents uttered to Swiss courts must be in one of the officially recognised languages either German, French or Italian. However, if documents are in English, translation is not required in most cases as it is assumed that most Swiss judges speak fluent English and therefore it is not necessary.

Oisín McAsey – 2017

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