Court asked to decide on house adaptation costs

Aisling Campbell and Robert Barry, parents of Charlotte.

The Supreme Court has been asked to decide how much the National Maternity Hospital must pay towards the €1.16m cost of a specially adapted new home in Sandymount, Dublin, for a girl who suffered catastrophic injuries due to admitted negligence during her birth at the hospital.

The hospital has asked the five judge court to devise a formula to assist the courts in calculating how much a defendant should contribute towards accommodation costs of the catastrophically injured over their lifetime.

The issue was raised in an appeal by the NMH against a High Court finding it should pay €735,000 towards the €1.16m cost of a new adapted house for Charlotte Barry, 11, who is severely disabled with cerebral palsy requiring life-long care.

The hospital argues its liability for the child’s accommodation needs does not exceed €692,446 of which €117,000 should come from some €350,000 damages awarded for loss of earnings into the future. It also argues her parents could contribute some of the €217,000 equity expected from sale of their previous home in Sandymount, valued at €550,000

Denis McCullough, for Charlotte, argued parents are not obliged to contribute equity from their own home towards costs of a new home required for their child due to her injuries even if they will also move into that home.

Having heard from both sides, the court reserved judgment on the appeal.


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