Man injured by tree felled during storm awarded €165,000

John Haskins jnr was an inpatient of Camphill Communities of Ireland at the time

A man who suffered multiple severe injuries when a tree fell on him in stormy weather has settled his High Court action for €165,000.

John Haskins junior was lucky to have survived the incident, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said.

Mr Haskins jnr (37) sustained fractures to the spine, ribs and ankle, and was in hospital for two months afterwards. From Athy, Co Kildare, Mr Haskins, through his father John Haskins snr, sued Camphill Communities of Ireland, owner of a health care facility at Dunshane House, Brannmockstown, Naas, as a result of the incident on February 12th, 2014.

Mr Haskins, who has Aspergers Syndrome, was an inpatient of the CCI facility at the time and was in the garden when the incident occurred.


It was claimed a mature beech tree was allowed to become or remain a danger and a trap to people in the vicinity as it was allegedly diseased.

It was further claimed there was failure to maintain, repair or remove the tree or take measures to make it safe when, it was claimed, the defendant knew or ought to have know it was in a dangerous condition and liable to cause injury to people in the vicinity, particularly Mr Haskins.

It was further alleged there was failure to take any adequate or effective measures to fence off or secure the area or fell the tree.

The claims were denied and it was pleaded the tree was alive and had the outward appearance of a healthy tree. The crown of the tree and most of the lower stem appeared outwardly live and intact, it was pleaded.

The CCI said there was decay in the tree roots which could not have been detected by anyone other than a trained arboriculturist and it did not know, and could not have known, there was decay in the tree roots.

Hugh Mohan SC, for Mr Haskins Jnr, said an expert report for his side had concluded there was a decay fungus in the tree which caused rot to the roots, resulting in the wood becoming degraded and subject to fracture.

An expert for the other side submitted the entire tree and roof plate were overturned and, because of the particular storm at the time, any prudent landowner who inspected the tree a week earlier could not have predicted this type of scenario.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said Mr Haskins suffered significant injuries but had made a fantastic recovery.