Family of man who needs full-time care after being crushed by forklift settles actions for €3m

The High Court has approved a €3m settlement over two actions related to an accident in which a man suffered catastrophic injuries when he was crushed by a forklift against a refuse skip at work.

Eugeniu Lazari’s wife, who told the court they had moved here from Moldova with hope for the future, said after the accident, she was left lost, without family or friends here and with two young children.

Mr Lazari, the court heard, has been left brain damaged, requires full-time care and has to live in residential care.

Cristina Lazari told Mr Justice Paul Coffey she fears she may now lose her council home after she settled two actions for a total of €3m over the accident at a premises in Dublin Port.

She pleaded that some of the settlement be used to secure a home for her and her children where her husband can also be cared for at home.

Mr Justice Coffey said it was heartbreaking that the Lazaris had come to this country in 2016 with optimism and hope for the future and three years later “there was this tragic accident which completely altered their lives in a most profound way”.

The judge said while he had a limited function and he had to have regard only for the best interests of Mr Lazari, he had listened very carefully to Ms Lazari and was mindful of her wishes.

He said everything should be done for her and he was in no doubt that Mr Lazari would want that.

The judge said the case can come back before him, if need be, in the future.

Mr Lazari from Naas, Co Kildare, through his wife Cristina, sued his employers Doyle Shipping Group Unlimited Company of Ocean Pier, Alexander Road, Dublin, over the accident there on September 20, 2019.

A mechanical operative, Mr Lazari was cleaning up weeds when it is believed he was crushed by the forklift.

The family counsel Edward Walsh SC told the court Mr Lazari’s accident took place just nine days after the birth of his second child.

Counsel said on the day of the accident, Mr Lazari was clearing weeds from a maintenance yard but it was noticed that he had not turned up for his morning tea break.

When colleagues found him, he was unconscious and crushed up against a refuse skip by a forklift.

Counsel said there was an investigation by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and gardaí.

The HSA investigation found there was no mechanical fault in the forklift truck.

No prosecution was brought in the case by gardaí, who concluded that Mr Lazari got down off the forklift to check the skip and the forklift crushed him.

At issue in the case was whether the handbrake in the forklift was engaged. The company denied negligence and maintained that Mr Lazari was not authorised to operate a forklift and that there was alleged contributory negligence in that Mr Lazari had positioned himself between the skip and the forklift in circumstances which he knew, or ought to have known, were unsafe.

Mr Walsh told the court it was their side’s contention that it was allegedly the practice that the forklift was used to compress refuse in the skip.

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