Garda awarded over €390,000 for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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    A Garda Compensation hearing has heard that when former Sergeant Dean Walzer together with his colleague stopped to check out a suspicious car in the early hours of the 5th September 2005 in Kelly’s Lane, an aggressive masked man pointed a gun at the two men and shouted abusive language at them before speeding off. The Gardaí tried to follow the car but lost it after a high speed chase.

    Mr Justice Bernard Barton told Mr Walzer that the experience of seeing a masked gunman point a gun at him in the darkness of a lonely laneway had already cast a long and intrusive shadow over his life. It has heard how the ex-sergeant, three days after the incident, left the garda station following a late night shift. “He closed the door behind him and while standing on the doorstep he was overcome by a feeling of extreme fear and experienced a flashback to the confrontation at gunpoint”, the Judge said.

    Mr Walzer was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder three years later and had to leave the force as he found himself unable to face work or life itself.

    Justice Barton said that “the consequences of this illness have been devastating… completely altering him from the man he was”.

    He was awarded €125,000 for pain and suffering to date and €50,000 for future suffering. Justice Barton added €46,143.36 for special damages and €170,000 for past and future medical expenses and loss of earning, a total compensation of €391,143.36.

    The above case shows how the courts award compensation in cases where the claimant does not suffer a physical injury. It also illustrates how injuries of this nature develop and the years that follow after the incident can be crucial to your diagnosis.

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