Landmark settlement for compensation payments

After a three-year legal battle against the government in relation to personal injuries and loss of amenities, a landmark award of damages was made.

The case concerned a nurse who became ill after handling toxic medicines at the Nicosia General Hospital, where she started working in the Renal Unit in 1992. The first symptoms were noticed in 1997. The nurse was finally diagnosed with the chronic Epstein Barr virus, which has serious effects on the immune system. The virus is caused by unnecessary occupational exposure to Cyclosphosphamide, alternatively known as Endoxana.

 The lawyer for the nurse, Yiannos Georgiades, successfully put forward an argument for negligence, stating that there were good grounds for liability. The nurse had received no training on how to handle the medicine, nor was she given the correct equipment or clothing. Furthermore, she was not informed of the risks and damage that the medicine could inevitably cause if handled incorrectly. The hospital accepted negligence but they were in dispute over the interest that would be paid. A judgment was finally issued for the total amount of approximately CYP140,000.

 The amount of damages paid in Cyprus is notably lower compared to the UK. This case was the largest payment of its kind for personal injuries received and loss of amenities at the time. There is now a notable move towards an increasing level of compensation being paid, although the Cypriot courts still appear reluctant to match the higher levels paid in the UK. Entry into the EuroZone may see this reluctance begin to fade. It is our view that there should be a code for the payment of compensation to ensure some form of uniformity

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