A settlement of hit and run injury compensation has been approved at the High Court in favour of a woman who was hit by a drunk driver when she was a twenty-one year old student.
Laura Byrne (now 26 years of age) was a veterinary student living in New Ross in County Wexford when – on June 20th 2009 – she was hit by a car driven by Karol Chrzan while talking to friends in the street.
As the car hit Laura, she was thrown into the air and landed on the bonnet of the vehicle, cracking her head against the car windscreen. She was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital and later transferred to Cork for specialist treatment of her injuries.
As a result of the accident Laura had to abandon the veterinary course she was studying at college due to ongoing problems with her balance and attacks of double-vision. She still suffers from her left arm being weaker than her right arm.
Chrzan panicked and drove off from the scene of the accident. He was later arrested by police, when he admitted to drinking six beers and some vodka before getting into his partner´s car, for which he was not insured.
He was charged with injuring Laura in the hit and run accident and sentenced to three years imprisonment for dangerous driving causing serious harm. He was also banned from driving for six years.
Laura made a claim for hit and run injury compensation against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) – the organisation that settles claims against uninsured drivers – and a €1.2 million settlement of Laura´s claim was negotiated to account for her injuries and lost opportunities.
At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of hit and run injury compensation – commenting that it was a very good one in the circumstances, and that although no amount of money could make up for the trauma Laura had suffered, the judge hoped that the extra money would make life better for her.
A woman, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when the car she was travelling was involved in a car crash, has had the settlement of her passenger brain injury claim approved in the High Court.
Rhona Murphy (34) was just twenty years of age when, in February 1999, she was travelling as a front seat passenger in a car which attempted to undertake a slower moving vehicle on the Galway to Headford Road.
Rhona, who comes from Newcastle in County Galway, was lucky to survive the crash after the driver of the car in which she was a passenger lost control of the vehicle and collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction.
As a result of the traumatic brain injury suffered in the car crash, Rhona had to abandon her studies which she hoped would lead to a career in teaching and now has to take heavy medication to help with her memory and balance. She has been cared for since the accident by her father.
Through her father, Rhona made a claim for passenger brain injury compensation against the driver of the car, alleging that the driver had been driving at an excessive speed in a reckless, dangerous or careless manner.
Liability for the passenger brain injury claim was admitted and, at the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an offer of 3 million €uros had been made in settlement of the claim which the family were prepared to accept.
After hearing the circumstances of Rhona´s injury, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement of her passenger brain injury claim, stating that it was a good offer considering there was a doubt that Rhona was wearing a seatbelt at the time and had knowingly entered a vehicle which was being driven by somebody who had consumed a significant amount of alcohol.
A man, who suffered kidney damage after being injured in a hit and run accident, has seen his settlement of cyclist hit by car compensation reduced to reflect his own lack of care.
Christopher O´Brien (33) of Ballymun, County Dublin, had been cycling home from a St Patrick´s Day party in March 2011 on a bicycle borrowed from a neighbour, when he lost control of the vehicle and fell onto the road.
As he was trying to remount the bicycle, Christopher was hit by a passing motorist who failed to stop at the scene. Christopher was taken to the Mater Hospital, where blood was found in his urine due to kidney damage resulting from the impact with the car. Christopher was hospitalised for five days due to his injuries.
CCTV footage was unhelpful in tracing the hit and run driver and, after seeking professional legal advice, Christopher made a claim for cyclist hit by car compensation against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
Christopher admitted that he had been celebrating “enthusiastically” at the party and therefore the compensation claim for a cyclist hit by a car was heard in the Circuit Civil Court to assess the percentage contribution to his injuries Christopher himself was liable for.
At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Matthew Deery accepted that the seriousness of the kidney injury would have been caused by more than a fall from a bike. However, the judge added that “Mr O’Brien, in electing to cycle home at that time of the morning and having consumed so much alcohol had put himself in the way of injury “.
Judge Deery awarded Christopher €20,336 cyclist hit by car compensation but said, because of the situation he had put himself in at the time, he would deduct 30 per cent for contributory negligence – reducing the settlement of compensation to €14,235.
A young girl, who was suffered severe physical and emotional trauma due to a crash in which her sister and best friend died, has been awarded €200,000 compensation for her injuries in the car accident.
Faith Varden-Carberry (12) who now lives in Tuam, County Galway, was just seven years of age when her mother Mary Carberry (36) crashed the car she was driving into a clay embankment outside Edgeworthstown, County Longford, in November 2007.
In the accident, Faith´s sister Ava (6) and her best friend Michaela Logan were both killed, and Faith´s injuries were so bad that she had underwent emergency treatment at the scene before being transferred to Our Lady´s Childrens Hospital in Crumlin – where she remained in a spinal cast for two months.
Faith´s mother – who was banned from driving at the time because of a previous accident – was found to be in excess of the legal alcohol limit, was arrested and sentenced to six years imprisonment for her part in the crash.
Faith went to live with her step-sister in Tuam when she was released from hospital, and made a claim for compensation for injuries in a car accident through her grand-father Anthony Carberry against both her mother and father – Thomas Varden – who was the legal owner of the car.
The claim against Thomas Varden was later dropped, , and – as Mrs Carberry was uninsured herself and banned from driving – the claim for compensation for injuries in a car accident was transferred to the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
At the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Charleton was told that a settlement of compensation for injuries in a car accident had been agreed amounting to €200,000 and that the case was before him for approval of damages only.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton approved the settlement, and also allowed €2,000 to be instantly withdrawn from it in order to allow Faith to have a new computer to assist her with her schoolwork.
The family of Bridget O’Reilly of Ballybeg, Waterford, has been awarded €506,000 in damages at the High Court following her death while a passenger in a car accident with a drunk driver. Mrs O’Reilly was aged 42 when she was killed, leaving behind a husband and nine children, the youngest of which was only 3 years old.
The case was taken by Mrs O’Reilly’s husband, Edward O’Reilly, against the drunken driver of the car, Frank Prendergast of Tallaght, County Dublin, and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland. The car crash happened at Powerstown, County Carlow in July 2002 and Mrs O’Reilly died a few weeks later in hospital.
Mrs O’Reilly’s sister, who has her own large family, has been caring for the children left behind by the tragedy.
It should be noted that Irish law is rather lenient on drunk drivers. In this particular case, the court heard that the drunk driver was travelling at speed when he lost control and crossed over to the wrong side of the road before crashing head-on into an another car. In some legal jurisdictions, such as under the California Vehicle Code, causing bodily injury to another person while drunk driving is a specific criminal offense. Such road traffic accidents are only accidents in the sense that there are not planned, but they are not accidents in the sense that they are unforeseen. Anyone who drinks alcohol and then decides to drive a motor vehicle is clearly putting other people at risk and accidents are predictable.
Twelve Irish organisations have signed the European Road Safety Charter in Dublin today. The European Union statistics for 2008 show that there were 1.3 million road traffic accidents, 39,000 road deaths, and 1.6 million injuries. It is estimated that road traffic injuries cost about 2% of European GDP.
The charter focuses on reducing the number of road traffic accidents in Europe with measures that improve vehicle safety, road infrastructure safety, and driver behaviour.
The twelve new Irish signatories of the European Road Safety Charter are Cavan Area Rural Transport, Community Transport Association of Ireland, Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council, ECO Unesco, Headway Ireland, Irish Medical Organisation, Irish Road Haulage Association, Metroplex Ireland, Shell, The Irish Insurance Federation, Vantastic, and World Rally Team Ireland.