A High Court judge has awarded €134,000 injury compensation for a jogger hit by a van mirror after finding the driver of the van liable for the accident.
Forty-seven year old Donna Woods – a school teacher from Mullingar in County Westmeath – was jogging along the Ballynacarragy to Mullingar road in January 2013, when she was hit by the wing mirror of a van travelling in the opposite direction. Donna sustained a fractured wrist due to the impact of the van mirror and was treated at hospital for other injuries to her hand, elbow, shoulder and jaw.
Donna applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of injury compensation for a jogger, but the driver of the van – Joseph Tyrell – denied that he was totally to blame for Donna´s injuries and refused to give his consent for the assessment to take place. Donna was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court, and the hearing took place earlier this week.
At the hearing, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that, on 22nd January 2013, Donna and her friend were jogging along the road against the oncoming traffic and that a tractor and trailer combination had just passed them on the far side of the road.
The two joggers had seen Tyrell pull over onto the grass verge alongside the road to give the tractor a wide berth, but believed he would return to the carriageway once the tractor had passed and continued running towards the van. However, Tyrell continued to drive along the grass verge – the wing mirror of his van hitting Donna and causing her injuries.
Defending the claim for injury compensation for a jogger, Tyrell alleged that Donna was guilty of contributory negligence because she and her friend had run two abreast against the traffic without wearing high-visibility clothing. The judge dismissed the claim of contributory negligence by noting that Donna had been wearing bright clothing on the morning of the accident.
Acknowledging that Donna had previously been a “very active lady”, and that the injuries she had sustained in the accident had prevented her from competing in physically demanding sporting activities, the judge found in Donna´s favour and awarded her €134,000 injury compensation for a jogger hit by a van mirror.
A hit and run injury claim has been settled during a break in proceedings on the first day of a hearing after an agreement was reached on the division of liability.
Anthony Driver (25) from Enniskerry in County Wicklow made his hit and run injury claim after being run over by an unidentified car at the junction of Sidmonton Avenue and Meath Road in Bray on 2nd November 2012.
Anthony – who was on his way to meet a friend to get a lift home – remembers that the unidentified car pulled over after hitting him, but then drove off again without calling for help or offering assistance.
It was only when Anthony was found lying injured in the street by a Garda that he was taken to hospital where he was treated for a fractured spine, fractured ribs, a lacerated liver and various internal injuries.
Anthony remained in hospital for none days – four of them in intensive care. After his discharge from hospital he experienced difficulty eating for some time and he still suffers from pains in his back.
As the driver of the car that struck Anthony could not be traced, Anthony´s hit and run injury claim was made against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) – the body that are responsible for paying injury compensation when the owner of a vehicle cannot be traced or is uninsured.
The MIBI disputed liability for Anthony´s hit and run injury claim as the Garda who found Anthony had described him as “grossly intoxicated”, and the insurers´ bureau said that Anthony was likely responsible for his injuries due to his own lack of care.
As liability for Anthony´s hit and run injury claim was disputed, the Injuries Board issued Anthony with an authorisation to allow the option of court action. The case went to the High Court last week where it was heard by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns.
At the hearing, Anthony admitted to Judge Kearns that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The MIBI repeated their argument that, because of his condition, Anthony should accept some level of liability for his injuries.
Discussions regarding a negotiated settlement started as the court was adjourned for lunch. On Judge Kearns´ return, he was informed that Anthony had agreed to an undisclosed settlement of his hit and run injury claim after accepting 75% contributory negligence.
A judge at the High Court in Limerick has awarded €177,630 compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car to a man who had a similar accident once before.
On March 5th 2010, Edmund Quinlan (72) of Garryspillane in County Limerick was walking from his home to the local pub for a drink and a game of cards with his friends, when he was hit and knocked down by a car whose driver had failed to see him due to the low sun.
Edmund was taken to hospital with extensive leg fractures and spent ten weeks with his leg placed in balanced suspension. His recovery was especially complicated as he had broken the same leg six years previously and the bone supporting a metal plate that had been inserted was shattered in the accident.
On his discharge from hospital, Edmund sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car. Full liability for Edmund´s injuries was disputed by the driver that hit him, who claimed that Edmund had been drinking prior to the accident and that his intoxicated state contributed to his unsteadiness as he was walking along the road.
With issues over liability, the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for Edmund´s case to be heard in court. However, the day before the hearing was scheduled to get underway at the High Court in Limerick, the allegations of Edmund having been drinking were withdrawn and the case was presented to Mr Justice Paul McDermott for the assessment of damages only.
At the hearing, Judge McDermott heard from Edmund´s surgeon – Dr Thomas Burke – that his patient had made a near-miraculous recovery from his leg injuries, but due to his increasing frailty he now resided in a nursing home. The judge said that Dr Burke should be proud of what he had achieved in his treatment of Edmund, who himself had been very stoical in dealing with the injuries he had sustained.
The judge awarded Edmund €177,630 compensation for a pedestrian hit by a car, which comprised of €115,000 general damages for his injury and suffering, and €62,630 special damages to pay for Edmund´s medical and nursing home costs.
A High Court judge has reduced a settlement of pedestrian injury compensation by 60 percent to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence.
On September 26th 2010, Stacey McCaughey (24) was hit by a car on the Carrickmannon Road in Ballygowan as she was walking home with friends after an evening at the nearby Chestnut Inn. Stacey spent four days in intensive care and received treatment for a frontal lobe contusion, a spinal injury and multiple fractures.
Following the accident, Stacey suffered from headaches, moods swings and memory loss, and – despite not remembering the accident due to the amount of alcohol she had consumed – made a claim for pedestrian injury compensation against the driver of the vehicle that hit her; alleging that he was driving too fast for the road conditions.
The driver of the vehicle – Brian Mullan – disputed the claim; arguing that Stacey and her friends had been drunk and wandering aimlessly across the road. A forensic engineer confirmed that Mullan had probably hit Stacey as he swerved to avoid other members of the party staggering along the road, while the police verified that he had been sober at the time.
At Belfast High Court, Mr Justice O´Hara found in Stacey´s favour, stating that the onus had been on Mullan to drive at a speed suitable for the road conditions in order that he would be able to stop in time to avoid any obstruction on the road ahead. However, he also found Stacey negligent as being a road user who had responsibilities for her own safety.
Judge O´Hara said that Stacey had failed to look after her own safety “by walking in the middle of a dark, unlit road while drunk and incapable of being alert to traffic”. Having assessed Stacey´s claim for pedestrian injury compensation at £110,000, the judge reduced the settlement by 60 percent to £44,000 to account for her contributory negligence.
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 Spanish student´s €9 million settlement of bus accident serious injury compensation has been approved by a judge after a hearing at the High Court.
On 4th February 2009, Carlos Tesch – who was then twelve years of age – was walking along Herbert Road in Bray, County Wicklow, with a group of friends, when he dashed out into the road in order to avoid other youths who had allegedly verbally threatened the young Spaniard and his friends previously.
As Carlos ran into the road, he was hit by a bus coming up from behind him, and Carlos suffered severe head injuries – including a fracture to the base of his skull – which has left him unable to walk or speak and reliant on his parents – Hans and Mar Tesch – for his primary care.
Through his father, Carlos made a claim for bus accident serious injury compensation against Dublin Bus. Dublin Bus denied its responsibility for Carlos´ injuries, stating that the driver had been travelling at 40Km/h in a 50 Km/h zone and that he could not have foreseen a child running out into the road.
An earlier High Court hearing had determined that Dublin Bus should be considered 70 percent liable for Carlos´ injuries because the driver had been distracted by a passenger shortly before the accident, and – after the decision had been upheld by the Supreme Court – the case returned to the High Court for the assessment of damages.
At the High Court, the circumstances of Carlos´ accident with the bus were related to Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who also heard how Hans Tesch had given up his managerial position to care full-time for his son and has twice taken him to China for stem cell treatment.
The judge was also told how Carlos attends the Spanish Institute during school hours and – approving the €9 million settlement of bus accident serious injury compensation – Ms Justice Mary Irvine said she was fully aware of what parents had to give up to maximise the situation for their children in cases of such catastrophic injuries.
Dublin South County Council has been found 100 percent responsible in a road crossing accident claim after a hearing at the High Court in Dublin.
The claim was brought by Linda Dargen Burgess from Tallaght, Dublin, on behalf of her son Brandon who – at the age of thirteen – was hit by a motorist at the junction of the Tallaght Bypass and Killinarden Way while trying to cross the road at a temporary crossing erected by the council.
Brandon suffered a serious head injury in the accident and fractures to his arms and legs, and missed a significant period of his education while he recovered from his injuries. As a consequence of his accident, Brandon has now left school without completing his Leaving Certificate.
Brandon´s mother made a claim for road crossing accident compensation against both the driver of the car – James Mulholland from Dundrum, Dublin – and Dublin South County Council, claiming that the way in which the temporary crossing had been set up made it extremely difficult for pedestrians to access the signal box.
It was further alleged that the placement of a Dublin South County Council vehicle at the crossing had obscured the lights on the central island and it was impossible to see whether the signal crossing man was at green or red. Both James Mulholland and Dublin South County Council disputed liability.
In the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine dismissed the road crossing accident claim against Mr Mulholland, after hearing that he had been driving within the speed limit with a green light ahead of him. Ms Justice Mary Irvine agreed with the defendant that even if he was keeping a proper lookout, he did not have a realistic chance of seeing Brandon before he stepped out in front of the car.
She also dismissed claims of contributory negligence made against Brandon by the council, who had alleged that Brandon had failed to take adequate care for his own safety before stepping out into the road. The judge said that in the circumstances she was satisfied that the positioning of the signal box and blocking of the lights on the central island amounted to negligence by the council and found them 100 percent liable for Brandon´s injuries.
Awarding compensation for a road crossing accident of €826,818, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said that, but for the accident, Brandon would have completed his studies at school and will now have a completely different type of future as a result of his injuries.
A student, who was hit on the head by the wing mirror of a council works vehicle, has been awarded €300,000 in compensation for his pedestrian hit by a truck claim at the High Court.
Ciaran Chestnutt (25) of Greystones, County Wicklow, told Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill at the High Court that he did not remember a great deal about the accident because of the injuries he had sustained, but had been told he was standing at pedestrian traffic lights on Paddy Brown’s Road, Waterford, on October 26, 2007 when he was struck by the mirror of a passing truck.
As a result of his accident, Ciaran suffered brain damage which reduced his memory capacity and caused him to lose his senses of taste and smell. He also suffers a permanent black spot in the vision of his right eye and will have a permanent scar on his forehead as a reminder of the accident. Because of his accident, he also lost a year at college where he was studying architectural technology.
Having sought legal advice, Ciaran made a claim for compensation for a pedestrian hit by a truck. However Waterford City Council – which owned the truck – and its employee who had been driving the truck at the time of the accident, Michael Coyne, denied their liability – claiming that Ciaran was the author of his own misfortune by walking into the truck.
After hearing evidence from witnesses representing both parties, Mr Justice Iarflaith O´Neill said he was satisfied the accident was caused by the negligence of the driver for whom the Council was vicariously liable. Awarding Ciaran €300,000 in compensation for a pedestrian hit by a truck, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill said Ciaran´s injuries have had a huge impact on his life, but he had done extremely well coping with his injury and had got his academic career back on track.
A settlement of injury compensation for a Luas accident which left a Dublin man with traumatic brain injuries has been approved in court almost five years after the accident occurred.
Derek Cross (52) of Clondalkin, Dublin, was crossing the Naas dual carriageway in order to catch a taxi home in the early hours of 15 September 2007, after drinking at the Bluebell United Football Club until 1.30am following a golf outing with friends.
As he crossed the road to reach the Red Cow Hotel taxi stop, Derek was struck by a Luas tram travelling from Kylemore. The impact with the tram left him with multiple rib fractures and a traumatic brain injury which has resulted in Derek only being able to walk with the assistance of crutches and unable to work.
Derek made a claim for Luas accident compensation against the operators of the Luas tram service, the Railway Procurement Agency and Veolia Transport – claiming that they had failed to take reasonable steps to provide appropriate signage and safe passage for pedestrians who were crossing the road lawfully.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court heard that the defendants had denied the claims based on Derek´s significant contribution to his injuries due to his intoxicated state. However, an out-of-court settlement of 650,000 Euros had been negotiated which was before her for approval.
Approving the settlement of compensation for Luas accident, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said that it was an exceptionally good offer under the circumstances of the case, as if the claim for Luas accident compensation had gone to trial there was a risk of losing the case.
In the first case of its kind, an Irish court has settled an overseas accident compensation claim made by a Dublin resident who was injured in a road traffic accident in France.
Peter Kelly (75) of Ranelagh, Dublin, sustained a hip injury when he was knocked over by a council maintenance van while crossing the Traverse de la Tour in Cannes in June 2009. Although Peter did not require immediate surgery for his injury, the condition of his hip deteriorated and he had to undergo a total hip replacement operation in 2011.
After taking legal advice, Peter made an overseas accident compensation claim against French- domiciled insurer Groupama. Groupama accepted liability for his injuries but argued that French law should be applied in assessing how much compensation Peter should receive as compensation levels in France are considerably lower than they are in Ireland.
Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill at the High Court accepted this argument and noted that a “Book of Quantum” exists in France – as in Ireland – to ensure that awards of compensation remain consistent throughout France. However, the judge added that although any figures quoted in the Book of Quantum should be used as a guide, it did not fetter a judge in determining how much should be awarded in an overseas accident compensation claim.
Furthermore the judge pointed out, as Peter had been a very active person prior to his accident, his “loss of amenity” was considerable as he could no longer play tennis or cycle and was restricted in the normal day-to-day activities he could do without assistance. Therefore, in assessing how much compensation for an overseas accident Peter was entitled to, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill applied the methodology under which a French court would make its award but increased the value of the overseas accident compensation claim to Irish levels.
Awarding Peter 63,900 Euros for his pain and suffering at the time of the overseas accident and subsequent loss of amenity, the judge noted that using the French Book of Quantum exclusively, the level of the award would have been 38,506 Euros. As the two parties had already agreed special damages of 24,267 Euros, the full amount of the settlement for Peter´s overseas accident compensation claim amounted to 88,167 Euros.
A woman who was hit by a van while crossing a busy Dublin street has been awarded almost 178,000 Euros in personal injury compensation in the High Court.
Amy McKernan (36) from North Ewington, Oxfordshire, was crossing the road at the junction of Wicklow Street and Clarendon Street on May 7th 2002, when she was struck by a van driven by Yuk Fong from Dublin. The force of the collision knocked her onto the bonnet of the vehicle, before she landed on the road surface – sustaining facial and back injuries.
In her claim against Mr Fong and the owner of the van – Mr Yau Tsali Li – Amy claimed that the van was driven at excessive speed, as she had seen the van pulling away from the Chinese restaurant outside which it had been parked and felt she still had plenty of time to cross the road.
Yuk Fong and Yau Tsali Li denied the claims, and counter-claimed that Amy had contributed to her own injuries by failing to keep a proper lookout. However, as Amy was about to step onto the pavement when the accident happened, Mr. Justice John Quirke at the High Court determined that Amy had established negligence in the driving of the van, whereas the defendants had failed to show that Amy had in any way been responsible for the accident and her injuries.
A man whose life was shattered in a hit and run accident in 2005 has been awarded 2 million Euros compensation by the High Court in Dublin.
Paul Gogarty (35) from Kingscourt, County Cavan, was walking home from a night out with friends, when he was run over by a vehicle which failed to stop. Due to the accident, Paul – formerly a factory worker – sustained severe bilateral traumatic brain injury.
As the vehicle responsible for Paul’s injuries was never traced, a claim for road traffic accident compensation was brought against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) through Paul’s brother, Oliver.
Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns heard in the High Court how Paul’s injuries have left him requiring lifelong care and ongoing treatment for post-traumatic epilepsy. The consequences of the accident have also caused persistent cognitive and behavioural problems.
He also heard that an offer of compensation for 2 million Euros had been made by MIBI, which the family had agreed to accept. Approving the settlement, Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns noted that an application will now be made to make Paul a ward of court.
Slovakian national, Milan Rybansky (34), who was knocked down by a car in Newtonabbey, Belfast, in December 2004, has been awarded £1,250,000 in personal injury compensation at Belfast High Court.
Milan, who was a history teacher in his native Bratislava, had only arrived in Ireland six weeks previously to take up a position as a journalist in Belfast. His accident has left him unable to walk or talk and he is now confined to a wheelchair, requiring 24 hour care.
His parents, who have been forced to give up work and sell their home in order to look after him, brought the court action on Milan´s behalf against the insurers of the car driver, who initially disputed the case on the basis that Milan had been using his mobile phone at the time to send text messages.
An agreement was eventually reached on shared liability for Milan´s injuries, as it was not disputed that the car driver should have seen Milan, that the injuries Milan sustained in the accident were life-changing and that ongoing care cost will be significant.
Milan has now returned to Bratislava, where the cost of his care will be cheaper. The scale of the compensation has now been approved by the High Court after checks were carried out on how the money from the settlement would be managed in Slovakia.
Megan Ledden, now aged 14 years, of Glasnevin, Dublin, has been awarded €20,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court in a case against a minibus owner following an accident where she was struck in the head by a wing mirror.
The accident occurred on a pedestrian crossing on Old Finglas Road in March 2007. Ledden was knocked unconscious as she fell back and hit her head on the ground. Ledden suffered a laceration on the right side of her forehead and bruising on her right knee. The result was permanent faint scarring under the hairline on her forehead, although fortunately it is not visible.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery approved the settlement and also awarded legal costs.
The Road Traffic Bill 2009 that arrives in Seanad Eireann this week after passing unopposed in the Dáil last week will improve road safety in Ireland by reducing road traffic accident deaths while also having an important impact on road traffic accident injury compensation claims. The Road Safety Authority has ample statistics on drunk driving that show that alcohol contributes to one third of all fatal traffic accidents in Ireland. A driver at the current limit of 80 mg of alcohol per 100 mls of blood is six times more likely to have an accident than a sober driver.
Minister Dempsey has pursued his campaign to save lives despite what has been described as ‘huge pressure”. The improved safety measures were, somewhat incredibly, strongly opposed by a group of rural TDs who pointed out that rural pubs are often the centre of social life in rural areas where there is no public transport. The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland opposed the new measures and pointed out that speeding was the biggest single cause of road deaths in Ireland.
The blood alcohol limit for learner and professional drivers, such as taxi drivers, has been reduced to 20 mg of alcohol per 100 mls of blood. The best new feature of the new law is that drivers will now be tested for alcohol in traffic accidents when anyone has been injured.
New Rules will Impact Injury Compensation Process
The circumstances of road traffic accident injury claims will now often be somewhat clearer because the gardai will test drivers for alcohol. Regardless of the circumstances of an accident, a driver found to have consumed alcohol will very likely be held negligent. Drivers under the influence of alcohol are never in full control of their vehicles and even their statements about the circumstances of an accident cannot be fully relied upon. Even the victim of a rear end car accident that is found to have consumed alcohol will be guilty of contributory negligence. If you are ever involved in a road traffic accident, do not hesitate to inform any gardai present of potential injuries so that they will conduct alcohol tests on all parties in the accident. Your solicitor will use evidence of alcohol consumption while negotiating any injury compensation settlement.
More improvements are still required:
There may be a temporary shortage of roadside breathalysers as the new measures are rolled out and some drunk drivers may avoid testing because the new bill states that the mandatory testing must be done within one hour.
The lack of a driving ban for drivers caught with between 50 mg and 100 mg seriously undermines the new measures.
There is still no mandatory requirement for alcohol tests where someone has not been injured. Such a requirement would further help discourage drink driving.
There is still no drug driving testing measures, despite the fact that workplace drug testing is now a standard procedure for many occupations and has been in place for decades in the United States.
The family of Maria Verdida, a nurse aged 52 at the time of her death in October 2003, has received €575,000 following an road traffic accident involving a bus.
The case for wrongful death was taken by the husband of the deceased nurse, Resituto Verdida, who has since moved back to the Philippines, against Dublin Bus and the bus driver. The defendants admitted full liability for the accident and the only question to be decided was the amount of compensation.
The bus driver, Frank Turner of Crumlin, Dublin, was driving at a safe speed but was temporarily blinded by strong sunlight and failed to react in time when the light at a pedestrian crossing changed to amber. Mr Turner admitted fault in the accident and apologised to the family of Mrs Verdida. He was sentenced to a six-month suspended sentence, fined €500, and banned from driving for four years.
The bus was not carrying any passengers – which would surely have resulted in claims for mental stress had they witnessed the very unfortunate accident.