201702.25
0

Judge Awards Woman Compensation for an Injury in a Taxi Accident

A woman, described in court as a talented musician, has been awarded compensation for an injury in a taxi accident that prevents her practising the violin.

On March 8th 2012, the woman – a thirty-three year old musician from Ardnacrusha in County Clare – was a passenger in a taxi when it was rear-ended on Wexford Street in Dublin by another taxi. The woman suffered pain in her neck and right shoulder as a result of the accident and was prescribed painkillers for her injury by her GP when she sought medical attention the following day.

When the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim, the negligent taxi driver accepted liability for causing the accident and her injuries. However, the amount of the assessment was rejected by the woman, who claimed the proposed settlement of compensation for an injury in a taxi accident did not reflect the full consequences of her injury.

The Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the woman to pursue her claim in court and, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard how the pain in her right shoulder prevented the woman from practising her violin several hours a day. He was also told by the defendant´s insurance company that her injury was unrelated to the “insignificant” collision between the two vehicles.

Judge Groarke admitted that the medical evidence in the case was “very conflicting” and that on the balance of probabilities the woman had likely made a full recovery from her injury. However, while concluding that the injuries from the accident were “not particularly serious”, the judge acknowledged that the woman needed a perfect shoulder to practise her violin and as such it was an exceptional case.

Judge Groarke awarded the woman €25,000 compensation for an injury in a taxi accident, stating he accepted the plaintiff´s belief that the discomfort she suffers is related to the March 2012 accident.

201608.20
0

Bicycle Courier Awarded Taxi Accident Injury Compensation

A bicycle courier has been awarded €30,000 taxi accident injury compensation after claims that he contributed to the cause of the accident were dismissed.

In March 2015, Rotimi Omotayo was cycling between carriageways on Custom House Quay, when a taxi driven by Kenneth Griffin pulled out from a line of stationary traffic, knocking Rotimi from his bike.

Fortunately, Rotimi escaped serious injury, but when he applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his injuries, consent to conduct the assessment was denied on the grounds of contributory negligence.

The Injuries Board issued Rotimi with an authorisation to pursue his claim for taxi accident injury compensation in court, and the case was heard recently by Mr Justice Bernard Barton at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barton heard witnesses on behalf of both parties testify how the accident happened – the significant issue being if Rotimi had been in breach of Road Traffic Regulations by cycling in the hatched area.

After hearing that Rotimi was delivering to the river side of the Quay, and had every entitlement to cycle in the outside lane before turning right, Judge Barton found in his favour. The judge said that Rotimi had the right of way and was sufficiently close to Kenneth Griffin to give the taxi driver a duty of care.

Judge Barton dismissed the claim of contributory negligence and assigned full liability to Mr Griffin for pulling out into bicycle courier´s path. However, when it came to assessing damages, Judge Barton said he was not going to rely on the Book of Quantum as it was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.

Instead the judge applied the principals of Tort law to award Rotimi €30,000 taxi accident injury compensation for his general damages. With regard to his claim for special damages, Judge Barton said there was insufficient evidence to justify Rotimi´s alleged loss of earnings due to his injuries. The judge allowed “properly vouched and agreed” special damages – including Rotimi´s legal costs.

201606.24
0

Judge Awards Injury Compensation for a Jogger Hit by Van Mirror

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.

201601.27
0

Settlement of Brain Injury Claim for Compensation Approved in Court

A settlement of a brain injury claim for compensation has been approved in the High Court in favour of a twenty-five year old man from County Longford.

On 27th January 2009, Francis Smith from Edgeworthstown in County Longford was driving along a local road when he had to manoeuvre out of the way of a car heading directly towards him. As Francis took evasive action to avoid a collision with the car, he crashed into the back of a council lorry that was parked ahead of some roadworks.

Francis, who was eighteen years of age at the time and who held full-time employment at a local factory, sustained devastating brain damage in the accident. As a result of his injuries, Francis has cognitive and physical issues. He is no longer able to work or live independently, and is cared for at the family home by his mother, Martina Dempsey.

On Francis´ behalf, Martina made a brain injury claim for compensation against Longford County Council. She alleged in her claim that the council had been negligent by failing to give adequate warning of the roadworks by means of bollards or warning signs, and that there was no flagman in place to warn oncoming traffic of the obstruction in the road.

While requesting a settlement of a brain injury claim for compensation, Martina alleged that the lorry into which Francis had crashed was parked in such a way that it protruded extensively into the road. Due to the proximity of the roadworks to a bend in the road, the lorry, it was claimed, was a danger to other road users.

Longford County Council denied its liability for Francis´ brain injuries. The council counter-claimed that Francis had significantly contributed to the cause of the accident by his own contributory negligence and had been driving too fast into the bend in the road. However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that a €750,000 settlement of the brain injury claim for compensation had been agreed between the two parties.

After noting that the settlement of the brain injury claim for compensation represented 25% of the full value of the claim, Judge Cross approved the settlement. The judge commented in his closing remarks that the settlement was a good one in the circumstances and he wished Francis all the best for the future.

201511.24
2

Claim against Mother for Injuries in a Car Crash Resolved at Court

A teenage girl´s claim against her mother for injuries in a car crash has been resolved at court with the approval of a €1.3 million compensation settlement.

On 26th November 2005, Beth Cullen (then just six years of age) was badly injured in a car crash on the dangerous “Nine Bends” stretch of the N11 near Ballinameesda. As a consequence of the car crash, Beth – from Kilmacanogue in County Wicklow – lost the use of her left eye, became deaf in her left ear and also lost her sense of smell.

On his daughter´s behalf, William Cullen made a compensation claim against her mother – Caroline Barrett – who had been driving the family car when the car crash happened and who was considered responsible for causing the accident.

In the claim against the mother for injuries in a car crash it was alleged that Barrett had failed to steer, stop, swerve or manage the car prior to the accident. It was also alleged that, through her actions, Barrett failed to have any or any adequate regard for the safety of her daughter.

Liability was conceded by Barrett´s insurance company, and a €1.3 million settlement of the claim against the mother for injuries in a car crash was negotiated. As the legal action had been taken on behalf of a minor, the negotiated settlement had to be approved at the High Court to ensure it was in Beth´s best interests.

The approval hearing took place at the beginning of last week before Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross heard about the circumstances of the accident and the injuries that Beth had sustained. After being told that Beth was doing well at school despite her reduced senses of sight and hearing, Judge Cross approved the settlement and wished Beth well for the future.

201511.07
0

Judge Awards Multiple Compensation Settlements for an SUV Accident

A judge at the Limerick Circuit Court has awarded multiple compensation settlements for an SUV accident in which a driver and three passengers were injured.

Mary O´Reilly was driving her husband´s SUV from Charleville in County Cork to Rathkeale on 18th October 2011, when the vehicle was rear-ended by a rental van driver by Rathkeale resident Jeremiah O´Brien. Several days after the accident, Mary and her three female passengers started to experience pain from soft tissue injuries they had sustained in the accident.

The four women claimed injury compensation from the driver of the rental van, the company from which it had been hired – Enterprise Rent a Car – and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). Mary´s husband – William O´Reilly – also claimed compensation for the property damage to his SUV –

Enterprise Rent-a-Car and MIBI contested the claim on the grounds that the circumstances of the accident did not stand up to scrutiny. The defendants alleged that Jeremiah O´Brien and William O´Reilly were known to each other, and that when the Gardai attended the scene of the accident, no property damage was recorded.

As consent for the Injuries Board to assess the compensation settlements for an SUV accident was denied, the case went to Limerick Circuit Court, where it was heard by Judge Karen Fergus. Judge Fergus was told that, although William O´Reilly´s parents had lived near Jeremiah O´Brien´s parents, the two men had only met once before.

Judge Fergus also heard about the various injuries that had been sustained by Mary and her passengers, and that one of the passengers – Lisa O´Reilly had already settled her claim out of court. The judge awarded multiple compensation settlements for an SUV accident to Mary O´Reilly (€7,500), Caitriona McDonagh (€10,000) and Breda McCarthy (€12,000). William O´Reilly was also awarded €4,800 for the property damage to his SUV.

201509.26
2

Compensation Awards made by the High Court under Attack

A representative of the motor insurance industry has claimed that judges need educating about who pays for compensation awards made by the High Court.

The attack on compensation awards made by the High Court was made by Conor Faughan from AA Ireland, who was responding to the news that the average value of High Court personal injury settlements had increased from €227,000 in 2013 to €304,000 last year.

Mr Faughan said there was a need for judges to be educated so that they would understand that compensation awards made by the High Court are paid for by the country´s two million drivers. Although not strictly true (few road traffic accident claims are resolved in the High Court), Mr Faughan pointed out that the average value of assessments conducted by the Injuries Board had remained steady during the same period at around €22,600.

It has also been suggested that the increase in the average value of compensation awards made by the High Court could be due to changes made under the Courts and Civil Law Act 2013, which saw the minimum potential compensation level at which cases would be heard by the High Court from €38,092 to €60,000. Some observers believe that High Court judges are awarding a minimum compensation settlement of €60,000 when – prior to the increase – they would have awarded less.

Dorothea Dowling – founding chairperson of the Injuries Board, and the chair of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board – believes that plaintiffs are shunning Injuries Board assessments for higher compensation awards made by the High Court. Ms Dowling told the Independent: “The Department of Justice was forewarned well in advance. This is what happens when you increase the limits of the lower courts – it sends out the message that €38,000 is small money.”

Whereas Ms Dowling has a point, it is not a point that everybody shares. Earlier this year (In McGarry v McGarry) Mr Justice Bernard Barton criticised the government for not updating the injury compensation values published in the Book of Quantum since 2004. During the case, Judge Barton acknowledged that for all practical purposes the Book of Quantum was being ignored by the courts because it was so out of date and commented “it is unquestionably in the interests of the proper administration of justice that the Book be reviewed and be kept updated to properly reflect [compensation awards made by the High Court]”.

201402.13
0

Car Crash Passenger Injury Compensation Approved in Court

A settlement of car crash passenger injury compensation, with a value of €10 million, has been approved by a High Court judge after a hearing in Dublin.

Lydia Branley (28) from Kinlough in Country Leitrim sustained devastating injuries in September 2010, when a car she was travelling in as a passenger left the N4 slip road  at Ballisodare at a speed of 150km/hour, crashed through two road barriers, hit a pole and ended upside down in a stream.

The driver – Martin Kearney from Balinoo in County Mayo – and a second male passenger were thrown clear from the vehicle as it crashed; but Lydia – who had been wearing a seatbelt – had to be cut from the wreckage of the BMW Coupe and was taken unconscious to Sligo General Hospital.

Lydia was later transferred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where she remained in a coma for nine months. When she came out of the coma, Lydia discovered that she had lost the use of her arms and legs and the ability to communicate by speech.

Kearney – who had just got his license back after a previous five-year driving ban – was convicted for dangerous driving causing serious harm, and in June 2012 given a six-year jail sentence and banned from driving for twenty years.

Through her father, Lydia made a car crash passenger injury compensation claim against Martin Kearney and his father Michael Kearney in his capacity as owner of the car. Liability was accepted and a negotiated compensation settlement of €10 million was agreed.

Because of Lydia´s condition, the settlement of car crash passenger injury compensation had to be approved by a judge and, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told the circumstances of Lydia´s injuries and how Lydia will require full-time care for the rest of her life.

Describing the €10 million compensation settlement as “excellent” as she approved it, the judge said “It does not give back Lydia her life. Nothing will, but it will provide her with the best care and hopefully bring back a degree of normality.”

201307.08
0

Settlement of Passenger Brain Injury Claim Approved in Court

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.

201305.27
0

Sisters Receive Compensation for Injuries in a Fatal Car Accident

Two sisters have had settlements of compensation for injuries in a fatal car accident approved in court following their mother´s tragic death while the family were travelling to attend a family wedding.

Meabh and Aislinn Reid from Malahide in County Dublin were aged nine and four respectively when their mother – Marian – suffered fatal injuries in a car accident as the family were travelling to attend the wedding of Marian´s brother in Killaloe, County Clare.

The accident in June 2004 was caused by the girls´ father – Derek – driving into a stationary truck on the Nenagh bypass in County Tipperary. Marian – who was a primary school teacher – died from the injuries she sustained in the accident, while Meabh suffered soft tissue bruising and Aislinn´s leg was broken.

The two girls made a claim for injuries in a fatal car accident against their father and, at the High Court in Dublin the two settlements of compensation for injuries in a fatal car accident were approved – Meabh receiving €75,000 and Aislinn €155,000.

201305.13
0

Compensation for a Back Seat Passenger Awarded in Court

A boy, who suffered severe physical and psychological injuries when a car he was travelling in was hit an uninsured driver, has been awarded injury compensation for a back seat passenger at the High Court.

Ben Conroy – a member of the senior Laois GAA hurling panel – was seated in the rear seat of a car which was struck from behind by another car attempting an overtaking manoeuvre on the Rushin Road in Mountrath, County Laois, on March 15th 2009.

As Ben was only 14 years of age at the time of the accident, he made a claim for back seat passenger injury compensation through his father, Ben Conroy Snr, against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), as both the driver of the car which struck him and its owner were uninsured.

 Liability for Ben´s injuries was accepted by the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland, but the claim for injury compensation for a back seat passenger had to go to the High Court for the assessment of damages. After hearing evidence in relation to the nature of his injuries, Ben was awarded €20,600 by the court.

201303.13
0

Settlement of Quadriplegic Injuries Compensation Approved

A man left with quadriplegic injuries and with severe brain damage following a road traffic accident has had a €6.5 million settlement of quadriplegic injuries compensation approved in the High Court.

Alan Kavanagh (41) from New Ross, County Wexford, sustained his injuries when he and his daughter were involved in a head-on collision with a van errantly driven by Liam Toohey of Nenagh, County Tipperary in November 2004.

Having suffered multiple fractures and brain damage which left him in a quadriplegic condition, Alan is totally dependent on others for nursing care, is unable to feed himself and is confined to a wheelchair. Fortunately, the only injury suffered by Alan´s daughter in the accident was a broken finger.

At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Alan had made a claim for quadriplegic injuries compensation through his brother against Toohey and the owner of the van involved in the accident – John Heffernan, a haulage contractor, also of Nenagh, County Tipperary. Liability for Alan´s injuries had been accepted and the case was before the judge for assessment of damages only.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that Alan was currently living in a nursing home for the elderly which was not suitable for his needs; however a settlement of €6.5 million had been proposed which would provide financial security for the rest of Alan´s life and enable him to have the level of care he required.

After hearing evidence from Alan´s partner and mother of his daughter – Loretto Power – that the family was happy with the settlement of quadriplegic injuries compensation, Ms Justice Mary Irvine gave the settlement her approval – saying that it was an excellent settlement which gave Alan the best chance of meeting his future needs.

201212.24
0

Court Approves Compensation for Child Passenger in Car Crash

A young girl, who suffered spinal injuries in a traffic accident which left her paralysed from the waist down, has had a settlement of compensation for a child passenger in a car crash approved at the High Court.

Britney Arendse (now 12) of Kells, County Meath, was returning from a day out on Bettystown Beach in June 2009 with her mother -Bridgitte – her mother´s friend and the friend´s two daughters, when a car being driven on the wrong side of the road collided with them.

Bridgitte Arendse – who was driving – and her four passengers had to be cut from the wreckage of the vehicle and were rushed to hospital, where Britney remained in a coma for three weeks before being transferred to Temple Street Children’s Hospital and then to the National Rehabilitation Unit in Dun Laoghaire.

After it was confirmed by doctors that Britney will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, Bridgitte Arendse made a claim for compensation for a child passenger in a car crash against the driver of the vehicle – Sean McKenna – and the owner of the vehicle – Patricia McKenna – both of Duleek, County Meath.

Liability was acknowledged for Britney´s injuries and a settlement of compensation for child passenger in car crash was agreed amounting to €3.9 million. As with all compensation settlements involving children, the settlement had first to be approved by a judge and, after hearing the circumstances of the accident and the injuries sustained by Britney, Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement at the High Court.

201207.16
0

Tricycle Injury Compensation Approved at High Court

A child, who sustained head and leg injuries when he was thrown from his tricycle following a collision with a car, is to receive 100,000 Euros in tricycle injury compensation after the settlement of his claim was approved in the High Court.

Bartosz Zakrzewski from Birr, County Offaly, was just nine years of age when the accident occurred in July 2010. As he was cycling along An Coran Street in Birr, his tricycle was in collision with a car driven by Caitríona Kelly – also a resident of Birr, County Offaly. Bartosz´s tricycle was hit with such force that the boy was thrown several metres along the ground – suffering head injuries, curs and lacerations to his body as he fell and sustaining a broken leg.

Bartosz made a claim for tricycle injury compensation through his mother – Monika – claiming that Ms Kelly had been driving without due care and attention and in breach of her duty of care. Ms Kelly denied the allegations and – because of the potential value of damages that could be awarded in this case – the claim was scheduled to be heard at Dublin´s High Court.

However, shortly before proceedings at the High Court were due to begin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an agreement had been reached to settle Bartosz´s claim for tricycle injury compensation in the amount of 100,000 Euros without an admission of liability from Ms Kelly. The judge approved the settlement of Bartosz´s tricycle injury claim, commenting that she had sympathy for both Bartosz´s family and Ms Kelly.

201206.18
0

Insurers to pay Aggravated Damages for Whiplash Claim

An insurance company has been ordered to pay aggravated damages in a whiplash claim for compensation after failing to pursue allegations of collusion against the claimant.

Mr Justice Matthew Deery made the order against the AXA insurance company after it had accused the injured victim of a rear-end accident – James O’Sullivan, of Clane, County Kildare – of colluding with a defence witness in order to support his compensation claim for a whiplash injury.

The judge heard how the negligent driver in the case – Gary Reilly, of Ballyfermot, County Dublin – had sworn an affidavit concerning the events of September 27, 2008, when Reilly´s taxi rear-ended O´Sullivan vehicle in Eirhouse in County Dublin.

However Mr Justice Matthew Deery said that the allegation had not been pursued at the hearing and directed that AXA and Reilly pay aggravated damages of 3,000 Euros to O´Sullivan for the manner in which they had defended the whiplash injuries claim in addition to the award of 7,750 Euros for whiplash injury.

201203.09
1

Injuries Board Assessments Increase in 2011

The annual report from the Injuries Board Ireland has revealed a 12 per cent increase in the value of Injuries Board assessments from 186 million Euros in 2010 to 210 million Euros in 2011.

The statistics are only for personal injury claims that have been assessed through the Injuries Board, and does not include claims that were a settlement was negotiated, or where an award was made in the High Court, or medical negligence claims.

The report from the Injuries Board Ireland does not state how many of their assessments were accepted in 2011 – the average over the past four years has been under 60 per cent – but revealed that only 35 per cent (9,834) of the claims received (27,669) were actually assessed. The vast majority of injury claims in Ireland being resolved by negotiation between the claimant’s solicitors and the insurance companies before Injuries Board assessments were made or declined for assessment.

Road traffic accident claims were once again the primary reason for Injury Board assessments in 2011, accounting for 76.5 per cent of the requests for assessment. As mentioned above, the proportion of claims for injuries at work fell from 11 per cent to 8.4 per cent, while the remainder of the claims received for Injuries Board assessments were comprised of public liability claims (15.1 per cent) for injuries sustained in places of public access (supermarket injury claims, footpath injury claims, school injury claims, etc.).

The Injuries Board Ireland does not assess claims for compensation concerning medical negligence or where full liability is not admitted.

201112.06
0

Car Accident Injury Claim Resolved for 6 Year Old Boy

A young boy, who was knocked down by a van as he played near his home, has had a car accident injury claim settlement of 17,500 Euros approved in the Circuit Civil Court.

Warren Lavelle (6) of Tallaght, Dublin, was hit by the van on July 13 2008, when he was only three years of age. He suffered head injuries as a result of the accident and has been left with a permanent scar on his head.

The driver of the van – John Connors, also of Tallaght, Dublin – admitted liability for the accident and, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard that the case was before her to approve the agreed settlement.

After noting that the scar was still visible, Judge Linnane approved the car accident injury claim settlement of 17,500 Euros.

201112.01
0

Drug Driving Impairment Testing Starting in 2012

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has announced that Road Traffic No 3 Bill will include a section that will allow Gardaí to conduct roadside drug driving impairment tests.

The Road Safety Authority has run several campaigns to increase the public awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs. Driving under the influence of drugs, both illegal or prescription, is already an offense. However, additional legislation is required to give Gardaí the right to require drivers to perform standardised impairment tests.

Gardaí are already being trained in the new roadside procedures by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS). Drivers who fail the impairment tests will be arrested and brought to a Garda station.  Drivers under the influence of drugs suffer a variety of side effects, including slower reaction times, poor concentration, fatigue, confusion, distorted perception, over confidence, poor coordination, erratic behavior, nausea, hallucinations, blurred vision, aggression, panic attacks, paranoia, dizziness, and tremors. Gardaí have been trained to recognize the symptoms.

Regardless of the physical circumstances of a road traffic accident, liability for the accident will be clearly attributed to a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you have been in an accident and you suspect that the third party is under the influence of drugs, you should immediately call the Gardai and ask them to test the other driver.

201107.01
0

Brain Damaged Student Awarded 7 Million Euros Compensation

A twenty six year old woman, who was left irreparably brain damaged after her car was involved in a collision with a truck, has had a 7 million Euro compensation package approved in the High Court.

Valerie Bourke of Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, had just turned 21 in May 2006, when the red Nissan Micra she was driving on the road between Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford was struck by a truck driven by Patrick Holden of Carigee, County Waterford.

Valerie was taken to the Waterford Regional Hospital suffering from catastrophic brain damage. She remained there until the following April, during which time she was unable to communicate, required twenty four hour care and was fed via a tube.

Valerie was then transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire and six months later moved to a neuro-rehabilitation centre in England for further assessment of her needs. It was not until December 2008 – two and a half years after the accident – that she was able to return home.

Valerie´s parents built a special extension to their family home in order to accommodate her special needs but, although Valerie made a little progress with her mobility and cognitive functions, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill at the High Court heard that prospects for Valerie´s future remained limited.

In an action against Patrick Holden and the owner of the truck – Stefan Gilchrist of Piltown, County Kilkenny – it was alleged that their negligent actions were responsible for Valerie´s injuries. Liability was admitted and the case was before Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill for assessment of damages only.

Announcing the settlement package of just over 7 million Euros, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill said that 4 million Euros was to be put aside for Valerie´s future care and that an application was to be made to have Valerie made a ward of court.

201106.27
0

Doctor Awarded Compensation for Horse Collision Injuries

A GP, who sustained serious neck and back injuries after his car was in collision with a stray horse, has been awarded 668,352 Euros in personal injury compensation.

Thomas Breslin (46) from Ballyedmond, County Wexford, was driving along the road outside his home town when the accident happened in January 2007. The horse, which had escaped from a nearby field, collided with his car with such impact that the animal landed on the roof of Dr Breslin´s car – trapping him inside for more than two hours until he was released by emergency services.

Mr Justice Eamon de Valera at the High Court heard that as a result of the accident Dr Breslin had to undergo surgery on his back and have a plate inserted in his neck. He also suffered pschologically as a result of the accident and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. The court also heard that Dr. Breslin will only be able to work part-time due to his injuries and may even have to retire from his practise.

The negligent party in the action was named as Richard Johnston of Gorey, County Wexford, who admitted liability for not securing the horse´s paddock and the case was before Mr Justice Eamon de Valera for assessment of damages only.

Announcing the award of 668,352 Euros, the judge said that it was clear that Dr Breslin would continue to suffer physically and mentally as a result of the incident.

201105.26
0

91,000 Euros Compensation for Crash Injury and Post Traumatic Stress

A man who was trapped in the wreck of his car after a violent motorway collision has been awarded 91,000 Euros for the pain and suffering and post traumatic stress he suffered.
Mr James Killeen (55) of Artane, County Dublin, was sat in stationary traffic on the approach to the M50 near Dublin, when his jeep was struck from behind at speed by a car driven by Mr Hongbo Guo of Castleknock, County Dublin, in November 2007.
Mr Justice John Quirke at the High Court heard how Mr Killeen and his son, Jack, were trapped in the damaged jeep for 90 minutes while firemen attempted to cut them free. During this time, the court heard, Mr Killeen became hysterical due to the presence of petrol fumes and his fear for his son´s safety.
Once cut free from the vehicle, Mr Killeen was transported to hospital in an ambulance which had to stop on four occasions to allow Mr Killeen to vomit – such was his distress at the incident. On admission to Blanchardstown Hospital, Mr Killeen was found to have sustained a soft tissue injury in his lower back, which left him with daily pain, discomfort and lack of movement
Mr Killeen´s physical condition was complicated by the fact that he had been involved in seven previous road traffic accidents between 1986 and 2009, in the course of which he had suffered multiple injuries including a fractured hip. The psychological trauma of the accident in 2007had resulted in an emergency admission to St Ita´s Hospital in 2008 as the result of attempted self harm.
The court heard from a consultant psychiatrist that Mr Killeen had suffered from severe depression and anxiety arising from the accident and had needed intensive psychiatric treatment to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the aftermath of the road traffic accident.
Mr Justice John Quirke stated that Mr Guo had accepted liability for Mr Killeen´s injuries and that the case was before him for assessment of damages only. In making the award of 91,000 Euros, the judge commented that the whole incident had been horrific for Mr Killeen, and had resulted in significant consequences for him.

201104.09
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Family Awarded 100,000 Euros after Tragic Road Accident

The family of a mother and child, who were both tragically killed in a road traffic accident which occurred in 2006, have been awarded more than 100,000 Euros in a joint compensation agreement. Both Yvonne Mahoney (24) and her daughter, Bobbi-Ann (2), were killed when a car driven by Yvonne’s partner John Maloney (33) was struck by another car as it exited the crossroads junction at Lodge Cross, County Galway on July 9 2006. Mr Maloney also died in the accident.
In an action brought by Yvonne´s widowed mother, Mary (56) of Loughrea, County Galway, it was alleged that Galway County Council had failed to maintain clear vision at the junction by not cutting down, pruning or trimming the trees and hedges on the side of the road. It was also claimed that they had failed to erect yield or stop signs.
Mrs Mahoney also sued the estate of John Maloney, claiming that Mr. Maloney had been negligent on the day of the accident by way of his driving. It was claimed that the deceased driver had caused Mrs Maloney and her eight other children to suffer mental distress. In the High Court in Galway, Judge Mr. Justice Moriarty heard that the issue of liability had been withdrawn, and awarded Mrs Mahoney and the family of Yvonne and Bobbi-Ann a compensation settlement of 100,439 Euros plus costs.

201103.22
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Award Approved for Traumatised Teenager

A teenage girl, who suffered psychological injuries after her mother was knocked unconscious in a car collision, has had a compensation award of 21,000 Euros approved in the Circuit Court.
Charmaine Fitzgerald (14) of Clondalkin, County Dublin, was just 10 years of age when she and her mother were violently rear-ended while sitting in the family car close to Charmaine’s school. The force of the impact was so great that Charmaine’s mother, Lisa, was thrown from the car and lost consciousness.
In the Circuit Court, Mr. Justice Matthew Deery heard that Charmaine – who was just 10 years old at the time of the accident in March 2007 – had feared her mother had died, and was psychologically traumatized by the event – suffering headaches and nightmares for a prolonged period after the accident.
In the action brought through her mother, the court also heard that Charmaine’s condition deteriorated so much that she visualised the crash each time she was driven close to the scene, and had to change schools as a result.
Judge Mr. Matthew Deery approved the settlement offer of 21,000 Euros made by the defendant – Paul Mullins of Palmerstown, Dublin.

201101.01
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Roadside Drug Driving Testing Coming to Ireland Soon

Gardai are currently being trained to recognize drivers that are possibly under the influence of drugs while driving. The Medical Bureau of Road Safety is training gardai drug-drive recognition techniques so that the officers will be about to “form an opinion” that drivers are under the influence of drugs if they have tested negatively for alcohol. Drivers that fail the impairment tests can be arrested and brought to the local garda station for blood or urine tests. Gardai now have authority to perform roadside drug testing under the provisions of the road Safety Act 2010. The blood or urine test will be performed by a qualified medical professional and the tested in a certified laboratory. Positive test results will be used to obtain a conviction in court. Refusal to submit to testing by the Gardai can result in fines of up to €5,000 or six months in prison.

Drug driving has received much less attention than drunk driving in Ireland, despite the fact that Road Safety Authority statistics show that one in five passengers have been in a car driven by a person under the influence of drugs. The new procedures can be expected to dramatically increase the number of drug driving convictions from the current level of 700 convictions per year.

If you have been in a road traffic accident and suspect that the other driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should inform the gardai immediately. The new procedures make it considerably more likely that the gardai will detect drug driving. Regardless of the circumstances of a road traffic accident, drivers is under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not only likely to be held fully responsible to the accident, and they are also going to be charged with drunk or drug driving and possibly dangerous driving.

201012.07
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Road Safety Authority Issues Freezing Fog Winter Warning

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has issued motorists with a winter warning about inclement driving conditions caused by freezing fog and black ice. In a press release published on their web site, they highlight the risks of driving in such conditions, especially as visibility is reduced and a collision involving one vehicle can quickly deteriorate into a multiple vehicle pile-up.
Drivers at the greatest risk are those driving on motorways and dual carriageways which have higher speed limits. Mr. Noel Brett, CEO of the Road Safety Authority commented “Dense fog reduces visibility greatly and makes driving very dangerous. However, freezing fog, when liquid fog droplets freeze to surfaces, can make it difficult to keep the windscreen surface clear. Combined with icy road surfaces – it’s a driver’s worst nightmare.”
Mr. Brett also added the following words of advice -“Reduce your speed and keep your distance from the vehicle in front. You should always be able to stop in the distance you can see in front of you. If the fog closes in, reduce your speed.”
Among the key safety guidelines contained in the press release, the RSA warned against the dangers of “Target Fixing”. This practice concerns being guided by the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you, which may provide you with a false sense of security. Instead they advise to turn off any distracting noise in the vehicle and open a window slightly in order that you can hear other traffic, especially at junctions and at crossroads.
Drivers who ignore the safety guidelines issued by the HSA may be potentially liable for any accidents resulting from their lack of care when driving in poor weather. If you have the misfortune to be injured in a road traffic accident with a vehicle which was not clearly visible, or whose driver failed to account for poor weather conditions, you should report this fact to your solicitor when making a claim for personal injury compensation.

201011.28
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School Bus Accident Witness Compensated for Stress and Depression

Daryl Noonan, now aged 20 and originally from Navan, County Meath, has settled his High Court case against Bus Éireann for compensation for the post traumatic stress and depression following a school bus accident.

The school bus lost control and overturned on Kenstown Road, near Navan, in May 2005, resulting in the deaths of five schoolgirls. Mr. Noonan suffered minor injuries but heard screams before the crash and witnessed passengers with injuries following the accident. He was close friends with one of the fatal victims.

Mr. Noonan’s suffered nightmares and became anxious while travelling, his schoolwork deteriorated, he became uncommunicative, and family relationships deteriorated.

Mr. Noonan received counseling but eventually moved to Australia.

Bus Éireann admitted liability in the case. The amount of compensation was not revealed.

201010.28
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Child Awarded 20,000 Euro For Bus Wing Mirror Injury

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.

201010.13
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Court Judge Unhappy With 5 Million Euro Settlement for Brain Damaged Car Crash Victim

In the High Court, Mr Justice John Quirke claimed that he was unhappy with the system of compensation settlements when awarding more than 5 million Euros to Caroline Bogue of Belturbet, County Cavan, following an agreement between the claimant and the joint defendants – her cousin Ciaran Bogue and the Motor Insurance Board of Ireland (MIBI).

Stating that the money would be gone within 10 years, he criticised the lack of staged payments for awards of personal injury compensation and commented that the value of the settlement represented just 60% of what the claim was worth. His comments follow the case of Caroline, who suffered severe brain damage when an uninsured car, driven by the defendants brother, crashed into a tree just outside of her home town of Belturbet in May 2003. Despite wearing a seatbelt, Caroline – who was aged just 17 at the time of the accident – was admitted to Cavan Hospital where a CT scan of her brain showed she had suffered major haemorrhaging.
Now 24, Caroline needs assistance for daily living and feeding herself due to the consequences of her accident. She also experiences difficulty sleeping, has poor short-term memory and slow speech. Caroline will need permanent care throughout the rest of her life, and Mr Justice John Quirke is concerned that the settlement is insufficient for her lifetime and that she will become reliant on the State.

As it was alleged by the defence that Caroline knew that the car in which she was travelling was uninsured, Mr Justice John Quirke accepted that there was a risk that the claimant might be awarded less if the case went to a full hearing, and was guided by Caroline´s counsel. However, he commented that he was unhappy that he had to approve “a settlement so utterly speculative and imprecise from Caroline’s point of view”. A new system, which is due to be introduced in about 18 months time, will provide for continual payments over the period of the victim’s life.

201010.12
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Passenger in Car Crash Awarded Over 5 Million Euro in High Court

Caroline Bogue of Belturbet, County Cavan, has obtained a settlement of over €5 million in a High Court settlement after an uninsured car in which she was travelling as a passenger crashed into a tree, resulting in severe injuries. Caroline Bogue suffered brain damage and will require assistance for the rest of her life.
The accident occured on May 1st, 2003, when Caroline Bogue was 17 years old.
The case was taken against the car driver Declan Brogue, the car ower Ciaran Bogue, and the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland. Liability was denied in the case on the grounds that Caroline Bogue was aware that car was not insured and was allegedly taken without the permission of the owner. The settlement was made without admitting liability.
Mr Justice John Quirke said that the case highlighted the need for a new system of staged payments in personal injuries cases.

201009.29
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Gardai Receive Compensation Payments of 12 Million Euro in 2009

Controller and Auditor General has revealed that payments made under the Garda Siochana Compensation Acts for injury compensation claims amounted to 12 million euro in 2009. The highest award to a Garda was €132,000.  Civilians injuried in accidents on Garda premises are entitled to receive compensation under the act and six civilians shared compensation of €48,000. The Controller and Auditor General has also reported that compensation and legal costs of over €3m were paid out in 2009 for accidents involving grada squad cars. The payments were made for 280 cases that resulted from 532 accidents, with payments ranging from €2 to €250,000.  Prisoners and civilians visiting prisons are entitled to compensation. Prison staff injured while on duty received €682,000, with the highest payment being €73,000. Some 83 prisoners received compensation for injuries while an seemingly very high number of civilians – 26 – were hurt while visiting jails and claimed compensation.