Judge Approves Compensation for School Bus Accident

A woman who sustained significant head injuries when she was ten years of age has heard her settlement of compensation for a school bus accident approved at the High Court.

On January 22nd 2001, Bernadette Nicholson from Milltown in County Galway was seated on the back seat of the school bus home from the Belmont National School in Milltown with several of her friends. On the journey home, the girls decided to stand up on the back seat and sway against the movement of the bus as it rounded corners.

Unfortunately for Bernadette and three of her friends, as the bus pulled away after dropping off another child, the glass in the back window crashed out of its frame and the four schoolchildren fell out of the bus and onto the road – Bernadette being knocked unconscious by the fall and taken to University College Hospital in Galway with severe head injuries. Bernadette was later transferred to the specialist unit at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

An enquiry into the accident discovered that the seal surrounding the window was broken and, in 2002, Bus Éireann was found guilty of being the owner of a vehicle with a defect that was a danger to the public and that could have been discovered through the exercise of ordinary care. The judge in the case – Judge Mary Fahy – disagreed with the bus company that the pressure exerted by the girls would have been enough to force the glass out of the window.

Bernadette – now 24 years of age – made a claim for compensation for the school bus accident against Bus Éireann and, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of the accident and Judge Fahy´s decision in 2002. Stating that Bernadette had made a remarkable recovery from appalling circumstances, the judge approved Bernadette´s €1.78 million settlement of compensation for a school bus accident and closed the case.


Judge Approves Bus Accident Serious Injury Compensation

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.


Claim for a Bus Accident Personal Injury Resolved in Court

A man, who sued Dublin Bus for an eye injury when a branch shattered the glass window of the bus he was travelling in, has had his claim for a bus accident personal injury resolved in court.

Rafal Kowalski (35), of Castleknock, Dublin, made his claim for bus accident injury compensation following the events of July 2011; when a branch shattered the front top deck window of the Nº 37 bus on which he and his wife were travelling, showering both passengers with glass, dust and tree debris.

Rafal´s wife had been taken to hospital by ambulance, but Rafal – who claimed he took what he believed to be a glass crystal from his right eye a few days after the incident – did not seek medical attention immediately despite alleging that he experienced difficulty with far sighted vision, light change when entering a lighted area from darkness and with night vision generally.

Judge Matthew Deery at the Circuit Court was told that Rafal had later attended the Eye and Ear Hospital where his vision was found to be six over five, which was better than normal vision, although it was conceded by Dublin Bus that Rafal had suffered discomfort from dry eye syndrome for several months following the accident.

Awarding Rafal €8,000 compensation in settlement of his claim for a bus accident personal injury, Judge Deery said that expert evidence did not substantiate the initial claims of vision difficulty. Mrs Kowalski´s claim for bus accident injury compensation is being dealt with separately.


Judge Orders CCTV Release in Dublin Bus Injury Claim

A judge in Dublin´s High Court has ruled that Dublin´s bus company has to release CCTV footage to solicitors representing a claimant in a Dublin Bus injury claim.

The judgement was made by Mr Justice John Hedigan following years of stalling by the bus company and decisions made in the claimant´s favour by the Data Protection Commissioner and Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court. The bus company had argued that the information they possessed about the claimant was privileged and, as potential evidence in litigation, they were not prepared to release it.

The Dublin Bus injury claim first started in October 2009, when a female claimant from Dublin alleged that she had sustained an injury aboard a Dublin Bus the previous year. Dublin Bus refused to accept liability for the woman´s injuries and the Injuries Board Ireland declined to assess her application for Dublin Bus injury compensation.

During preparation for court proceedings, the claimant´s solicitor were advised of the existence of CCTV footage taken aboard the bus and were shown a video relating to their client´s claim for Dublin Bus injury compensation at Dublin Bus´s office. A request for a copy of the video was denied and, even after the claimant´s solicitors had complained to the Data Protection Commissioner, Dublin Bus continued to withhold the CCTV footage.

Dublin Bus appealed the Data Protection Commissioner´s decision to release the video and took their case to the Circuit Civil Court. However, in July 2011, Judge Jacqueline Linnane ruled that the bus company should release the video to the solicitors on the grounds that the claimant had every right by law to request access to the CCTV footage in support of her Dublin Bus injury claim and that Dublin Bus had no right to withhold it.

Dublin Bus then chose to delay a resolution to the claim for Dublin Bus injury compensation by appealing Judge Linnane´s decision to the High Court, but Mr Justice John Hedigan found in favour of the claimant, stating that that Dublin Bus had “not raised a point of law giving rise to grounds for overturning Judge Linnane’s decision”.


Injury Compensation for Luas Accident Approved in Court

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.


Bus Injury Woman Awarded Over 120,000 Euros

A woman who suffered a spinal injury after a bus in which she was a passenger drove over a speed ramp too quickly, has been awarded 121,493 Euros in personal injury damages.

Ciara Whelan (23) from Drumcondra, Dublin, was aboard a Dublin Bus being driven through the grounds of the Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown in April 2006, when it hit a speed ramp too quickly and caused Ciara to hit her head severely on the roof of the bus.

After collapsing into a nearby seat, Ciara was unable to catch her breath or speak. Fortunately another passenger witnessed what had happened and alerted the bus driver who stopped the bus. An ambulance was summoned, and Ciara was admitted into the hospital where she was treated for a crush fracture of the L3 lumbar vertebra.

Mr Justice John Quirke at the High Court heard that Ciara remained in hospital for eight days, after which she was required to wear a neck brace for three months. Ciara told the court that she still suffers frequent back pain but it is controlled by anti-inflammatory drugs and ongoing physiotherapy. The court also heard that Dublin Bus had admitted liability for Ciara´s injuries and the case was before Mr Justice John Quirke for assessment of damages only.

Awarding Ciara 121,493 Euros in personal injury compensation, Judge Quirke said that it was established that Ciara had suffered a very serious injury which would cause her continuing pain and restriction of movement in the future.


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.


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.


Whiplash Claim Dismissed Following Misleading Evidence

Mr Justice John Quirke has ruled against a woman claiming €410,000 damages for loss of earnings arising from a whiplash injury claim, finding that it was “highly probably” that she gave misleading evidence regarding her injuries and capacity to work.  Mary Farrell of Finglas South, County Dublin was involved in a car accident with a bus belonging to Dublin Bus on June 14th 2004 at the junction of North Circular Road and Dorset Street.

Dublin Bus provided the court with videos of Ms. Farrell mowing the grass and emptying the grass box over a wall, repeatedly raising her arm in the process despite her injury the nature of her whiplash claims.

Dublin Bus also presented evidence of a comfortable lifestyle, including expensive cars and foreign holidays, that was inconsistent with claims of loss of earnings and future loss of earnings.

Dublin Bus asked Mr Justice Quirke to dismiss the claim under the provision of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 that allows for the dismissal of claims where a judge considers a claimant gave material misleading evidence to increase their compensation claim or in support of a false claim.

Mr. Justice Quirke cited multiple reasons for dismissing the case.

The simply lesson from this case is that while you can work with your solicitor to ensure that you present your case for compensation in the strongest possible manner, you should never exaggerate or even make misleading statements.


Siblings Awarded Compensation for Psychiatric Injuries

Three siblings of a 14-year-old girl, Jennifer Hoban, who died of injuries resulting from being struck by a bus, have accepted an undisclosed settlement from Dublin Bus.

Jennifer Hoban was struck by a bus while crossing Killinarden Way in Tallaght on November 5th, 1997 and died shortly afterward from her injuries.   Her two brothers and sister, who are now adults, suffered prolonged grief following the accident.   A case was taken against Dublin Bus through the children’s father, Thomas Hoban, for compensation damages for psychiatric injury.

Dublin Bus made the settlement without admitting liability.


Dublin Bus Pays 25,000 Euro Compensation to Passenger Injured by Needle Left on Bus Seat

Garreth Quinn of Clondalkin, County Dublin, has been awarded €25,000 in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday for a needle injury sustained on a bus seat. The incident happened in February 2005 when Quinn sat down on the 78A at the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre terminus, sustaining a needle injury to his leg from a syringe.  The bus driver immediately called an ambulance, which brought him to a hospital. Although tests on the syringe did not find any contamination, it was still deemed prudent to undergo blood tests and inoculations.  It took 3 years before it could be guaranteed that Quinn was not infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

The bus accident claim was taken against Dublin Bus.  Judge Joseph Mathews found that visual inspections by Dublin Dub staff were not sufficient and that crevices in seats on buses should be probed for needles and syringes.  The injury compensation award consisted of €15,000 for suffering to date and €10,000 for future suffering.


Family of Pedestrian Killed by Bus Receives 575,000 Euro Compensation

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.


Twelve Irish Organisations Sign European Road Safety Charter

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.