Family Take Legal Action in Relation Kerry Holiday Tragedy

A potential €700,000 holiday fatal accident injury compensation action has been submitted by the family of a woman who died when her pony and trap smashed onto rocks at the Gap of Dunloe.

The personal injury compensation action is being taken against Kerry County Council in relation to the death, in the accident, of Rosalyn Joy Few and partner, Normand Larose, at a location about two miles from Kate Kearney’s Cottage on Apr 9, 2018.

Legal Counsel for for Ms Few’s daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren first submitted a claim against the council with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in August 2019. However, as this mandatory PIAB process did not produce a satisfactory result the matter will now go to full trial.

The case is due to be heard once normal service resumes after the Covid-19 crisis, which has led to restricted court services. A Kerry County Council spokesperson said: “It is the policy of Kerry County Council not to comment on existing or ongoing legal proceedings.”

Solicitor Adrian Hegarty, on behalf of Ms Few’s family said that his team are planning to issue proceedings as soon as possible due the trauma suffered by the family members as a result of seeing their “mother/grandmother/mother-in-law” killed on the side of a road. The deceased couple was on a family holiday with Ms Few’s daughter, Tonya Tier, son-in-law Bill Walthers and grandchildren Caitlin (15) and Gavin (8) at the time that the accident occurred.

Mr Hegarty said: “I will be issuing proceedings as soon as the courts re-open fully. There are two aspects of the claims — nervous shock and fatal injuries, loss of dependency. There is a claim being brought by the estate for Joy Few, and a claim in respect of the estate of Norman Larose.”

Ms Few (64), of Phoenix, Arizona, and Mr Larose (62) were thrown off the narrow road with the pony and they fell, with the cart, 20 feet down the ravine and crashed into rocks.

Ms Tier and her husband arrived at the scene shortly afterward as they were traveling in another trap behind while the couple’s children were traveling in a trap of their own. The entire family was present as emergency workers rescuers, frantically tried to lift the cart off the stricken couple.

The inquest heard that when pony men, aided by emergency worker Mr Walthers, got to the couple, Ms Few was already dead and Mr Larose was ‘breathing heavily’ at the time. His heart was no longer beating when the card was removed and paramedics administered CPR for about 40 minutes in an attempt to revive him.

Garda collision expert, Sergeant Jim O’Brien, informed the inquest into the accident that he was of the opinion that pony carts, like the one in the accident, should have brakes installed.

He said that: “A barrier would be more effective (than a sign). And brakes on pony traps would be effective.”

The amount of fatal accident compensation that could be paid out is calculated in two parts. FIrstly there is a statutory compensation amount, which is set at approximately €35,000. There is also additional compensation calculated on the basis of “loss of dependency”.

Typically €40,000 to €50,000 for each claimant is awarded in relation to nervous shock claim. However this could go up as high as €100,000. Finally there will be legal expenses on each side to be taken into account and this could be as high as €200,000.