High Court Action Settled for €135,000 in Favour of Dead Woman’s Family

The family of a woman who was killed in a hit-and-run accident have settled their legal action for €135,000 with the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) at the High Court.

The court heard today the driver of the car did not stop, absconded and remains untraced since mother of one Caroline Watkins (40) was fatally struck by a car while crossing the road at the Goldenbridge Luas stop on Davitt Road, Drimnagh, Dublin on May 30, 2014.

The legal action claimed that the untraced driver was driving in a dangerous and careless manner and failed to stop, slow down or swerve to reduce the impact of the collision. The claims were denied.

Michael O’ Scanaill SC, with Bonnie Hickey BL represented the Watkins family in court. He told the court that Caroline’s daughter Ella Watkins (16) of Esker Glebe, Lucan, Co Dublin, was only ten years old when her mother died, and was taking the compensation action via her grandmother Ethel Watkins.

The High Court was informed that Caroline’s family were left traumatised due to failure of the driver to remain at the scene and, to this date, remains untraced – CCTV footage of the scene shows Ms Watkins got across half of the carriageway and was moving faster than a walking pace. However, the  pedestrian light was not in her favour and the person accompanying her had not attempted to cross the road. The legal representatives also said that it was of the opinion that the car which struck Ms Watkins was travelling at 55 km /h in a 50 km/h zone.

Previously an inquest into the death of Ms Watkins was told that she had been on her way home to Ballyfermot from a pub. She was with her partner, at about 10.30pm when they decided to walk to Davitt Road to get a taxi. At the Goldenbridge Luas stop, they got to the edge of a pedestrian crossing and waited. However then Ms Watkins walked out onto the road and was struck by the bumper of the car. She then hit the bonnet and windscreen and was thrown forward, landing about thirty feet away on the ground. A postmortem found Ms Watkins died of multiple injuries caused by the impact.

Mr O Scanaill told the High Court that Ella now lives with her aunt and is “an incredible well-rounded individual.”

Approving the €150,000 pedestrian accident compensation settlement in the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he could understand the anger, upset and annoyance of the Watkins family where the driver fled the scene and “did not face the music.”

He added that the driver “showed no courage” and remarked that, from watching the CCTV footage, Ms Watkins seemed to be “in a bit of a hurry” and had to cross the road through traffic coming both ways. The red light was against her and she took a chance, the judge commented.

Due to this he awarded €135,000 to Ella, which represents 40pc of the full value of the compensation claim.