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Man Awarded Injury Compensation for Bin Lorry Accident

A man from County Wicklow, who suffered a severe brain injury when being run over by a Dublin City refuse truck, has been awarded almost €5 million injury compensation for a bin lorry accident.

Padraig Hearns (39) from Hollywood in County Wicklow had been enjoying a night out in Dublin´s Temple Bar area in April 2007, when he was assaulted in Sycamore Street. Dazed and confused, Padraig was lying on the street when he was run over by a bin lorry operated by Dublin City Council.

As a result of the bin lorry accident, Padraig – a former Mr. Ireland who had been working as an air steward for British Airways – suffered a fractured skull and severe injuries to his arm and eye. He remained in hospital recovering from his injuries for several months – the first week spent in an induced coma.

Due to the brain injury sustained in the accident, Padraig now lives at home – being cared for by his parents and siblings. He will never be able to live independently again nor be able to work in any meaningful employment.

On Padraig´s behalf, his parents made a claim for injury compensation for the bin lorry accident against Dublin City Council. The Council denied their liability for Padraig´s injuries on the grounds that it was not the operators of the bin lorry that were to blame for Padraig lying on the floor in front of the refuse truck.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Peart found in Padraig´s favour. The judge noted that Dublin City Council had ignored its own by-laws not to collect commercial waste in the Temple Bar area between 12:00pm and 6:00pm – implemented three months before the accident.

Judge Peart said “It makes complete sense from a public safety point of view that these large refuse trucks would not be permitted to try and negotiate their way through an area such as the narrow and crowded streets of Temple Bar when so many people are present”.

He added that the local authority had a duty of care to have a man outside of the refuse truck when it moved off to ensure that it was safe to do so. In the judge´s opinion, Dublin City Council had breached that duty of care by failing to notice Padraig lying in the street beneath the wheels of the lorry.

Mr Justice Michael Peart awarded Padraig €4,885,888 injury compensation for the bin lorry accident, which included €350,000 for pain and suffering, €266,341 for loss of earnings, €155,230 for care costs to date and €3,485,000 for future care costs. The judge added that he would be awarding legal costs in favour of Padraig as well. The proceedings were adjourned for mention until October 8th.