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.