Passengers in Car Accidents
Posted: March 10th, 2022
A passenger has been awarded €126,000 at the High Court in relation to injuries she sustained when the bus she was travelling on had to promptly slow down in order to prevent a road traffic collision.
38-year-old Jennifer Quaid from O’Malley Park, Limerick took the legal action against Bus Eireann in relation to the persisting back injury she sustained as a result of the incident that took place on April 19, 2014.
Presiding Judge Justice Emily Egan held that the bus driver was acting with reasonable care when the incident took place and this resulted in a sudden stop to avoid a crash occurring. She said that this was “wholly avoidable” where the driver bore full responsibility. It was held that Bus Éireann acted in breach of its duty and Ms Quaid had bore no responsibility in relation to contributory negligence as she was seated at the time the incident took place.
Ms Justice Egan described the series of events that resulted in the incident occurring as the bus travelled from a minor road and onto Roxboro Road. The available dashcam footage indicated that the bus was moving beyond a stop sign and corresponding line prior to bringing the speed down to 2km/hr at the edge of Roxboro Road. It is clear from the footage that the driver looked in both directions, and the vehicle then sped up to 11km/hr as it approached the centre line of the road in order to turn right.
The Judge said that it was clear, from the dashcam footage, that the driver had not noticed a car approaching in the far lane prior to moving the bus across the centre line. Due to this it was necessary to quickly apply the brakes and allow the car to veer left, avoiding a collision. Additionally Justice Egan remarked how it was noticeable that the reactions of passengers on board the bus “are very subtle” and said that it could be seen that mother-of-two Ms Quaid lifted the lower part of her left arm towards the top of the seat in front of her. However, the camera angle makes it hard to ascertain if Ms Quaid’s torso shifts forward or back when the brakes are applied.
In the legal action, Ms Quaid claimed that she sustained a persisting back injury as a result of the incident where the bus driver braked suddenly to avoid collision. Despited refuting the negligence claims, Bus Éireann accepted heavier than normal braking was applied to stop an accident from occurring. Additionally, the defendant claimed that Ms Quaid could not have sustained an injury due to the event in question.
The judge was informed that Ms Quaid had, prior to the incident, been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and attended her family doctor due to back pain on two previous occasions. It was accepted by the Judge that Ms Quaid was more susceptible to back injury due to her pre-existing degenerative condition. It was agreed by medical experts for both parties that the jolting, regardless of the extent of the force involved, was likely to have resulted in Ms Quaid’s subsequent back issues.
In the aftermath of the incident Ms Quaid attended her family and was referred to an orthopaedic consultant for further investigation. This is when it was discovered that she had spinal disc protrusion and disc bulges. Following a series of attempted treatments, the pain remained and a March 2021 examination found she was still suffering from chronic lower back pain, secondary pain and a radiating ache through her left leg.
The court was happy that there was no effort by Ms McQuaid to exaggerate her level of pain and discomfort. Additionally, Justice Egan was not willing to lay blame on the part of the bus driver for not coming to a complete stop at the stop line where, it was accepted, visibility was impeded.
She added that it may well be acceptable for a driver to instead come to a halt at the mouth of the junction for improved visibility or, in a larger bus, to stop at the road’s centre line to allow traffic coming from the the left to proceed. Despite this she said it “cannot be acceptable” for the bus to move over the white line and into the path of an oncoming vehicle which should have been visible to the driver.
Due to the suffering she sustained in the incident, Ms Justice Egan awarded Ms Quaid general damages of €125,000 together with agreed special damages of €1,550.
Posted: June 11th, 2021
At the High Court a 22-year-old woman has settled her legal action, taken due to he traumatic brain injury she sustained when a car her father was driving her in crashed, for €15m.
The female in question, Monika Kazinska, was aged 12 when the accident occurred two days before Christmas in 2011. She was sitting in the front passenger seat of the car and they had just taken her friend home following a sleepover. In a court case held in 2011 her father, Marcin Rafal Kazinski of River Glen , Cappoquinn, Co Waterford pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm and damage. A breath sample taken following the accident indicated that Mr Kazinski was just over three times above the legal limit. He informed that Court that he had not consumed alcohol on the day of the accident but had drunk heavily the previous evening. The accident took place at 12.30pm on December 23rd, 2011.
Monika Kazinska, River Glen, Cappoquin, County Waterford took the car crash injury compensation action via her mother Marzena Kazinska sued in the High Court her father Marcin Rafal Kazinski of the same address who was the driver of the car in which she was travelling on December 23rd, 2011 near Cappoquin, which crashed into a different vehicle.
After being found guilty of the offences Mr Kazinski received a four-year suspended sentence along with hours community service and a 10-year driving disqualification – this was reduced to three years on appeal.
The court was told by Monika’s legal representatives that she sustained horrific head injuries as a result of the road traffic accident. Counsel said: “This is an extremely sad case. It involved catastrophic injuries to Monika who was travelling as a passenger in a car driven by her father, who is the defendant in the case”.
The car that Moika was travelling in crashed into a truck on the opposite side of the road. The Court was informed that there was a failure to stop, swerve, slow down or in any other way to avoid the incident by using the brakes in sufficient time or with sufficient force. After the accident Momika was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. She spent two weeks in the intensive care unit after being intubated and ventilated and was then moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in July 2012. She is now confined to a wheelchair.
Following the defence team arguing that there was an element of alleged contributory negligence to be considered on the part of the young girl as she was not wearing a seatbelt, the court ruled that there was a duty of care on the father to ensure that his daughter was wearing her seatbelt.
As she was giving her approval to to the €15m road traffic accident compensation settlement, President of the High Court Justice Mary Irvine commented that she hopes that this settlement will provide Monika with the life and dignity she is entitled to.
Posted: April 10th, 2020
A PTSD compensation award of €87,000 has been awarded to a person who arrived at a horrific road traffic accident scene where she viewed the partly decapitated body of a motorist involved in a bus crash.
The woman in question, Lisa Sheehan, now suffers from moderately severe PTSD and had to give up her hairdressing job two years after the accident took place as she felt unable to maintain the position. Mr Justice David Keane awarded her €87,238 compensation in relation her suffering as a result of the incident. The 36-year-old married mother of two, who lives at Banteer in north Cork, took the personal injury compensation case against Bus Éireann and FBD insurance which provided insurance cover for the deceased motorist.
Ms Sheehan informed the presiding judge that she still has nightmares and flashbacks, her condition placed great strain on her relationships and she must attend counselling and medication sessions for the sake of her mental health. She told the court that this suffering was caused due to the negligent operation or control of both the bus and the car. Bus Éireann did not accept the negligence claims while FBD admitted the accident was caused by the negligence of the deceased car driver.
Both defendants informed the judge that they were of the opinion that Ms Sheehan’s psychiatric injuries did not give rise to any cause of action recognised by the law and they did not owe her a duty of care in relation to her suffering.
When the accident took place on January 28, 2017, Ms Sheehan was driving home from work in Cork city, having finished her work shift for the day. As she was nearing Mallow her car struck some debris and she came to a complete halt. She noticed the damaged bus and the severely damaged car which had hit it not far away. When she examined the scene more closely car she discovered “a badly disfigured and partly decapitated body”.
She contacted the emergency services and started to examine the the surrounding area for others who might have been involved in the accident. She eventually located the bus driver whose face was covered in blood.
The judge, referring to the legal arguments that the defendants were making, said that it was his opinion that the law on primary/secondary victims is far from settled in this jurisdiction. He continued, while in his view nothing turned on that division in this case, he was happy that Ms Sheehan was a primary victim as her car had been struck by debris from the road traffic accident.
Posted: January 28th, 2020
At the High Court Justice Kevin Cross awarded €80,000 in car accident compensation to Margaret Keating (63) who sustained injuries in an accident between a taxi and the Luas tram she was travelling on.
The compensation award includes €10,000 for aggravated damages. Justice Cross said he was of the opinion that Ms Keating is an honest witness who did not in any way inflate her complaints.
Ms Keating had initiated the compensation claim against the the taxi driver, alleging that he drove straight through a red traffic light and crashed into the Red Line Luas tram in which she was on board on June 15, 2016. Ms Keating said was sitting at the back of the tram and hit a support bar in the accident. Due to this she experienced injuries to her neck and shoulder.
The accident in question happened at the junction of Steevens Lane approaching Heuston Station.
The judge said that Ms Keating was going to experience ongoing symptoms going forward, even though her injuries were tissue in nature. He went on to say that Ms Keating “has had a nasty time and has had a significant change in her lifestyle”. Additionally, it was alleged that Ms Keating had developed a travel anxiety and now has a fear of travelling on trams and trains.
Mr Mulligan denied that claims of Ms Keating that she had suffered a number of injuries. Justice Cross said he believed Ms Keating to be an honest person in relation to the circumstances of the accident and did not inflate the extent of her symptoms.
The judge said the taxi driver’s legal team had applied to have the case struck out due to the fact that Ms Keating had not included the details of a 2017 accident in documents prepared for the court case and that she had also allegedly did not hand over the GP’s report from the defendants until June 2019.
Mr Justice Cross said the 2017 accident had nothing to do with the injuries that she had suffered, the subject matter of this case, and he said there was no efforts to deceive.
The Judge also ruled that he saw no reason to believe that the medical report from the GP was suppressed to mask the 2017 accident. He said professional misconduct was alleged and it was not proper to allege professional misconduct against a solicitor without any possible basis for that claim to be made.
Ruling that Ms Keating was entitled to be awarded aggravated damages, Mr Justice Cross said she was never asked during testimony with regard to her subsequent injuries dealing with this accident.
Posted: June 29th, 2019
Kieran Brennan, Dublin, has been awarded just under €40,000 car accident compensation at the Circuit Civil Court to a traffic accident that took place on the M50 as he was travelling to his place work on December 21 2015
The Circuit Civil Court was told that Mr Brennan, who has an address at Monastery Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, had brought his vehicle to a halt at the Northwood exit when he was hit from behind by a car owned and driven by Dylan Duffy.
Fiona Pekaar, Barrister for Mr Brennan, told the court that Kieran had experienced shoulder and neck pain following the accident but this had soon improved. Mr Brennan said still experiences constant lower back pain that has prevented him from conducting the same active lifestyle he had previously, including being unable to train for and enter a comparable amount of marathon running and soccer matches as he had before the accident occurred.
Medical evidence was presented in court to show that Brennan had suffered from a pre-accident degenerative condition. However Judge Groarke said that he believed that this condition had not been an issue before the accident happened and he was of the opinion that it had been caused by the M50 incident.
In his ruling, the Judge said that Mr Brennan had been suffering from a bulging disk in his back and although most medical reports had indicated this had not been caused by the accident, he could not disregard the report. He said that it had clearly been one of the results of the accident.
Legal representatives for Mr Duffy referred to the fact that Mr Brennan had taken part in the ‘Hell and Back’ obstacle course in Bray, Co Wicklow in October 2016. Hell and Back is an assault course involving various activities and obstacles to be overcome. However, Judge Groarke said Mr Brennan still trains for and takes part in some marathons and also plays soccer once a week, adding that he did not believe his level of physical activity was at the same level as it had been before the accident took place.
Judge Groarke awarded Mr Brennan car accident compensation of €35,000 and special damages of €4,424.82 against Mr Dylan Duffy.
Posted: April 4th, 2019
Taxi Driver Dolores McMahon (57) has been awarded almost €75,000 road traffic accident compensation at the Circuit Court in relation to two separate accidents where she had different taxis written off.
Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke told the court that Ms McMahon had shown great courage for returning to her occupation after being badly injured in both collisions. In both accident she had seen her taxi damaged beyond repair and she was awarded personal injury compensation in relation to for her suffering, loss of income and compensation for two written off cars.
Legal representative for Ms McMahon, Caitriona O’Reilly, advised the Circuit Civil Court that her client had been inflicted with neck and shoulder injuries in one accident on December 14 2014 and a lower back injury in a subsequent collision that took place on July 14 2016. She went on to say that, in both car collisions the driver of the other car had driven into the path of Ms McMahon’s vehicle. Liability was admitted in both claims.
Unfortunately, Ms McMahon had exacerbated the damage to her neck and shoulders that she had suffered in the first crash just over 18 months earlier.
Justice Roarke was being asked to assess damages.
Ms McMahon initiated the taxi accident compensation action against the other drivers – Mr Arthur Oliver Ryan and Martin Mann – following the accidents that occurred at Old Airport Road, Santry, and Balheary Road, Swords.
In considering the case Judge Groarke commented that, following periods of recovery after each of the incidents, Ms McMahon returned to her taxi driving duties despite having been nervous about it and has took the decision not to drive on the 14th of the due to superstition.
Ms McMahon was awarded an overall sum total of a total of €74,912. This was made up from €46,468 compensation for personal injuries, loss of earnings car replacement and special damages in the first accident and €28,444 combined damages in the second crash.
Judge Groarke commented: “This is a lady who was very genuinely and very badly affected psychologically and has suffered quite extensive physical injuries.”
Posted: January 22nd, 2019
Personal injury claims totalling up to almost €500,000 were lodged on Monday in relation to a car crash involving eight Polish people where two cars crashed on an approach to a roundabout at Lusk, Co Dublin
Judge Raymond Groarke awarded each of the three claimants damages of €10,000 with District Court After hearing their testimonies today. There are five additional compensation claims to be heard in relation to this accident. Each claimant ihas also submitted a car accident compensation claim of €60,000 amounting to an total compensation claim value of €480,000 from a single car accident.
Today’s claimants, Arkadiusz Rokicki (23); Daniel Kutszal (24) and his sister, Majal Kutszal (34), all with addresses in the village of Lusk, were badly injured when they were passengers the car crash that occurred in Lusk. The vehicle in question was being driven by the defendant Dariusz Chudyk. Mr Chudyk has returned to Poland to live. However, he was indemnified through his insurance policy with Axa.
Barrister Paul Gallagher, appearing for the claimants with Robert Anderson of Anderson and Gallagher Solicitors, told the court they had suffered severe injuries when Mr Chudyk’s car collided with the rear of another car as he was driving near a roundabout in Lusk. It was claimed, in the legal action, that each of the claimants had experienced whiplash injuries. Mr Gallagher informed the court that each of his clients had registered pain and stiffness to the neck and in their lower back after the road traffic accident and had been prescribed medication to ease their suffering in the aftermath of the incident.
In approving the award of car accident compensation Judge Groarke said he was happy the accident was a genuine one and that there was no ambiguity remaining in his mind. He said he felt thatit was a genuine accident and the claimants were equally genuine. He said: “There is nothing in that evidence to compel me to accept that these people do know one another or that there is any association between them. I don’t blame the insurance company for adopting a very defensive attitude to this case which had the hallmarks of something that warrants that degree of investigation. Every case of this nature warrants a degree of investigation.”
Posted: April 12th, 2018
A child car accident compensation award of €37,500 settlement for two children injured has been referred to as ‘inadequate’ by their father.
The child car accident compensation award was split into €20,000 for his nine-year-old in relation to a suspected broken arm and €17,500 for his seven-year-old brother in relation to some soft tissue injuries.
The young boys were injured in a car accident which happened on March 26, 2016 and had sued the insured driver of the other vehicle, Dusan Gabor through their father Graham Comiskey
Through the boy’s Barrister John Nolan their father advised Judge Terence O’Sullivan in the Circuit Civil Court that was not satisfied with either road accident compensation settlement.
Mr Nolan remarked: “While the boys have sued through their father, Mr Comiskey, I have to consider the interests of the children and I do not believe they would gain higher awards in a full trial and may even be awarded much less”.
Mr Comiskey compared the settlement to the figures in the Book of Quantum in relation the compensation for injuries like these. He stated that they were at the lower end of suggested damages for these types of injuries.
He also asked if he would be able to appeal should the settlement should the judge approve the child road accident compensation.
Judge O’Sullivan outlined to Mr Comiskey that a separate different judge may award a smaller amount of road accident compensation to his boys. He went on to say that he was satisfied that the compensation settlement fell in the range of €15,000 and €20,000.
Legal representatives for the Comiskey family told Judge O’Sullivan that this had been made clear to Mr Comiskey. However, the boys’ father was still keen to reject accepting the settlement.
Judge O’Sullivan decided o approve both child road accident compensation settlement offers and said that the funds should be paid into court funds on behalf of the children that were injured.
He ended by saying that Mr Comiskey could appeal “any decision of the Circuit Court”.
Posted: February 14th, 2018
Since 2016 there has been a 10% increase in the number of accident compensation claims, accidents involving uninsured or untraceable drivers, that were submitted to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
Insurance sector sources point to the fact that the rising expense of insurance premiums could be a huge factor in the increase in claims registered.
Set up in 1955, the MIBI was put in place to compensate individuals involved in car and road accidents caused the drivers of uninsured and unidentified vehicles. Insurance companies are required to contribute to its operation.
The MIBI awards between €55 million and €60 million in insurance awards on an annual basis with €55,364 per claim being the average figure awarded.
Co Dublin registered 41 per cent of all compensation claims (1,140) handled by the MIBI during 2017.
Across the country, the highest percentage increase was recorded in Leitrim with 70%.
Other increases include:
- Roscommon at 60 per cent
- Carlow at 43 per cent
- Monaghan at 42 per cent.
MIBI figures show that in total, 2,758 compensation claims for accidents involving uninsured drivers or untraceable vehicles was registered throughout 2017, a small increase on the 2,802 claims made during the previous year.
Posted: November 23rd, 2017
Following a car accident that occurred in 2010 a Garda has been awarded €31,000 work accident damages due to injuries he suffered when his Garda squad car was rammed.
Former Limerick hurler Garda Nigel Carey (46), from Croom, Co Limerick, was injured when the Garda squad car he was sitting in was rear ended in October 2010 during a high-speed chase.
Legal Counsel for Mr Carey, Barrister Kevin D’Arcy, said his client had previously been quite a well known athlete, a hurler, at the time of the crash happening in 2010. Mr Carey attended his GP once regarding his neck, shoulder and lower back injuries and was advised to seek physiotherapy therapy.
Garda Carey advised the court that the Garda squad car was “sent flying” due to the force of the crash impact, the vehicle damaged to the extent that it had to be written off in the aftermath of the incident.
Mr Carey’s neck, right shoulder and lower back had been injured in the accident. He said that his shoulder was still restricted but it did not impede his movement to any great extent.
Presiding Judge, Mr Justice Bernard Barton said “the best medical report supporting Garda Carey’s claim for compensation” was given by the chief medical officer from An Garda Síochána who had reviewed Mr Carey’s injuries on behalf of the Minister for Public Expenditure.
Mr Carey did not try to gather up more and more medical reports to exaggerate his injuries. He also returned to work as soon as possible after the incident happened.
For this behaviour, the judge paid tribute to Garda Carey’s dedication during the Workplace Car Accident Compensation hearing as he had only been absent from work for just three days in the aftermath of the incident. He went on to say it was to Garda Carey’s eternal credit that he had not made an issue of his back injury which quickly became better.
Posted: October 8th, 2017
Izy and Amy Saul, two young sisters from Dublin have been awarded €33,000 in car accident damages due to a rear ending incident that saw the family car they were travelling in struck from behind in February 2016.
The two girls, aged seven and five years old, were travelling with their family when a car owned by defendant Tadgh Hartnett, collided with the back of their family car. Izy and Amy, from Rossberry Terrace, Lucan, Dublin were represented in court by Barrister Francis McGagh. Mr McGagh told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the sisters were lucky to avoid serious injuries in the incident.
However, the girls were absent for one day of school following the accident to see their family doctor.
The girls mother, Claire Saul, made an affidavit to the court which said her daughters, who both have their birthdays later in October, now become nervous when travelling in a motor vehicle. Their family doctor said, in the official medical report, that this was a commonly experienced symptom following such a rear end collision.
The barrister, Mr McGagh advised Justice Groarke the Court that the family doctor found that the sisters had suffered minor psychological injuries due to the traffic accident. The official medical report from their family doctor was provided that said the girls’ had been inflicted with “a mild effect on the mental health”. The family doctor concluded that he expected this nervousness to fade over time.
The defendant Mr Hartnett, who was not present in Court, gave an address at AIG Insurance, North Wall, Dublin. The insurance provider made the road traffic compensation settlement offer of €16,500 each to the two girls, and their court expenses, on behalf of Mr Hartnett.
Claire Saul told the Judge that hat she was content with the €33,000 road traffic compensation offered to her daughters.
Posted: August 4th, 2017
A judge at the High Court has upheld seven car hire injury compensation claims relating to an accident in Lifford, County Donegal, in 2011.
On June 28th 2011, the driver of a hired Ford Fiesta failed to slow down as he was approaching a roundabout in Lifford, County Donegal, and hit a Peugeot 406 that was on the roundabout at the time. The driver of the Peugeot and six other men suffered soft tissue injuries. They subsequently made car hire injury compensation claims against the driver of the Ford Fiesta and the company from which it had been hired – Hertz Rent-a-Car.
In 2015, the seven victims of the accident were awarded amounts of €5,050 to €9,550 in settlement of their car hire injury compensation claims by Buncrana Circuit Court. Hertz Rent-a-Car appealed the awards – claiming that the accident had been fabricated and that the plaintiffs making the car hire injury compensation claims had exaggerated their injuries and the effect the injuries had on their quality of life.
The appeal was heard last month by Mr Justice Charles Meenan at the High Court. During the hearing, Judge Meenan was told the driver of the hired Ford Fiesta had been overheard calling the driver of the Peugeot 406 to get the details of his car when he returned the Ford Fiesta to the Hertz Rent-a-Car office in Derry. Due to the friendly nature of the call, the car hire company made further investigations and discovered all the plaintiffs were known to the negligent driver.
The barrister representing the seven plaintiffs told the court the allegations of fraudulently fabricating the accident were outrageous and lacking in support. Judge Meenan said he would reserve his decision until October, but earlier this week dismissed the car hire company´s appeal against the settlement of the car hire injury compensation claims and found in favour of the seven plaintiffs.
Upholding the awards of the Buncrana Circuit Court, Judge Meenan said the overheard telephone conversation was insufficient evidence to prove the accident had been fabricated and that “one would have thought, if the collision was a setup, the information sought in the call would already have been firmly fixed in his mind prior to returning the hire car.”
Posted: June 2nd, 2017
Two claims for whiplash injuries on the M1 have been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court after the negligent party withdrew its defence against the claim.
The claims for whiplash injuries on the M1 were made by a woman and her mother, who had been travelling from Dublin to Newry in a family group on a pre-Christmas shopping expedition in November 2013. As the woman drove along the M1 at a speed on about 80KMph, the sun roof blew off her recently-purchased Toyota, creating a noise described as “like a bomb going off in the car”.
The woman applied the brakes of the car sharply, causing all five adult occupants of the car to suffer whiplash-type injuries. The woman´s mother was the worse injured of the group – suffering a compression fracture of a vertebrae in her lower back as well as soft tissue damage. Two children travelling in the family group escaped injury due to being strapped into child seats.
The five injured occupants of the car made individual claims for whiplash injuries on the M1 against the car showroom from which the Toyota had been purchased – Denis Mahony Limited. The family members alleged in their legal action that the sun roof had been faulty at the time the car was purchased, and the accident in which they were injured was directly related to the faulty sun roof.
Liability for the injuries was denied, and two of the claims for whiplash injuries on the M1 were recently heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told by an independent motor assessor that corrosion surrounding the frame of the sun roof should have been notice in a pre-sale inspection and attended to before the car was sold to the family.
The assessor testified that the advanced state of the corrosion led to the sun roof blowing off and the accident would have been avoided if the fault had been identified and rectified in a timely manner. Following the assessor´s testimony, Denis Mahony Limited withdrew its defence against the claims for whiplash injuries on the M1 – leaving Judge Groarke only to assess the amount of damages.
The judge awarded €25,000 compensation to the woman who suffered the compression fracture, and €12,500 to her daughter, who had not suffered such severe injuries and who had made a full recovery. The three remaining claims for whiplash injuries on the M1 – made by other family members injured in the accident – will now likely be settled out of court.
Posted: May 14th, 2017
A driver and her passenger have been awarded compensation for whiplash-like injuries which they sustained after the sunroof of their car flew off as they were driving along a motorway.
In November 2013, a family were travelling along the M1 at approximately 80 km/h in a four-month-old Toyota. Suddenly, the sun roof of their car blew off, creating a noise which one plaintiff described to be similar to “a bomb going off in the car” The driver, alarmed at the sudden noise, braked sharply, causing all five adult occupants of the car to suffer whiplash-type injuries due to the sudden stop. Fortunately, the two children travelling with them were strapped into child seats and were left unharmed.
After seeking legal counsel, the driver of the car and her 72-year-old mother claimed compensation for car accident injuries against Denis Mahony Limited of Kilbarrack Road in Dublin, where they had recently purchased the vehicle. They claimed in their legal action that their injuries were directly attributable to a fault with the sun roof that should have been identified in a pre-sale inspection.
The initial denied liability, stating that the sun roof was not faulty at the time of purchase. They contested the claims for compensation for car accident injuries. Due to the dispute in liability, the case was brought to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. An independent car assessor was brought as a witness to assess the condition of the car. They stated that they found extensive corrosion of the remaining frame of the sun roof and testified the corrosion had made the car unsafe to drive and should have been identified before it was sold to the driver.
Judge Groarke also heard that the five adult occupants and two children in the car had been travelling to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition at the time of the accident. The driver had subsequently pulled in to an AppleGreen filling station and stuck a plastic sack over the hole in the roof, but the shopping trip had to be abandoned due to their injuries and shock.
The judge said he accepted the sun roof flying off would have been a terrifying experience, and added that he understood why the driver had applied the brakes so sharply. He found in favour of the plaintiffs and awarded the driver of the car €12,500 and her mother, who had suffered more severe injuries, €25,000 compensation for car accident injuries.
Posted: March 16th, 2017
A “talented” musician has been awarded €25,000 in compensation for a shoulder injury she sustained in a road accident in Dublin.
On Wexford Street in Dublin in March 2012, one taxi rear-ended another. The passenger in the front taxi-a thirty-three year old musician from Ardnacrusha in County Clare-suffered pain in her neck and right shoulder as a result of the accident. The was diagnosed with soft tissue damage, and prescribed painkillers for her injury by her GP when she sought medical attention the day following the incident.
The woman sought legal advice for pursing a claim for compensation for her injuries. Following the advice her solicitor, the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim, The negligent taxi driver accepted liability for causing the accident and her injuries. However, the amount of the assessment of compensation for her injuries was rejected by the woman, who happened to be a musician. She claimed the proposed settlement of compensation for an injury in a taxi accident did not reflect the full consequences of her injury, as it affected her ability to play violin.
The case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, after the Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the woman to pursue her claim in court. Mr Justice Raymond Groarke presided over the case. He heard how the pain in her right shoulder prevented the woman from practising her violin several hours a day. In contest to this, the judge was also told by the defendant´s insurance company that her injury was unrelated to the “insignificant” collision between the two vehicles.
The judge stated that the medical evidence in the case was “very conflicting”. The judge did conclude that the injuries from the accident were “not particularly serious”, and that the woman was likely to make a full recover. In spite of this, the judge acknowledged that the woman needed a perfect shoulder to practise her violin and as such it was an exceptional case, as she had been described as a “talented musician” in court.
Judge Groarke finally awarded the woman €25,000 compensation for an injury in a taxi accident, stating he accepted the plaintiff´s belief that the discomfort she suffers is related to the March 2012 accident.
Posted: February 17th, 2015
A €10,000 settlement of passenger whiplash injury compensation has been awarded by a Circuit Civil Court judge after a hearing in Dublin.
At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Circuit President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard how John Connors from Saggart in Dublin was a passenger in a car when it collided with a wall on Kiltipper Road in Tallaght on 2nd December 2010.
John – who was fifteen years of age at the time – was treated at the Tallaght Hospital for soft tissue injuries to his neck and back, and returned to the hospital several times to receive physiotherapy on his injuries.
On John´s behalf, his father had made a claim for passenger whiplash injury compensation against the driver of the car – John´s aunt, Bridget Connors. Liability for the accident and John´s injuries was admitted, but John´s father was not happy with the assessment of the claim by the Injuries Board.
An authorisation was issued by the Injuries Board, and the case went before Judge Groarke for his assessment of passenger whiplash injury compensation.
In court, the judge was told that confusion existed over John´s claim, as a similar claim had been made in County Cork. John told the judge that his father (now deceased) had taken him to see a firm of solicitors, but he did not remember who the solicitors were or how to find them.
As the claim for passenger whiplash injury compensation was before Judge Groarke for the assessment of damages only, the judge enquired about any long-term consequences John had suffered as a result of the accident four years ago.
John replied that the soft tissue injuries in his neck and back had healed, but told the judge that he had an unrelated liver condition that meant he could not drink alcohol and that would eventually lead to premature aging.
Judge Groarke awarded John €10,000 passenger whiplash injury compensation and the costs of bringing his legal action. The judge commented that the fact John had suffered soft tissue injuries was not in doubt and liability had not been contested.
Posted: November 25th, 2014
An actress´s legal action for whiplash injuries has been settled out of court during the first day of a hearing in Dublin.
Former “Fair City” actress – Rebecca Smith – took legal action for whiplash injuries after sustaining soft tissue damage on November 24th 2008 during a location shoot in the Mount Merrion Church area of Dublin.
Rebecca – who played the character of Annette Daly in the soap opera – was being filmed while a passenger in a car which was driven by a stuntman employed by RTE. During the filming of the sequence, Rebecca was thrown back and forth in the passenger seat as the stuntman was required to brake sharply on several occasions.
Immediately after shooting the scene, Rebecca – from Killiney, County Dublin – felt pain in her neck and was taken to a local VHI Swiftcare Clinic. Despite receiving prompt treatment, the pain in Rebecca´s neck extended down into her back and through her right arm. Rebecca experienced numbness and tingling all the way down to the fingers of her right hand.
Claiming that her injuries made it impossible for her to sleep, and that she was out of work for a week due to the injuries she sustained, Rebecca took legal action for whiplash injuries against the producers of the show – RTE – claiming that the company was negligent by failing to employ a stunt double during the scene and had thus failed to ensure her safety.
RTE disputed Rebecca´s allegations, and the Injuries Board issued Rebecca with an authorisation in order that Rebecca could pursue her legal action for whiplash injuries through the court process. However, on the first day of the hearing at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Rebecca´s legal representative informed Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the actress had settled her legal action for whiplash injuries and that the claim could be struck out by the court.
Posted: August 19th, 2014
A woman´s passenger whiplash injury compensation claim has been settled for $3.1 million after a trial at the Superior Court of California in Pasadena.
Teresa Gamage (59) from Beverley Hills in California brought her passenger whiplash injury compensation claim after being hurt in a low-impact collision in May 2011. The vehicle in which Teresa was a front seat passenger was waiting at a red light near Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles when it was rear-ended at low speed by a car driven by Estelle Roitblat.
Teresa immediately felt a pain in her neck and attended her doctor the same day. An MRI scan revealed that Teresa had ruptured the C5-6 disc in her neck and, due to the soft tissue injuries also sustained in the accident, it was pressing against her spinal cord and causing her considerable pain.
Doctors attempted to manage the pain with epidural injections and physical therapy, but in November 2011 Teresa had to undergo fusion surgery. Due to the costs of the mounting medical expenses, Teresa sought legal advice and made a passenger whiplash injury compensation claim against Roitblat.
Roitblat contested the claim on the grounds that the impact between the two cars had caused only minimal damage and was insufficient to cause such a serious injury. Roitblat´s insurance company also contested Teresa´s claim on the grounds that the amount being claimed was excessive.
Roitblat´s insurers offered Teresa a settlement of her passenger whiplash injury compensation claim amounting to $87,000 – a fraction her medical expenses – and the offer was rejected by Teresa´s solicitors. Consequently the case was presented to a jury at the Superior Court of California in Pasadena before Judge Jan Pluim.
During the trial, Roitblat´s solicitors pressed the case that neither Teresa´s claim nor the amount of compensation she was asking for could be justified. However, after four hours of deliberations, the jury delivered a verdict in favour of Teresa and awarded her $3.1 million in resolution of her passenger whiplash injury compensation claim.
Posted: February 13th, 2014
A thirty-two year old woman, who suffered devastating injuries because of a driver´s irresponsibility, has resolved her claim for a passenger injury in a car accident after a hearing at the High Court.
Lydia Branley from Kinlough in Country Leitrim – a former air traffic controller – was left in a coma in September 2010 when the driver of a BMW Coupe in which she was a passenger lost control of the vehicle at 150km per hour and came off the N4 on the Ballinsodare slip road near Sligo.
The BMW collided with two roadside barriers, hit a pole and ended up on its roof in a stream by the side of the road. The driver of the BMW and another passenger were thrown from the car in the accident, but Lydia was knocked unconscious and had to be rescued from the wreckage by emergency services.
Lydia was rushed to Sligo General Hospital, from where she was transferred to Dublin´s Beaumont Hospital due to her serious condition. She remained in a coma for nine months and discovered when she awoke that she had lost the use of her limbs and was unable to speak.
The driver of the car – Martin Kearney from Balinoo in County Mayo – was also injured in the accident but was subsequently convicted in June 2012 of dangerous driving causing serious harm and sentenced to six years in prison. He was also banned from driving for twenty years.
Through her father, Lydia made a claim for a passenger injury in a car accident and a settlement of €10 million was negotiated. However, due to Lydia´s condition, the settlement had to first be approved by a judge before the claim could be concluded.
Therefore, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard the circumstances of the car crash, the details of Lydia´s injuries and an explanation of why Lydia will require full-time care for the rest of her life.
Judge Irvine commented that the settlement of compensation for a passenger injury in a car accident did not give back Lydia her life. “Nothing will”, the judge said, “but it will provide her with the best care and hopefully bring back a degree of normality.” Judge Irvine then approved the settlement and closed the hearing.
Posted: January 14th, 2014
The Road Safety Authority has warned of the risk of fatal and serious injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt in its provisional annual report.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has released provisional figures in relation to road accidents in Ireland in 2013, which show an increase in the number of fatal collision and fatal injuries for the first time since 2005.
According to reports made by An Garda Siochána, there were 181 fatal collisions (152 in 2012) resulting in 190 fatal injuries (162 in 2012) during the year ended 31st December 2013.
Drivers (95) and their passengers (32) accounted for two-thirds of the citizens killed on Irish roads in 2013, with the remainder made up by “vulnerable road users” – pedestrians (31), motorcyclists (27) and pedal cyclists (5).
The RSA identified that many fatal and serious injuries were due to not wearing a seatbelt; claiming that 38% of car user fatalities (in which An Garda Siochána could determine whether the victim(s) had been wearing a seatbelt) could have been avoided if the victim had been secured in the vehicle.
The report highlighted other factors which could have contributed to the increased number of fatal road accidents in 2013 – for example, more motorcyclists were on the roads during the warm summer, leading to a spike in motorcycle accidents.
However, the provisional figures also suggest that there was a decrease in casualties caused by speeding, and showed a decline in fatal accidents involving young drivers in the 21-25 years age group.
The conclusion of the report says that the RSA should allocate more resources to educate both drivers and passengers on the risk of serious injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt.
Posted: November 29th, 2013
The Injuries Board of Ireland has published a press release relating to motor liability claims in which awards of compensation for whiplash injuries are at the top of the list.
The figures released by the Injuries Board show that the Government body received 7,622 applications for the assessment of compensation when injuries had been sustained in a road traffic accident – approximately 75 percent of all the applications received by the Injuries Board in 2012.
The press release states that “the most prevalent injuries sustained in the vast majority of motor claims include soft tissue injuries (neck and back), and orthopaedic related injuries (fractures etc)” and comments that women make slightly more claims for whiplash injury compensation than their male counterparts.
There are several possible explanations for this:
- Women generally have weaker neck muscles than men and are more prone to injury when a rear-end accident occurs
- Women are more likely to be seated in the passenger seat when a rear-end accident occurs and not have the split second that a driver may have to brace prior to impact.
- Car seats are designed to accommodate men, who are generally heavier and taller than women, so that the impact of a rear-end accident frequently results in more severe neck and upper back injuries
The statistics also showed that the average value of awards for car accident injuries in 2012 was €20,631, and that Donegal (11) and Cork (10) were the counties in which the highest number of fatal accidents due to somebody else´s negligence occurred.
Commenting on the figures, Patricia Byron – CEO of the Injuries Board – said “Our award trends indicate that the winter months are the most dangerous on our roads and we are urging all road users to be extra vigilant at this time. We awarded over €157m in compensation for injuries sustained in road traffic accidents last year which reflects the significant human cost of these accidents not to mention the social impact.”
Posted: October 14th, 2013
The Civil Circuit Court in Dublin has approved the settlement of a teenagers injury compensation claim after a hearing into the events before and after her birth in 1999.
Aoife Sheehan (14) from Rathfarnham in Dublin was delivered prematurely at the Coombe Hospital on 15th April 1999 after her mother had gone into early onset labour at thirty-six weeks following a car crash.
Unable to breathe independently after being born, Aoife was transferred to the neo-natal intensive care unit of the Coombe Hospital, where her breathing had to be assisted by a ventilator and medication. Aoife was found to be suffering from respiratory distress syndrome and remained critically ill in intensive care for three weeks.
Through her mother – Martina Sheehan – Aoife made a teenagers injury compensation claim against the driver of the vehicle who had been in collision with her mother – Elaine O’Connor also from Rathfarnham – claiming that had it not been for the accident, Martina would not have gone into early onset labour, Aoife would not have been prematurely and not have suffered from respiratory distress syndrome after her birth.
Insurers for the defendant denied their client´s liability, stating that there was no medical evidence to support an alleged connection between the accident and Aoife´s premature birth, that babies born prematurely were more likely to suffer from respiratory distress and, as the accident happened while Aoife was still in her mother´s womb, she was ineligible to receive compensation anyway
Solicitors representing Aoife pursued her teenagers injury compensation claim and, and following a long period of negotiation, acquired a settlement that would see Aoife receive €15,000 compensation in general damages for the pain and suffering she was subject to after her birth with a further €2,800 allocated in special damages to account for the expenses her parents had incurred looking after her.
At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Matthew Judge Deery approved the settlement of Aoife´s teenagers injury compensation claim; commenting that her solicitors had done a good job in securing a positive outcome, as it would have been difficult to establish Ms O´Connor´s liability had the case been heard in court.
Posted: January 25th, 2011
Three young siblings have been awarded a combined €56,000 for their whiplash injury claim after the car in which they were travelling with their mother was rear-ended in January 2007. The children had suffered recurrent and protracted symptoms and have had to visit their GP and a specialist, Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard during the claim, which was brought by the children’s father Thomas Hopkins on their behalf.
Rachel Hopkins (9) and her brothers Daniel (10) and Thomas (7) from Broadford, Co Kildare were hurt when their mother’s car was rear-ended by Monica Carey from Lucan, Co Dublin. Daniel and Thomas received awards of €20,000 each as their injuries are thought to be more problematic than Rachael’s, who received €16,000.
The children’s awards will be paid into court funds where they will remain until the they reach eighteen years of age.