Road Traffic Accidents
Although road traffic accidents are the most frequent reason for personal injury claims, it is important to be aware that no two injury claims for road traffic accidents are the same. Even though you may have received identical injuries to somebody else you know, the impact of the injuries on your financial and emotional wellbeing will be different, and the way in which your quality of life is impacted will also be unique.
This is an important point to consider if you are ever approached by an insurance company with an unsolicited offer of compensation for road traffic accidents. Without a comprehensive assessment of your injuries and their consequences, it is impossible to know how much compensation for road traffic accidents you will be entitled to receive.
If you have already been approached by an insurance company, and would like to know whether their offer of compensation is appropriate, or if you have been injured in an accident and want to know more about claiming injury compensation for road traffic accidents, you are invited to call our Solicitors Advisory Panel and discuss the circumstances of your accident and the injuries you sustained with an experienced personal injury solicitor.
Posted: September 24th, 2020
At the High Court a car crash compensation settlement agreement has been approved by Justice Kevin Cross as a result of a woman involved being left in a paralysed condition following a road traffic collision that occurred in 2016.
Sally Crossan, native of Lifford was involved in a crash with another car when she sustain life changing injuries in what was termed a “ferocious collision”. The judge was informed that she no longer has any control of her four limbs and she had to remain in hospital for for 19 months following the incident in question.
For Mrs Crossan in court, Liam Reidy SC, Richard Lyons SC and solicitor Pat McMyler said that she was driving just outside of Lifford towards Letterkenny when the crash occurred. She had just dropped her son to school. She was stuck in the crash vehicle until firemen were able to cut her out safely some 35 minutes later.
It was relayed to Justice Cross that Ms Crossan’s brain injuries were recognised as ‘significant’ quite soon after the accident but it was not until 18 months after the accident that it was seen that she was suffering with locked-in syndrome. Her cognitive state remains in tact and she can communicate using words.
Due to the events surrounded the road traffic accident, a compensation claim was submitted against the driver of the other car involved – Christine Henry, Greenhills, Manorcunningham – and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
The allegations against Ms Henry included that she had not been driving her car safely while maintaining a proper lookout for with other road users. The action against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland was in relation to a large amount of oil that was discovered on the road where the accident occurred.
There had been no agreement in relation to liability in the case, a source of distress for Mr Crossan’s family according to Justice Cross. Mrs Crossan has been been absolves of any liability, however. However, today the court was told that the two actions have been consolidated and a settlement agreement has now been reached.
John Crossan, Sally’s husband has been providing care for his wife since the accident. He has given up his full time job to do so and he also settled a separate compensation action.
Both road traffic compensation settlements are not being made public. Justice Cross praised John Crossan on the care that he has been giving his wife since the accident occurred.
Posted: January 17th, 2019
A road traffic accident compensation settlement of €60,000 has been agreed at the Circuit Civil Court between a 64-year-old librarian and the former Bank of Ireland Governor Laurence Crowley following the defendant accepting liability for a car crash that took place in August 2015.
Mr Richard Barrett, a librarian who lives at the Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin, took the legal action against Mr Crowley and the registered owners of the car O’Flaherty Holdings Limited in relation to injuries he suffered in the car crash that occurred at Monkstown Crescent, Dublin.
Mr Crowley was not in the Circuit Civil Court for the legal proceedings which was scheduled to hear Mr Barrett’s testimony regarding his injuries following the incident and the medical reports detailing the same.
Mr Barratt advised Justice Groarke that he had suffered from shock and trauma following the road traffic accident. Mr Barrett had a previous history of anxiety disorder, and the suffering additional panic attacks in the time period after the accident. He was brought to the emergency department of St Vincent’s University Hospital and was dealt with by Dr Nigel Salter, consultant in emergency medicine. Mr Barrett told Justice Groarke that he had not suffered any bone or internal injuries as a result of the crash in Monkstown. However, he had been prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain killing medication to remedy injuries on his chest and abdomen.
Mr Barrett alleged that Mr Crowley had been driving the Mercedes 300 car in a negligent fashion when the crash took place. He told the Judge that on 29th August 2015 he was a front seat passenger in a vehicle when a Mercedes coming out from a minor road collided with them. He informed the Circuit Civil Court that he felt the Mercedes in question was being driven at an excessive speed and that the driver had not shown an acceptable level of awareness for other road users regarding his surrounds.
Legal representatives for Mr Barratt Barrister Ivan Daly appearing with HJ Ward Solicitors told Judge Justice Raymond Groarke that there had been an admission of liability by the defendants. Due to this, and following an assessment of damages, the case had been settled and could be struck out with an order for costs.
Posted: July 18th, 2018
Cheng Zhang, a Chinese accountancy student based in Dublin, has been awarded more than €250,000 in personal injury compensation damages after a High Court judge ruled that she had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after an accident where she was struck by a car in Dublin in 2011.
The total amount of compensation awarded to the 36-year-old girl by Mr Justice Anthony Barr was €465,526. However this was reduced due to contributory negligence. The contributory negligence was assessed at 45pc as she had decided to cross the junction when the pedestrian light was still red.
The judge said that after the car crash Ms Zhang became very mentally unhealthy and could no longer complete her work duties. Her job was her only source of money and, due to this, she fell into rent arrears, became homeless and relied on local authority emergency accommodation.
The judge said that, taking the level of intelligence, ambition and high level functioning which Ms Zhang displayed prior to the accident, he was happy to believe that she would have gone on to qualify as a certified accountant and would be in full employment if it was not for the incident.
Ms Zhang, from of the Liaoning province of China, arrived in Ireland in 2003 to study English. When the accident occurred she was studying accountancy.
She had taken the car accident compensation action against the driver of the car Stephen Farrell due to the accident that occurred on April 17 2011. She had been crossing at the junction of Merrion Row and Merrion Street Upper when she was hit by Mr Farrell’s car and thrown into the air.
The Court was told that she suffered soft tissue injury to her knees and pelvis and a blow to the head. The result of this was that she was unable to move or communicate with anyone for about an hour after the accident took place. The Court was also advised that Ms Zhang went on to experience severe and constant mental illness in the form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as the condition known as fibromyalgia.
Mr Farrell Legal Counsel told the Court that Ms Zhang had listed a number of physical complaints for which no organic basis could be proven and that she now experiences an anxiety disorder.
Mr Justice Barr said that he believed the evidence of Ms Zhang’s psychiatrist that she suffered serious mental health issues due to the road traffic accident and had undergone a catastrophic change to her mental stability.
He said that he also accepted the evidence of the psychiatrist that stated Ms Zhang’s symptoms are chronic and enduring despite the best efforts at treatment so far.
Posted: May 15th, 2018
A truck driver has been ordered by Court to pay €2,000 a year for five years, to a total of €10,000 to the parents of the victim who died when his (the truck driver) vehicle suddenly veered off the M8 Dublin-Cork motorway and crashed into a car that had pulled over on the hard shoulder. The young mother travelling in the back of the car was killed in the road traffic collision. She had been on her way to Temple Street Hospital in Dublin to visit her sick new born baby.
The truck accident compensation case, being heard in Tipperary Circuit Criminal Court, was told that the new mother, Nicola Kenny (26) from Thurles, was killed instantly in the crash on September 5 on 2016. This was just a day after the birth of her only child Lily Rose. At the tme of the accident she was being driven to Temple Street Hospital by her aunt, with her mother also, to visit her new born baby. They stopped on the M8 hard shoulder to take a call from the hospital to say the new baby was now doing fine.
While imposing a suspended 18-month prison sentence, Judge Tom Teehan said the evidence suggested it was most likely the truck driver briefly fell asleep at the wheel rather than being distracted by a bout sneezing as was claimed.
He went on to say: “He is somebody who is going to have to live for the rest of his days with the knowledge that he has caused the death of another human being and caused life changing effects to an entire family.”
Lily Rose has been born in Clonmel Hospital on September 4. She became ill and was hurried to Temple Street in Dublin. Ms Kenny had just been collected by her mother and aunt who were taking her to visit the baby in Dublin.
Judge Teehan was made aware that the defendant indicated to Gardaí he take a guilty plea at a very early stage and co-operated in full with the investigation. The court was told that he is deeply remorseful and was now suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He was also disqualified from driving for five years.
Posted: February 15th, 2018
A 10% rise in the number of accident claims involving uninsured or untraceable drivers grew by almost 10 per cent since 2016.
Spokespeople for the insurance industry sector sources have revealed that say the increasing costs of rising costs of premiums are possible a contributing factor to the steep increase in claims registered by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
Set by in 1955, the MIBI compensates the victims in vehicle accidents involving uninsured and unidentified vehicles. It is funded by insurance companies fund.
Per annum, the MIBI distributes between €55 million and €60 million in insurance settlements with a mean cost per insurance claim of €55,364.
2,758 claims were registered by the MIBI in 2017, a relatively minor increase on the 2,802 claims submitted in 2016.
On a county by county basis Co Dublin registered the most claims with 41 per cent of all compensation claims submitted to the bureau throughout 2017. It was followed closed by Cork and Limerick in second and third place.
In other counties, the highest percentage increase was experienced in Leitrim with 70 per cent). Next was Roscommon, Carlow and Monaghan with 60%, 43% and 42% respectively.
Posted: January 22nd, 2018
Noeleen Coakley (45), a sister-in-law of a well-known member of the Dublin crime scene, was described as “a woman who just seemed to attract misfortune” by judge Circuit Court President Judge Raymond Groarke – during a recent car accident compensation claim- after being advised that she had been injured in six car accidents.
Judge Groarke made his remarks as he awarded €28,000 damages for car accident injuries to for injuries she suffered in a rear-ending traffic accident.
Noeleen Coakley Hutch (45) is a sister in law Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch since she married his brother, Derek Hutch.
The court had heard she has been injured in six car accidents.
Judge Groarke told the court “She seems to have an attraction for misfortune and the moral of the story is don’t travel in a car with Ms Coakley” after being advised of her involvement in six car accidents.
As liability had already conceded in the case, the hearing was an assessment of damages for car accident injuries.
Despite the similarities in the accidents that Ms Coakley was involved in Judge Groarke commented that he believed her to be an honest lady, thought with an unfortunate history of accidents.
He added that he ‘took exception’ to the way in which legal representatives for the defence sought to assert that Ms Coakley was “a chancer or a fraud” because of her experience of so many road accidents and the fact that she had previously been awarded roughly €60,000 road traffic accident compensation for those accidents.
Judge Groarke accepted she was an innocent party in all of those claims.
In relation to the accident that Judge Groarke was assessing the damages for, he was advised that Ms Coakley had been rear-ended while driving her car in Ballybough, on May 19, 2014. After the accident and had been brought by ambulance to the Mater Hospital Emergency Department, where she had been treated.
Judge Groarke assessed Ms Coakley’s award of road accident compensation of at €28,000 and awarded her legal costs.
Posted: December 10th, 2017
In its first ever report the the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) has called for injury data held by insurance companies to be released on an ongoing basis.
The PIC submitted the approvals to the government, saying that data regarding the incidence of ‘whiplash’ and other soft tissue injuries should be released to.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, Chairperson of the Commission that was established to address the rising expense of motor insurance, remarked that these figures should be made available from insurance companies. They could then form part of the National Claims Information Database which is being developed by the Central Bank of Ireland currently.
Additionally the report also finds that the figures being paid out for whiplash compensation claims should be connected to the severity of the injury inflicted, with a standardised grading scheme set up to make this easier. The report also says there should be more transparency in respect of payouts of whiplash compensation as levels of general damages are not currently accounted for in legislation.
Legal firms have responded negatively to the report. Jody Cantillon, Associate solicitor at Cantillons Solicitors commented on the report saying “Firstly, the basis for the Personal Injuries Commission seems to us to be flawed in that the rise in insurance premiums has nothing at all to do with personal injuries litigation.
Mr Cantillon added “We would have grave concerns about a standardised approach to the diagnosis, treatment and reporting of soft tissue injuries. No one person or injury is the same. The impact that a back injury might have on a new mother is different to the impact such an injury might have on a young man. A standardised approach would not take sufficient consideration of the individuals circumstances.
He finished by saying: “We are surprised at the Commission’s ‘recommendation’ that the sums awarded in whiplash claims should be linked to the severity of the condition. This is already the case, so there is nothing new there.
Posted: November 20th, 2017
A Garda has been awarded €31,000 damages as a result of injuries he suffered when his patrol car was rammed in a car accident that occurred seven years ago.
Following a high-speed chase involving a Mercedes car, Garda, and former Limerick hurler, Nigel Carey (46), of Croom, Co Limerick, was injured when the Garda patrol car he was sitting in was rear ended in October 2010.
Barrister Kevin D’Arcy, representing Garda Carey, claimed his client had been quite a renowned hurler at the time of the crash occurring in 2010. The Garda attended his family doctor to have his neck, shoulder and lower back injuries seen to and was told that he should seek physiotherapy treatment
The Garda patrol car, according to Garda Carey, “sent flying” due to the impact of the crash and was so badly damaged it had to be written off following the accident.
In the accident his neck, right shoulder and lower back were badly damaged. He also said that his shoulder was still restricted in movement slightly.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton remarked that “the best medical report supporting Garda Carey’s claim for compensation” was given by the chief medical officer from An Garda Síochána who had medically examined Mr Carey for the defendant – the Minister for Public Expenditure.
The judge praised Garda Carey’s dedication and work ethic during the Garda Traffic Car Accident Compensation hearing as Mr Carey had only been absent from work for three days in the aftermath of the incident. He also said that it was to Garda Carey’s credit that he had not made an issue of the nature of his back injury which quickly cleared up following the incident.
Mr Carey had made no attempt to build up more and more medical reports to make more of his injuries than was there in his workplace traffic compensation claim.
Posted: October 9th, 2017
Two young sisters from Lucan, Co Dublin have been awarded €33,000 in road traffic compensation due to an incident that saw the car that they were travelling in rear ended in February 2016.
The girls, aged seven and five years old, Amy and Izy Saul were involved in the road traffic collision when a car owned by Tadgh Hartnett, hit their family car which it was travelling behind.
The two girls, with a family address at Rossberry Terrace, Lucan, Dublin were represented in court by Barrister Francis McGagh. Mr Hartnett, who was not present at Court, gave an address at AIG Insurance, North Wall, Dublin.
Mr McGagh advised presiding Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the Saul sisters were extremely lucky to avoid debilitating injuries and were absent for one day of school to see their local GP after the accident. However, he advised the Court that their local doctor saw that the young girls had been inflicted with psychological injuries due to the experiences of the road traffic accident.
An official medical report from their local doctor was provided that stated the girls’ had been inflicted with “a mild effect on the mental health”. He added that he expected this nervousness to fade over time.
The girls mother, Claire Saul, told the judge that she was content with the €33,000 road traffic compensation offered. Ms Saul made an affidavit to the court which said that both of the girls, who have their birthdays later this month, now tend to become nervous when travelling in a motor vehicle which their famoly doctor said, in the aforementioned report, was a commonly experienced symptom following such an road traffic accident.
AIG Insurance made the motor traffic compensation settlement offer of €16,500 each to the two girls, and their court expenses, on behalf of Mr Hartnett.
Posted: August 3rd, 2017
The High Court has dismissed an appeal against seven car injury compensation awards that were made by the Buncrana Circuit Court in 2015.
The car injury compensation awards related to an accident that occurred in Lifford, County Donegal, on June 28th 2011; when a hire car failed to slow down approaching a roundabout and crashed into a second car. Three of the occupants in the hire car and the four occupants of the second car suffered soft tissue injuries and claimed compensation against the negligent driver and the car hire company.
In 2015, car injury compensation awards of between €5.050 and €9.550 were made to the seven victims by the Buncrana Circuit Court. However, the car hire company appealed the awards of the grounds that the accident had been fabricated and that the seven victims considerably exaggerated the extent and effects of their soft tissue injuries to maximise the value of their car injury compensation awards.
The appeal hearing took place last month at the High Court before Mr Justice Charles Meenan, when it was claimed the negligent driver had telephoned one of the injured men when he returned the hire car to the car hire company and had spoken with him as if he knew him well. Further investigation revealed the negligent driver and plaintiffs were known to each other through their membership of the Joseph Plunkett and Charlie D’Arcy Societies.
The plaintiffs disputed the allegation as outrageous and, although admitting that they knew each other “to see”, denied the accident had been set up with the intention of claiming car injury compensation rewards. Judge Meenan reserved his decision at the original hearing, but this week dismissed the car hire company´s appeal and found in favour of the plaintiffs – upholding the car injury compensation awards made by Buncrana Circuit Court.
Explaining his decision, the judge said the friendly nature of the telephone conversation between the negligent driver and one of the injured men was not enough to support any other decision than the original one. He added the negligent driver made the call to find out details of the injured party´s car, and “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: December 2nd, 2016
A man has been awarded compensation for aggravating injuries in a van accident after being described as a “very unfortunate accident prone individual”.
While the plaintiff was waiting at a junction by the Thomond Bridge in March last year, he was hit from behind with “significant impact” by a car that “came out of nowhere”. The work van he had been driving was a write-off and, while he was reporting the accident to his employer, the car driver responsible for causing the accident drove off – mounting the kerb and hitting the wall of the bridge as he left.
The injured van driver – a thirty-eight year old father of two from Rhebogue in County Limerick – suffered an aggravation of existing injuries to his neck, shoulder and lower back. He attended his GP the following day and allegedly suffered for the next six months. He claims to have sustained “psychological issues” as a result of the accident and is still receiving injections to manage the pain.
The car driver responsible for causing the accident was traced and the plaintiff claimed compensation for aggravating injuries in a van accident. The car driver´s insurance company had its doubts about the legitimacy of the claim, and denied its consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment. The plaintiff was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim in court.
The hearing took place at Limerick Circuit Court, where counsel for Liberty Insurance – the negligent driver´s insurance company – told Judge James O´Donohue that the plaintiff had made a substantial number of personal injury claims in the past. Five of the previous personal injury claims related to road traffic accident that had aggravated existing injuries on each occasion.
Judge O´Donohue also heard that the plaintiff was on disability benefit for his existing injuries and was only able to work a limited number of hours each week. Noting that he had been “well compensated in the past”, Judge O´Donohue awarded the plaintiff €10,000 compensation for aggravating injuries in a van accident and described him as a “very unfortunate injury prone individual”.
Posted: August 23rd, 2016
A courier, who was injured in an accident involving a taxi, has received a full five-figure settlement of compensation after a judge ruled that he was not negligent in his actions.
The road accident occurred in March 2015 as Rotimi Omotayo, a bicycle courier, was carrying out a delivery on the Custom House Quay. As he was cycling, a taxi – driven by Kenneth Griffin – pulled out from a lane and knocked Rotimi to the ground.
Fortunately, Rotimi was not previously injured by the accident and was able to return to work a few weeks later. However, after making a claim for compensation to the Injuries Board Ireland, the case was dismissed as Rotimi was believed to have contributed to his injuries. However, the Injuries Board did issue authorisation for the claim to be pursued in the courts. Consequently, a hearing was held at Dublin’s High Court earlier this month, overseen by Mr Justice Bernard Barton.
At the hearing, statements were heard supporting both parties. The court hoped to determine whether or not Rotimi was at fault for his injuries through breaching the Road Traffic Regulations.
Yet, once all testimonies were presented, and it was discovered that by needing to deliver to the “river side” of the quay Rotimi was entitled to cycle in the outside lane before turning. The judge proceeded to dismiss any allegations that the courier was negligent and ruled in his favour.
Judge Barton also commented on a contemporary issue in the courts when he said that he would not use the Book of Quantum in determining the settlement as it was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.
Tort Law was instead applied and Rotimi was awarded €30,000 in general damages for his injuries. However, Judge Barton ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support the loss of income claim and discarded the special damages claim. Rotimi, however, was still compensated for his legal costs.
Posted: January 30th, 2016
A twenty-five year-old man has received a settlement of compensation for injuries to the brain after the sum was approved in Dublin’s High Court.
The accident occurred on the 27th January 2009, when Francis Smith – of Edgeworthstown in County Longford – was driving along a road and had to suddenly manoeuvre away from an oncoming car. However, this action meant that Mr Smith crashed instead into the back of a lorry parked ahead of him on the road.
Mr Smith, then aged just eighteen years old and was employed in a local factory, was so severely injured by the collision that he can no longer work, and is reliant on his mother, Martina Dempsey, for round the clock care. His cognitive and physical injuries were extensive.
Ms Dempsey made a claim for compensation for the road accident on her son’s behalf. The claim was made against the Longford County Council, and alleged that there were no sufficient signposts of roadworks, and there was no flagman posted on the road to warn of oncoming vehicles. She also claimed that the lorry – into which her son crashed – was parked such that it extended too far onto the road. The lorry posed a significant danger because of its proximity to the other roadworks.
The County Council denied any liability for the injuries Mr Smith sustained, stating the the accident was largely Mr Smith’s own fault as he had been negligent and driven too fast for the conditions of the road. Yet when the case proceeded to the High Court, the overseeing judge – Mr Justice Kevin Cross – heard that a compensation settlement of €750,000 was negotiated between the parties.
The judge noted that the value was just 25% of the full value of the claim, and proceeded to approve the settlement. Before closing the case, Judge Cross commented that the settlement was good and that he wished Mr Smith well for the future.
Posted: November 29th, 2013
The Injuries Board of Ireland has released statistics revealing that assessments of compensation for car accident injuries amounted to €157.2 million in 2012.
According to figures released by the InjuriesBoard.ie, November is the most dangerous month of the year to venture out in a car, and the independent Government body has just released details of the awards it distributed in 2012 to highlight the fact.
The analysis of compensation claims for car accident injuries in 2012 also revealed that the total number of applications for assessments had increased by 1.3 percent to 7,622 and that the most dangerous day of the week on which to drive is Friday.
Claims for compensation for car accident injuries accounted for 75 percent of all the applications for assessment received by the Injuries Board (the remainder were comprised of public liability claims and for accidents at work), with the majority of these being for soft tissue injuries (whiplash) and broken bone injuries.
The statistics also showed that the average value of awards for car accident injuries in 2012 was €20,631, with women making a slightly larger number of claims than men. It was also shown that Donegal (11) and Cork (10) were the counties in which the highest number of fatal accidents due to somebody else´s negligence occurred.
However, the InjuriesBoard.ie press release included some assumptions that not everyone might agree with – for example; as only 4 percent of awards were made to drivers over the age of fifty-five, the Injuries Board described this age group as the “safest” – neglecting to consider research that has demonstrated that older drivers are four times more likely to cause a fatal crash than teenagers.
It might also be the case that older drivers do not accept the Injuries Board assessments as, in 2012, fewer than 5,000 plaintiffs actually agreed with the amount of compensation for car accident injuries that had been assessed (from 7,622 assessments) , and chose to pursue their claims outside of the Injuries Board process.
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: September 3rd, 2013
Insurance companies have claimed that new limits on car accident compensation will lead to higher premiums following the introduction of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill
The Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 – previously known as the Courts Bill – will increase the upper limits on car accident compensation that can be awarded in the District Court from €6,384 to €15,000, and in the Circuit Court from €38,000 to €60,000
On publication of the report in July, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that the changes would lead to reduction in legal costs due to fewer car accident compensation claims going to the High Court; however two insurance experts have warned that the Bill could add as much as 30% to car insurance premiums.
Thousands More Cases in the Courts
According to Ciaran Phelan – CEO of the Irish Brokers Association – and Ken Norgrove from Zurich Insurance, the Seanad passed the legislation without considering the implications of insurance costs – which both claim will encourage more plaintiffs to “have a go” at taking their claims for car accident injury compensation to court, rather than settle their claim without legal action.
Mr Phelan said “These changes will see thousands more cases reach the courts this year, which obviously will increase the legal costs for insurers [and] which will in turn be passed onto consumers. There will be no getting around this”.
“Those amounts are too high”, agreed Mr Norgrove, who claimed that the new limits on car accident compensation will only encourage more claims and a return to the “compo culture” of previous years. “The Personal Injuries Board was great for straightforward and uncontested injuries but people will now take their chances in the District Court”.
A Smoke Screen for Insurer´s Own Troubles?
The latest attack on the new limits on car accident compensation settlements came a day after several insurance companies announced that insurance premiums were likely to rise due to an underwriting gap between the funds they receive in insurance premiums and what they have to pay to settle car accident injury compensation claims.
Whereas it is not unusual for car insurance companies to make an underwriting loss, they have normally been able to rely on investment income from funds they have on deposit. However, the return on investment has fallen in recent years while at the same time car insurance companies have been involved in fierce competition which has reduced their income from car insurance premiums.
Posted: April 16th, 2013
A man who injured his eye when a tree branch shattered a window on the Dublin Buss in which he was travelling, has been awarded €8,000 in compensation for a personal injury claim for a bus accident.
35-year-old Rafal Kowalski of Castleknock, Dublin sustained his injury in July 2011 when a window was shattered on the top deck of the Nº 37 bus showering him in glass and debris. He did not seek medical attention immediately, but upon later examination it was found that he had dry eye syndrome which Dublin Bus did not contest.
Judge Matthew Deery at the Circuit Court awarded Mr Kowalski Rafal €8,000 compensation in settlement of his personal injury claim for a bus accident.
Posted: April 4th, 2013
A man who suffered quadriplegic injuries and was left with severe brain damage following a road traffic accident has had a €6.5 million settlement of quadriplegic injuries compensation approved in the High Court.
Alan Kavanagh (41) from New Ross, County Wexford, sustained his horrific injuries when he was involved in a head-on collision with a van driven by Liam Toohey of Nenagh, County Tipperary in November 2004.
The injuries Mr.Kavanagh sustained in the accident means he is now completely dependent on others for nursing care. Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that the victim is currently living in a nursing home for the elderly although this is not suitable for his requirements.
Claiming compensation through his brother, the court heard that a settlement of €6.5 million had been proposed by Liam Toohey and the owner of the van involved in the accident – John Heffernan, a haulage contractor, also of Nenagh, County Tipperary.
The judge after hearing evidence from Mr Kavanagh´s partner – Loretto Power – approved the settlement saying it gave Alan the best chance of meeting his future needs.
Posted: March 14th, 2013
A 49-year-old woman who was run over by a female driver while she was working as a lollipop lady has settled her compensation claim for a four figure sum.
Karen Littler (49) from Wigan, Lancashire claimed hit and run compensation against Ceris Lovett after Ms.Lovett collided with her in Aston-in-Makerfield in March 2012 and then failed to stop to see if Ms.Littler was injured.
Another motorist who saw the incident recorded the registration number of Ms.Lovett’s Honda and reported it to the Greater Manchester Police. She was later convicted of driving without due care and attention by Wigan magistrates.
The victim made a claim for hit and run injuries directly to the negligent party’s car insurance company who, despite the conviction of their policyholder, failed to respond in the required time frame to Ms.Littler’s request for compensation which eventually led to court proceedings being issued. Ms.Littler has now received an undisclosed settlement of her claim for hit and run injuries.
Posted: February 22nd, 2013
A 25-year-old Wicklow man has been awarded €300,000 in compensation by the High Court after he was hit on the head by the wing mirror of a council truck.
Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill heard how Ciaran Chestnutt was standing at pedestrian traffic lights on Paddy Brown’s Road, Waterford, on October 26, 2007 when he was struck by the mirror of a passing truck. As a result of the accident the victim suffered memory loss, the development of a permanent black spot in the vision of his right eye and a permanent scar on his forehead. The victim also lost his sense of taste and smell and missed a year of college.
Waterford City Council – which owned the truck- and employed the driver, denied their liability but after hearing evidence from witnesses representing both parties, Mr Justice Iarflaith O´Neill said he was satisfied the accident was caused by the negligence of the driver and therefore the Council was vicariously liable. Awarding the compensation the judge said Mr.Chestnutt’s injuries have had a huge impact on his life but he has done extremely well coping with his injury.
Posted: January 23rd, 2013
A 12-year-old schoolgirl who lost her sister and best friend in a car accident has been awarded €200,000 compensation for the injuries she sustained in the incident.
Faith Varden-Carberry was seven years old when the car in which she was a passenger collided with a clay embankment outside Edgeworthstown, County Longford, in November 2007. Her mother Mary Carberry (36) the driver of the vehicle was banned from driving at the time due a previous accident, she was arrested and sentenced to six years imprisonment for her part in the crash.
Claiming through her grand-father Anthony Carberry the compensation claim was transferred to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) as Mrs Carberry was uninsured. Mr Justice Peter Charleton was told in the High Court that a settlement of compensation for injuries in a car accident had been agreed amounting to €200,000. Approving the settlement the judge also allowed for €2,000 to be instantly withdrawn from it in order to allow Faith to have a new computer to assist her with her schoolwork.
Posted: December 14th, 2012
A child has had his settlement of €100,000 for injuries he sustained when he was hit by a car approved by the High Court. Bartosz Zakrzewski from Birr, County Offaly was nine years old when his tricycle was hit by a car driven by Caitríona Kelly on An Coran Street in Birr.
The boy sustained head injuries, curs and lacerations to his body and also a broken leg. Claiming compensation for a road accident on behalf of her son, Monika Zakrzewski said Ms Kelly had been driving without due care and attention and in breach of her duty of care.
However, shortly before the case was due to be heard before the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that the two parties had reached a compensation settlement without Ms Kelly admitting liability for the incident. The judge approved the settlement.
Posted: November 23rd, 2012
In a landmark case, an Irish court has settled an overseas accident compensation claim made by a Dublin resident who was injured in a road traffic accident in France.
Peter Kelly (75) of Ranelagh, Dublin, suffered a hip injury which eventually led to him requiring a hip replacement after he was hit by a council maintenance van while crossing the Traverse de la Tour in Cannes in June 2009.
Mr.Kelly made an overseas accident compensation claim against insurers Groupama and although the insurance company accepted liability for Mr Kelly’s injuries, it argued that French law should be applied when assessing compensation as the levels awarded are considerably lower in France than in Ireland.
At the High Court in Dublin Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O´Neill accepted this argument but said that French compensation figures would be used as a guide only in determining the amount of compensation to be awarded for an overseas accident.
As Mr Kelly had been a very active person prior to the accident and was now no longer able to play tennis or cycle and was restricted in the normal day-to-day activities he could do without assistance. As his ‘loss of amenity’ was significant the judge applied the methodology under which a French court would make its award but increased the value of the overseas accident compensation claim to Irish levels.
Mr Kelly was awarded €63,900 for pain and suffering and as the two parties had already agreed on special damages of €24,267, the full amount of compensation awarded for the overseas claim was € 88,167.
Posted: October 3rd, 2012
A schoolboy who suffered horrific injuries after he was thrown against the windscreen of his mother’s car has been awarded €11.5 million by the High Court in Dublin following the accident in May 2008.
Ten-year-old Cullen Kennedyof Loughrea, County Galway was awarded the sum at the Dublin High Court. Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that on the day of the accident Margaret Kennedy was momentarily distracted by her son while driving and crossed into the path of an oncoming car. Although neither she nor the driver of the other vehicle suffered serious injuries, her son was left quadriplegic and breathes through a ventilator after sustaining severe spinal damage.
The compensation claim was made by Cullen Kennedy’s grandmother against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) as Margaret Cullen was an uninsured driver. The award of €11.5 million was made after assessing the care the victim had already received and what may be required in the future. The sum is the highest ever award of compensation for a car crash injury in the State’s history.
Posted: September 27th, 2012
A man, who requires around-the clock care after sustaining a severe brain injury in a car accident has been awarded €4.25 million in compensation.
In March 2008 the victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons as he is a ward of court – was thrown from a car in which he was a back seat passenger after it ran into a tree. He suffered severe mental injuries as a result and is now only able to communicate via a thumb up or thumb down sign.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard in the High Court that as the driver of the car was uninsured the compensation claim was made against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland. The judge was told that an agreement had been reached between the two parties although the settlement of €4.25 million was reduced by 20 per cent due to the contributory negligence of the victim by failing to wear a seatbelt. The judge approved the settlement and ordered that the foster mother receive a payment upfront of € 544,800 to cover expenses and hospital bills already incurred.
Posted: August 6th, 2012
A woman from Dublin, has been awarded €79,000 in compensation after a car reversed over her after she had slipped and fallen.
Siofra O´Loughlin (24) from Rolestown, Dublin slipped on wet sand while trying to retrieve a ball on Dollymount Beach in July 2006 and was on the ground when a motorist reversed over her. According to a report given to the Gardai by Ms O’Loughlin and her friends, the driver of the vehicle stopped a short distance from the incident and saw Ms O’Loughlin injured on the ground before driving away.
Gardai were unable to trace the driver of the vehicle therefore Ms O’Loughlin had to make her compensation claim for a hit and run injury against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland. The MIBI disputed the compensation claim arguing that a different version of events had been reported to Gardai however Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill dismissed their argument and awarding Ms O’Loughlin €79,000 in compensation for the injuries she sustained in the hit and run incident.
Posted: July 27th, 2012
Four Dublin children have been awarded a total of €26,000 in compensation for injuries they sustained when the car in which they were travelling collided with a Garda patrol car.
Dean McEvoy (15) and his three sisters, Lauren (13), Cody (11) and Megan (10) suffered soft tissue injuries when a patrol car being driven ‘at some degree of urgency’ struck the car driven by their mother Lorraine McEvoy on the Tallaght bypass in November 2005. At the time of the incident the Garda car had no siren or warning lights on.
Circuit Civil Court President, Mr Justice Matthew Deery was told that the State had accepted liability for the accident only after a lengthy dispute was settled in the High Court and he was asked to approve the agreed settlements for the four children.
Posted: June 7th, 2012
A six-year-old boy, has been awarded €17,500 in compensation for a car accident injury after he was knocked down by a van while playing near his home in Tallaght, Dublin.
Warren Lavelle who was three year old at the time suffered head injuries and was left with a permanent scar on his head as a result of the accident on July 13 2008. At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin Judge Jacqueline Linnane was told that the driver of the van John Connors, also of Tallaght, Dublin had already admitted liability for the accident leaving the judge to approve the car accident settlement of compensation.
Posted: May 18th, 2012
A 26-year-old women has had her €7 million settlement of compensation approved by the High Court. Valerie Bourke of Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary suffered serious brain damage after her car collided with a truck in May 2006 when she was 21 years old.
The accident occurred on the Carrick-on-Suir to Waterford road and from there Ms Bourke was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital where she remained for eleven months. She was then transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire and from there to a neuro-rehabilitation centre in England six months later. In December 2008 – two and a half years after the accident- she was able to return home.
Ms Bourke’s parents had renovated the family home to accommodate her needs although the court heard that her mobility and cognitive functions remain limited. The driver of the truck Patrick Holden and its owner Stefan Gilchrist of Piltown, County Kilkenny admitted liability for the victim’s injuries and Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill approved the settlement ordering €4 million to be put aside for Ms Bourke’s future care. He also announced that an application was to be made to make Valerie Bourke a ward of court.
Posted: April 11th, 2012
A Dublin man has been awarded € 91,000 after successfully pursuing a post-traumatic stress claim after a car accident. Mr James Killeen (55) of Artane was trapped in his jeep for 90 minutes after it was violently struck from behind by a car driven by Mr Hongbo Guo of Castleknock, County Dublin, in November 2007.
The court heard that Mr Killeen became frantic while trapped due to his fear for his son’s safety who was also trapped in the jeep and also due to the presence of petrol fumes at the time. On his way to the hospital the ambulance Mr Killeen was travelling in, had to stop four times to allow him to vomit. He suffered soft tissue damage to his lower back causing him pain and discomfort.
Mr Justice John Quirke at the High Court heard that Mr Killeen had been involved in seven previous road traffic accidents between 1986 and 2009 and the psychological trauma of this accident resulted in an emergency admission to St Ita´s Hospital in 2008 as the result of attempted self-harm.
The court heard that the negligent party accepted liability for the post-traumatic stress claim after a car accident and the judge awarded Mr Killeen € 91,000.
Posted: March 28th, 2012
A family has been awarded compensation after a fatal road accident left a mother and child dead in 2006.
The incident occurred on July 9 2006 and Yvonne Mahoney (24) and her daughter, Bobbi-Ann (2) were killed when the car driven by Ms.Mahoney’s partner John Maloney (33) – who was also killed in the accident – collided with another car as it exited the crossroads junction at Lodge Cross, County Galway.
Claiming on behalf of her deceased daughter Mary Mahoney of Loughrea, County Galway alleged that Galway County Council failed to cut down, prune or trim the hedges at the junction meaning Mr.Maloney did not have a clear view of the road, it was also claimed that the council had failed to erect yield or stop signs. Mrs Mahoney also made a claim against Mr. Maloney’s estate alleging that he had been negligent with his driving. The court heard that the issue of liability had been withdrawn and Judge Mr Justice Moriarty awarded Mrs Mahoney and the family of the deceased children €100,439 in compensation after a fatal road accident.
Posted: February 8th, 2012
A six-year-old boy, who was knocked from his bike by a neighbour reversing out of her drive has successfully been awarded compensation for a child bicycle accident.
Claiming through his father Eric Ryan of Lucan, Dublin, the court heard how Cian Ryan sustained terrible injuries to his leg after Ms Kishwar Shafgat knocked him from his bike in April 2009.
It was claimed that Ms Shafgat failed to keep a proper lookout when reversing and was therefore negligent. Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns heard that the victim still walked with a limp as a result of the accident and suffered recurring nightmares. The judge approved a compensation award of €87,000 for a child bicycle accident and set aside €1,000 so the victim could attend Old Trafford to see Manchester United.
Posted: January 12th, 2012
A 14-year-old girl has been awarded €21,000 in the Circuit Court after she suffered psychological trauma when her mother was knocked unconscious following a road traffic accident in which their car was rear-ended.
Charmaine Fitzgerald was 10 years old when the accident occurred near her school in March 2007. The force of the impact was so great that her mother Lisa Fitzgerald was thrown from the car and lost consciousness. At the time Charmaine believed her mother was dead and as a result of the psychological trauma of the event she visualised the crash every time she passed close to the so, and in the end had to change schools.
The defendant Paul Mullins offered €21,000 compensation for psychological trauma which was approved by Judge Matthew Deery.
Posted: December 16th, 2011
A Wicklow man has been awarded almost €16,000 in compensation after he sustained whiplash injuries that affected a training programme he was undertaking for weight loss.
The Circuit Court heard how Declan O’Hora of Blessington sustained injuries to his neck and shoulders following a road traffic accident in October 2008. The injuries prevented Mr. O’Hora from continuing with swimming exercises designed to assist with a weight loss problem, and it also led to the development of sleep apnoea which is a condition that disrupts sleep patterns.
As liability had been conceded by Brian Duggan of Knocklyon, County Dublin who was the negligent driver, Mr Justice Matthew Deery instructed that just under €16,000 should be awarded in compensation.
Posted: November 23rd, 2011
A man who suffered a serious brain injury from a hit and run accident after a night out, has been awarded €2 million in compensation by the High Court in Dublin.
Paul Gogarty (35) from Kingscourt, County Cavan was walking home after a night out when he was hit by a vehicle which failed to stop. The victim suffered a severe bilateral traumatic brain injury and as a result of this, he has been forced to give up his job as a factory worker.
The driver of the vehicle was never traced, therefore Paul’s brother, Oliver took a claim for road traffic accident compensation was brought against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). The High Court heard how Paul’s injuries have left him requiring lifelong care and on-going treatment for post-traumatic epilepsy and as a result he has suffered persistent cognitive and behavioral problems.
Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns was told that an offer of €2 million in compensation had been made by the MIBI which the family had agreed to accept and the judge approved the settlement adding that an application would be made to make Mr.Gogarty a ward of court.
Posted: October 12th, 2011
Represented by their father, three children have successfully claimed whiplash compensation for whiplash injuries they sustained when their mother’s car was rear-ended in an Accident in January 2007.
Circuit Court President Justice Matthew Deery heard how the children had received treatment for recurrent and protracted symptoms of their injuries from the family GP and a specialist consultant. In an action brought through the children´s father, Daniel and Thomas Hopkins were awarded €20,000 while their sister Rachael was awarded €16,000. The whiplash compensation awarded will be released to the victims from court funds when they reach 18 years of age.
Posted: August 6th, 2011
The frequency of the payment compensation system has been criticised by Mr Justice John Quirke in the High Court.
The judge was unhappy with the system of compensation settlements when awarding more than 5 million Euros to Caroline Bogue of Belturbet, County Cavan following a settlement with the Motor Insurance Board of Ireland (MIBI) after a road traffic accident.
Mr Justice John Quirke argued that staged payments for awards of personal injury compensation would be much more beneficial to victims as the value of this settlement represented just 60% of what the claim was worth. Ms Bogue suffered serious brain damage in May 2003 when the car in which she was a passenger, crashed into a tree just outside of her home town of Belturbet.
As a result of the accident Ms Bogue requires around the clock care, has difficulty sleeping as well as poor short-term memory and slow speech. The Judge commented that he believed the settlement would be insufficient for her lifetime and that she will become reliant on the State.
As the MIBI had argued that Ms Bogue was aware the driver of the car was uninsured there was a risk she would receive less compensation if the claim went to a full hearing. However a new payment compensation system for victims is due to be introduced shortly.
Posted: July 14th, 2011
A 14-year-old girl has been awarded €20,000 in wing mirror injury compensation at the Circuit Civil Court after she was struck in the head by a wing mirror at a pedestrian crossing on Old Finglas Road in March 2007.
Megan Ledden of Glasnevin, Dublin was knocked unconscious as she fell back and hit her head on the ground. As a result of the accident she was left with permanent faint scarring under the hairline on her forehead, although fortunately it is not visible. The claim for wing mirror injury compensation was taken against the owner of a mini-bus and Mr Justice Matthew Deery approved the settlement and also awarded legal costs
Posted: June 27th, 2011
A brain injury victim has successfully claimed compensation for a car accident after the uninsured car in which she was travelling as a passenger crashed into a tree, resulting in catastrophic injuries.
Caroline Bogue of Belturbet, County Cavan was awarded over €5 million in a High Court settlement in a case taken against the car driver Declan Bogue, the car ower Ciaran Bogue, and the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland. The settlement was made without the admittance of liability as it was argued that Caroline Bogue was aware that car was not insured and was allegedly taken without the permission of the owner. While awarding the compensation for a car accident Mr Justice John Quirke said that the case highlighted the need for a new system of staged payments in personal injuries cases.
Posted: April 10th, 2011
A Dublin man has been awarded €25,000 in the Circuit Civil Court after he sustained a needle injury on Dublin Bus from a syringe left on a seat. The accident occurred in February 2005 on the 78A at the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre terminus.
The victim, Garreth Quinn of Clondalkin alerted the driver who called an ambulance. Tests on the syringe found no contamination but it was still 3 years before it could be guaranteed that Quinn was not infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
Awarding Mr.Quinn €25,000 in compensation for the needle injury on Dublin Bus, Judge Joseph Mathews found that visual inspections by Dublin Dub staff were not sufficient and that crevices in seats on buses should be probed for needles and syringes.
Posted: March 24th, 2011
The family of a woman who was killed in a drunk driving accident have been awarded €506,000 in damages at the High Court.
Bridget O’Reilly of Ballybeg, Waterford was killed when the drunk driver of a car she was a passenger in crossed over to the wrong side of the road and crashed head-on into another vehicle. The compensation claim was taken by her husband Edward O’Reilly against the drunk driver of the car Frank Prendergast of Tallaght, County Dublin, and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland.
Mrs O’Reilly leaves behind nine children, the youngest of which was only 3 years old and they are now being cared for by her sister.