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.