Posted: September 11th, 2021
A High Court action for compensation related to brain injuries caused by a crash involving an uninsured driver, has been settled for €14.75m recently.
Olivia Redmond O’Callaghan (37), from Gowlane South, Donoughmore, Co Cork, took the legal action against her late husband’s estate, Cork County Council and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), the body which compensates victims of uninsured driving, in relation to the road traffic accident.
Ms Redmond O’Callaghan, who was 28 at the time of the collision, took the legal action in relation the injuries she sustained when the car that was being driven by her husband crashed into a tractor and trailer. Due to the crash she suffered major brain damage and requires 24-hour care for the remainder of her life after the accident.
When the crash occurred the driver of the car she was travelling in, her husband Myles O’Callaghan, was uninsured. Mr O’Callaghan lost his life in the incident. The court was told that Ms Redmond O’Callaghan, who gave birth to her third child months after the accident, is unable to recognise her children or photographs of her husband,
Ms Redmond O’Callaghan was unable to attend court or give evidence in the legal action taken through her stepfather, Liam Power. The court was informed by Dr John O’Mahony SC, with Patrick Keane SC, instructed by solicitor John Henchion, for Ms Redmond O’Callaghan that her mental competency is “at the bottom of the spectrum”
He said: “She carried her baby through all the trauma but she never regained awareness of the reality of her environment or home. She doesn’t recognise her children. She has no engagement with anybody”. He referred to Norma Redmond Power, Ms Redmond O’Callaghan’s mother as ‘heroic’. Along with Olivia’s stepfather Liam Power they are regarded as parents by the three O’Callaghan children.
It was claimed that Cork County Council had constructed a defective public roadway which was dangerous to road users which featured a very tight bend with a radius of curvature which was allegedly below the minimum acceptable standard. It was also alleged that high vegetation was allowed to grow on the embankment of the road which allegedly restricted forward visibility.
Other claims included that there had been no warning of the sharp left-hand bend. Cork Council refuted all of these claims, arguing that the bend was visible for 210 metres and there was a camber on the bend that it said benefits drivers negotiating it. It was also stated that the accident was caused by the alleged negligence of the late Mr O’Callaghan.
Defending these claims, the MIBI, claimed Ms Redmond O’Callaghan was negligent by knowingly travelling in a car when she was aware there was no valid insurance policy in place.
Dr O’Mahony said at the opening of the legal action that it was a case of “most profound sadness“ and the woman who lost her husband in the crash has had the “most appalling repertoire of profoundly serious injuries”. Settlement talks were held subsequently and the settlement was approved then approved by Justice Paul Coffey who referred to this as a a tragic case.
The settlement, the court heard, was made with the MIBI and Cork County Council.