Peter Fagan, a 32 year old Engineer who sustained significant injuries in a road traffic accident on 2nd May 2005 has been awarded £1,389,000.00 damages by the High Court.
Giving Judgement Mr. Justice Cross outline the life changing impact the injuries sustained by the Plaintiff had on him.
The Plaintiff had been travelling from Dublin Northwards to pick up his girlfriend to go for dinner with his eldest sister and her husband when near Navan, Co. Meath a motor vehicle crossed onto its incorrect side of the road and collided head on with the Plaintiff’s vehicle. Liability was admitted on behalf of the Third Party and the case proceeded in the High Court as an Assessment of Damages only.
The Plaintiff sustained the following injuries:
- The Plaintiff suffered from amnesia for a number of weeks post-accident and the amnesia is permanent.
- The Plaintiff suffered a significant head injury.
- The Plaintiff sustained a fracture of the sternum together with minor lung contusions in the left base of the lung.
- The Plaintiff suffered a small splenic contusion.
- The Plaintiff underwent a laparotomy which revealed free peritoneal blood and two tares of the small bowel was bleeding from the inferior pole of the spleen.
- The Plaintiff underwent a splenecitomy and the non viable segment of a small bowel was resected.
- The Plaintiff suffered double vision which led to forth cranial nerve quality on his right hand side.
- The Plaintiff was left with a clicking sensation in his ankle and had difficulty with his gait.
- The Plaintiff sustained a soft tissue injury to his back.
- The Plaintiff suffered an injury to his front tooth which was knocked out in the accident and which required a root canal treatment.
- The Plaintiff suffered a diminution in his sense of taste and smell which related to his head injury.
- The Plaintiff’s personality underwent a radical change arising from the head injury sustained.
Judge Cross went through the effects of the accident on the Plaintiff’s physical and psychological well-being. The Court heard evidence from a number of expert witnesses and members of the Plaintiff’s own family. The Court heard that the Plaintiff had difficulty holding down jobs since the accident. Judge Cross accepted that the Plaintiff’s personality change and his consequences are likely to be lifelong which are going to require on-going professional support by a Brain Injury Rehabilitation Community Service. The Court also found that the Plaintiff’s anxiety symptoms were such that he had a risk of developing a significant anxiety of depressive disorder into the future.
An Actuary gave evidence on behalf of the Plaintiff at the hearing and having considered the expert evidence Judge Cross made the following award of special damages:
- Loss of earnings to date €30,950.00
- Dental fees €7,300.00
- Future treatments €3,025.00
- Costs of future care €300,000
- Cost of continuation of current psychotherapy €10,000
- On-going GP fees €9,133
- Additional Medication €28,341
- Additional Medication €48,221
- Loss of Future Earnings €5,321.60
Judge Cross indicated that the purpose of damages in a Tort Action is to put the Plaintiff in the same position, insofar as money can do so, as he would have been had the wrongly been committed. The Judge stated that the Plaintiff’s injuries were very significant indeed. The Plaintiff was on course for a significant career as an Engineer with a good circa of friends and has now been left in the position of having a substantial insult to his life which is likely to be permanent. The Judge assessed general damages in the sum of €150,000 for pain and suffering to date and €100,000 for pain and suffering into the future being a total of €250,000.