The High Court has dismissed a claim by Damien O’Hara against Eirebus Ltd. and Brioni Lane. In a judgement delivered on the 2nd of December 2011 the Plaintiff’s claim was dismissed.
The background to the case is that the Plaintiff, who was born on the 11th of November 1975 sustained significant injuries when he was struck by a vehicle on the N6 roadway close to Rochfortbridge on the 11th of November 2007.
The Plaintiff had earlier been amongst a party of about 30 members of a football club who had travelled to Tullamore to watch a football match on the same date. They travelled down by coach, owned and operated by the first named defendant. On the route back the driver of the coach pulled the coach onto the hard shoulder of the N6 carriageway after he was requested by a number of passengers to stop so that passengers could go to the toilet. The Plaintiff got off to go the toilet. The next thing the Plaintiff knew the coach was driving off without him. He banged on the side of the coach to try to stop it leaving but to no avail.
The Plaintiff then walked on the carriageway in a very dark area and subsequently he became aware of life behind him. He turned around to see an oncoming car and at which stage he realised that he had veered from the hard shoulder and was actually in the fast lane of the carriageway. The Plaintiff immediately ran in the direction of the motorway but unfortunately was struck by the off side of the second named defendant’s vehicle as he got to the centre of the east bound carriageway. The Plaintiff sustained a number of serious injuries.
The Plaintiff sued the Defendants claiming negligence. He maintained that the first named defendant Eirebus Ltd. was negligent in a number of respects as follows:
- He claims that the coach driver ought not to have pulled onto the hard shoulder of the carriageway so as to permit himself and others to get off the coach.
- He claims that this was extremely hazardous due to inadequate lighting and that the coach driver ought to have stopped the coach at the earlier lay-by which was close to Rochfortbridge.
- Alternatively the driver should have driven on to the next lay-by.
- It was further maintained by the Plaintiff that having stopped the coach the driver was negligent in failing to ensure whether by way of conducting a head count or otherwise that all of the passengers were back on the coach prior to it taking off.
- It was further alleged that the failure on the part of the coach driver to open a locked toilet on the coach was negligent and in breach of contract.
The Plaintiff claimed negligence as against the second named defendant as follows:
- That she was not keeping a proper look out.
- That she was negligent in that she was driving with dipped headlights thus significantly reducing her ability to assess the safety of the road ahead.
- It was claimed that if she felt it was necessary to drive on dipped headlights that she should have reduce her speed to that which would have permitted her to stop in the distance she could see to be clear ahead.
- Alternatively it was maintained that had she been driving on full beam headlights that she would have seen the Plaintiff in sufficient time to allow her to take evasive action.
- The Judge found no liability on the part of the first and second named defendants. The Judge stated that this was a case that the Plaintiff was injured because of a series of actions on his part for which he must accept full responsibility. The Judge dismissed the case.