A 59-YEAR-OLD Rosscarbery woman who suffered catastrophic injuries when she was struck by iron bars protruding from a passing trailer while out walking, settled her High Court case for damages in Dublin last week.
Frances O’Driscoll (59) of Burgatia, Rosscarbery, sued Michael Herlihy, also of Rosscarbery, who was the driver of the jeep and trailer, as well as his employer Claramore Construction Ltd of Claramore, Millstreet.
She had also sued the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), as Mr Herlihy did not have a valid insurance policy at the time of the accident in 2016.
Her counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC, told the High Court that Mrs O’Driscoll has been left with irreversible brain damage.
‘It is a sad and very serious case,’ he said. Dr O’Mahony said that Mrs O’Driscoll had gone from being an active energetic lady to somebody who will never work again.
Dr O’Mahony told Mr Justice Michael Hanna that Mrs O’Driscoll was walking along the Causeway, Rosscarbery, when metal bars on a passing trailer became loose and hit her on the legs, knocking her on her face to the ground.
Dr O’Mahony SC said Mrs O’Driscoll was on her morning walk on the Causeway on April 16th, 2016 when a jeep pulling the trailer came by. He said there were 12 iron bars in the trailer, each 20ft long, and they were protruding about 4ft from the back of the trailer.
Dr O’Mahony said the irons bars became loose and protruded from the side of the trailer. Mrs O’Driscoll was struck in the lower limbs and fell face-down on the pathway.
The court was told that Mrs O’Driscoll suffered appalling injuries including multiple fractures to her legs, her face and has lost complete vision in her left eye, and was in hospital for five months afterwards.
In evidence, Mrs O’Driscoll said she did not remember the accident. ‘I am not the same Frances. They say I was nearly left for dead – they should have let me die, I wouldn’t have to cope,’ she told the court. Mrs O’Driscoll broke down in tears in the witness box.
‘I don’t remember the accident. I was going back from my morning walk and it happened to me unfortunately.
‘The first thing I remember is being in hospital and they were putting needles in me. I just can’t cope with it. It is enough coming to Dublin to doctors, but having to come to court with this.’
Mrs O’Driscoll also said her daughter got married in June 2016 but she was still in hospital and was able to attend only in a wheelchair.
She said she used to love her job as a pharmacy assistant for 41 years and she loved to walk, swim and dance.
‘I miss it all, I miss it terribly,’ she said.
She added : ‘I am missing so much in my personal life, walking, dancing and swimming. I loved it.’
On the second day of the hearing after talks between the sides, Dr John O’Mahony SC told Mr Justice Hanna the case had been settled.
Mrs O’Driscoll will also get the costs of the proceedings from the MIBI.
Mr Justice Hanna congratulated the parties on reaching a settlement and he wished Mrs O’Driscoll well for the future.