Cork man who suffered severe head injury after van driven by learner lost control awarded €10m

Cork man who suffered severe head injury after van driven by learner lost control awarded €10m
William White outside court. Pic: Collins

A young man who sustained a brain injury when the van he was in spun out of control as its learner driver who had been drinking took a bend has settled his High Court action for €10m.

William White who was sitting between the front seats and was not wearing a seat-belt was thrown out a window when the driver overcorrected on a bend and hit a ditch twice as they travelled home after a night out.

Mr White’s counsel Thomas Creed SC told the High Court Mr White and the driver of the van, James Lordan, had been drinking and playing pool for about three hours until 1.30am and then headed home in the van along with two others.

The small van, Counsel said, struck the ditch twice. The driver and two other passengers, he said, emerged unscathed but Mr White suffered a severe head injury.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the settlement reflects that Mr White, who was not wearing a seat-belt was deemed 45% at fault and the driver was 55% to blame.

Mr White from Dunmanway, Co Cork was only 20 years of age when the accident occurred at Inchincurka, Dunmanway just a few days before Christmas 2013

In the High Court today Mr Justice Cross was told William cannot talk or walk, needs to use a wheelchair and requires 24-hour care.

William White of Derrinacahara, Dunmanway, Co.Cork, had through his mother Eleanor White sued the owner and driver of the van James Lordan (aged 24) of Droumdrastil, Dunmanway, Co Cork over the accident on December 21, 2013. It was claimed Lordan drove too fast and allegedly failed to have any adequate regard to physical features and conditions prevailing at the time and place of the collision.

Mr White was unconscious when admitted to hospital and a CT scan showed multiple haemhorrhagic brain contusions. He was in a coma for five weeks.

Cork man who suffered severe head injury after van driven by learner lost control awarded €10m

Four years ago James Lordan in Cork Circuit Criminal Court pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing serious harm to William White and to drink-driving on December 21,2013.

Judge Donagh McDonagh who said the crash had occurred due to a momentary lapse of concentration fined Lordan €3,500 and disqualified him from driving for four years and three months.

The judge said imprisoning the driver would achieve nothing by way of punishment or rehabilitation of a defendant, who was remorseful and also suffering the consequences of his actions.

At the time William’s father Michael told the Cork Circuit Criminal Court his son was in a coma for five weeks after the accident.

“He loved his girlfriend and his life and was very happy,” he said.

But now his and our lives have changed dramatically as he needs 24-hour-a-day care now and in to the future.

Mr Michael White told the High Court today his son is making progress and his family every six months see changes.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross said William White was doing what young men frequently do and unfortunately he now has had to deal with profound circumstances.

He said the settlement is to help him throughout his life

He praised the White family for the care they have given William and offered them the congratulations of the court for what they have done. He wished William and his family well for the future.

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