A woman who was injured when she was hit by the wing mirror of a minibus as she crossed a road has been awarded over €192,000 by the High Court.
Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said there had been “a stark transformation”in Aideen O’Kelly’s working and social life since the accident and the 54-year old woman’s life is now “vastly different.”
Ms O’Kelly, she said was an expert sailor which she enjoyed at a very high competitive level three to four days a week during the sailing season, but cannot sail anymore.
Ms Justice O’Hanlon said the woman had said she was significantly involved in sailing and racing and had sailed in national championships before the accident but after the accident she could not balance properly on a boat.
“Despite her stoicism her daily living is not if the same quality as it was. She has to put up with imbalance, difficulty reaching items in her kitchen and difficulty in the normal day to day tasks,” the judge said.
Ms O’Kelly, 54, a medical representative from Killester, Dublin had sued Bus Éireann over the accident when she was knocked to the ground at Lough Atalia Road in the Galway harbour area on December 16, 2015.
Ms O’Kelly had told the court she was halfway across the road after 6pm in the evening, when she saw the minibus just before she was hit on the right shoulder by the wing mirror of the bus which was turning in to the road.
As a result of the accident, the judge said Ms O’Kelly had to have surgery, had to wear a neck brace for twelve weeks and is left with a scar on her neck.
Liability was accepted by Bus Éireann during the hearing of the case but it was contended Ms O’Kelly was also allegedly negligent.
Ms O’Kelly the judge said gave her evidence in a very clear and forthright manner without exaggerating her situation.
The judge found the Bus Éireann driver was “entirely negligent” in that he failed to keep a proper lookout and he failed to stay close enough to the left hand side in his own lane and he simply did not see Ms O’Kelly. The judge said the woman was crossing at an entirely appropriate and natural point and while it was dark, it was a very well it area.
Finding Bus Éireann liable, Ms Justice O’Hanlon concluded the driver took a sweeping movement forward as he made the turn and the woman had no chance of escape whatsoever.
Ms O’Kelly, the judge said, was lawfully present on the road having taken all appropriate precautions as she attempted to cross the road and that no liability attached to her.
Awarding a total of €192,573, Ms Justice O’Hanlon added that while Ms O’Kelly had managed to resume work, she reported suffering from a lack of dexterity and feeling in her hands which causes problems putting on jewellery or opening jars.
The judge refused to grant a stay in the event of an appeal.