Young man left in wheelchair after being knocked down by driver suffering epileptic fit settles for €9.75m

Young man left in wheelchair after being knocked down by driver suffering epileptic fit settles for €9.75m

A teenager who sustained life-altering injuries after he was hit by a van as he crossed a road in Dublin city centre has settled his High Court action for €9.75m.

Joshua Sweeney who is now 22 years of age, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told, is non-verbal and has to use state-of-the-art eye gaze technology to help him speak. He has to use a wheelchair and needs 24-hour care.

Plumber's assistant and secondary school student Joshua Sweeney was crossing the road near Bus Aras in Dublin city centre on March 18, 2017, when he was knocked down.

Interested in gaming and computers he had earlier in the day attended a gaming conference in the capital and was planning to get a bus home to Donegal. He suffered a skull fracture, a brain injury and other injuries and later had to have surgery.

Joshua Sweeney (aged 22) of Eoghasel, Stranorlor, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal had sued the driver of the van John Paul Maguire, Kerlogue Road, Irishtown, Dublin and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland.

He alleged that suddenly and without warning he was struck and knocked down as he lawfully crossed the road.

He claimed against the driver that there was an alleged failure to keep any or any proper lookout and an alleged failure to take any effective evasive action. The claims were denied.

The young man was rushed to hospital where he underwent an operation which involved intra-cranial pressure and monitoring.

Last year the van driver, John Maguire, who has epilepsy was jailed for three-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious harm to Mr Sweeney . He also pleaded guilty to driving while suffering from a disease or mental disability which would render him a danger to the public. He had no previous convictions.

In the Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Martin Nolan heard doctors had warned Maguire not to drive for a year after his last epileptic seizure, just two months before the accident. Maguire later told gardaí he had no recollection of the accident as he was having an epileptic fit at the time.

Passing sentence and disqualifying Maguire from driving for six years , Judge Nolan said a fine young man had been left dependent for the rest of his life. The judge told Maguire despite the clear mitigating circumstances in the case, he had a “serious moral culpability” by ignoring an obvious risk.

The court heard evidence from a witness to the accident that when the vehicle stopped he saw the driver frothing from the mouth and lying down in the passenger seat.

In the High Court, Michael Byrne SC for Mr Sweeney told the court Joshua is cared for by his mother and it is their wish he can now be looked after at home.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross said Mr Sweeney had suffered a life-altering accident. He said the settlement was a good one and the man's legal representatives had done a very good job for him.

The Sweeneys were not in court for the approval of the settlement.

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