An award of €562,500 was made from Cork County Council to the family of a jogger who was killed while running on the side of the road.
The late John O’Riordan, a prison officer from Farnanes, Co Cork, tripped on a 12mm lip of tarmac and fell out in front of an oncoming lorry on September 29, 2011.
The €562,500 offer was approved by Mr Justice Henry Abbott at the High Court sitting in Cork. Mr Justice Abbott noted liability would have been an issue if the case had gone to trial.
“It would not be a foregone conclusion that you would bring it all home,” the judge said to the plaintiff’s counsel, John O’Mahony, in relation to proving liability against the defence.
Mr O’Mahony agreed that this would have been a huge uphill battle in a contested case, particularly so as there was a footpath on the opposite side of the road and that the late Mr O’Riordan was not using the footpath at the time.
Mr O’Mahony said the jogger was on the road facing oncoming traffic which would have been the correct place to be except for the fact that a footpath was available on the opposite side.
The jogger tripped on a 12mm lip where one section of tarmac met another and he fell out in front of an oncoming lorry.
Approving the sum on offer to Mr O’Riordan’s family, Mr Justice Abbott said: “The court is always sad to rule these fatal cases, but this is one of the saddest I have come across. It should help to give some element of closure.”
Mr O’Mahony said the ruling of the case could be against Cork County Council only and not any of the other defendants named in the proceedings. Counsel said that ultimately one defendant, the local authority, was carrying the can.
The fatal accident occurred at Ballyhooley Road, Ballyvolane, Cork, on September 29, 2011.
In a discussion about proving the facts if the case had been contested, Mr Justice Abbott referred to the fact that it happened six years ago but that nowadays, it was not uncommon for people involved in training like this to have a camera attached while running. However, that was not a factor in the in the present case.
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