Michael Lynch, 37, from Glanmire village, Cork, claims he has suffered severe urological injuries that require him to wear a catheter and has left him with erectile dysfunction.
The accident happened at a construction site in Ballyseedy, Co Kerry, on February 17, 2004, shortly before he was due to get married. As a result, he says that in order to have a family he and his wife had to undergo assisted reproduction treatment, which was successful, and their first child was born last month.
Mr Lynch is seeking damages alleging negligence against his employer, Denis Moriarty (The Kerries) Ltd, Basin View, Tralee, and against Pat O’Donnell and Co Ltd, with registered offices at Richmond Avenue, Fairview, Dublin, the suppliers of the machinery involved in the accident.
The two companies do not deny breach of statutory duty but claim there was contributory negligence because the fitter failed to properly organise the task he was engaged in, Mr Lynch’s counsel, Dr John O’Mahony, told the court yesterday.
On the day of the accident, Dr O’Mahony said, Mr Lynch was asked to remove for repair a component, a defective hydraulic ram, on a Volvo excavator.
He arrived on the construction site to find a high altitude machine, which was needed for the job, had just been removed and was told he could work from the bucket of another excavator, which was raised and lowered by another operative.
In the course of being brought down, having completed the job, the operative made an error of judgment and moved the bucket the wrong way, crushing Mr Lynch between the two machines. As a result, Dr O’Mahony said, Mr Lynch suffered “horrific injuries”.
Among them was a compound fracture of his right thigh bone, fracture of his pubic bone and a fracture of his pelvis, which could not be easily repaired because of his multiple injuries.
He underwent a number of surgical procedures including reconstructive urethral surgery and he required subsequent treatment as an outpatient.
As a result of the surgery, he has erectile dysfunction because there has been severe damage to the nerves and blood vessels that cause an erection.
This is a permanent condition and while he had been on Viagra medication and he has also tried direct injection treatment into his penis, but “alas this has not provided satisfaction,” his counsel said. Should his condition remain severe, he may require penile prosthesis surgery, counsel said.
He and his wife underwent intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment, which was successful and their first child was born on October 27.
The court also heard Mr Lynch returned to work with his employer, on lighter duties, 14 months after the accident. However, his prospects in his chosen trade were diminished by the injuries he suffered.
The case continues.