€2.9m for boy blinded in crash with mother

A SETTLEMENT of €2.9m was approved by the High Court yesterday in the case of a four-year-old boy blinded and severely brain damaged when an uninsured car, driven by his mother, collided with a wall while he was in the back seat.

The court was told there was a possibility that stem cell treatment being undertaken in Dusseldorf, Germany, might have very significant possibiliites for the child’s brain development.

The infant, Ben McHale, sued through his uncle, Wiliam McHale. The action was taken against his mother, Disislave McHale, a Bulgarian national, the driver of the car, and his father Marcus McHale – both with an address at North View, Fethard Road, Clonmel, Co, Tipperary – together with the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland.

Counsel for the infant Michael Counihan SC said the car was being driven by the infant’s mother and was owned by his father. The accident occurred on April 23, 2006, on the Clonmel to Kilkenny road near Clonmel.

He was being attended to in the back of the car at the time of the accident and it seems the driver had some form of blackout and the car grazed off a tree and crashed into a wall.

Mr Counihan said the father had a valeting business but had to let it go to help look after his son with his mother. There had been an order for possession of their home because of the mortgage being €35,000 in arrears.

The court heard the child suffered a severe head injury as a result of the accident, which would necessitate him being made a ward of court, and was also blind.

Counsel pointed out that the child’s life expectancy was very limited and the suggestion was that he would not have more than 21 years of life.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice John Quirke extended sympathy to the family and said he felt it was an extremely good settlement.

Liability was conceded in the case.

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