€50k for cyclist knocked off bike by horses

A cyclist who was badly hurt and feared he would be trampled after two horses bolted from a field during a charity cycle has received over €50,000 in damages.

The award disclosure came during a district court sitting in Tralee, Co Kerry, yesterday,where a charge against a man of allowing horses to wander was before the court for review. It emerged the farmer and his insurance company FBD had accepted an assessment of damages by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, the court was told.

The civil claim for personal injuries and damages had been lodged by solicitor Padraig O’Connell on behalf of cyclist John Lanigan, of 106 Pinewood Estate, Killarney.

Horse owner and farmer Michael O’Halloran, of Heir Hill, Ballyheigue, had denied a charge under the Control of Horses Act of wilfully allowing the horses to wander on the road at Dirtane, Ballyheigue, on March 23, 2013. He had claimed a charity cycle race had involved the use of sirens which upset the horses causing them to jump a 5ft secure fence.

However, Judge James O’Connor had earlier found against Mr O’Halloran and adjourned penalty until the civil case had been finalised.

Solicitor Joe Mannix reminded the judge he had indicated to take a certain course of action if the civil matter was resolved. Mr Mannix said the defendant had been powerless in relation to the events of the day. Last June, he said, the same horses had been in the field in thunder and lightning and never left.

Judge O’Connor said the compensation was satisfactory and adjourned the case to July 1 for the defendant to make a €1,000 payment to the court’s poor box. The charge would be struck out if the defendant complied.

Mr Lanigan was on the main road when two horses came galloping towards him and knocked him off his bike. He thought, at the time, he was going to be trampled. He suffered a broken ankle, received 18 stitches to his left leg, and fractured his right ankle. Mr Mannix said that the injured man received a “generous” and substantial amount from Mr O’Halloran’s insurance. Mr O’Connell described it as a “reasonable” amount to which Mr Mannix replied it was “in the region of €50,000”.

The judge said the compensation was satisfactory.

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