Niamh Long, from Pallsagreen, in Co Limerick, was driving at Cloverfield in December 2014 with her three children, Charlie, then aged one; Pearse, then aged six; and Adam, then aged seven.
A Mr Binman refuse collection lorry approached and the car became wedged between the lorry and the ditch. Ms Long and the children could not get out of the vehicle.
Limerick Circuit Court heard that moments before the impact, Ms Long had screamed at the lorry driver to stop. As her car remained wedged, the driver of the Mr Binman lorry contacted his company and was instructed not to move his vehicle from the scene of the impact. This meant the Longs could not get out of the car.
The upset to the children was complicated by the fact that Ms Long was pregnant and could not get to them in the back seat of the car.
Medical reports showed the trauma to the children: one, who was toilet-trained, began to wet his bed; another, who had been afraid to travel in a car, following a previous road collision (in which his father was the driver), began to fear road travel once more.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly said the medical reports outlined how the children heard their mother scream at the truckdriver to stop, prior to the impact, and this caused them to become uncontrollably upset and traumatised. The fact they were trapped in the car for up to an hour added to this upset.
Judge O’Kelly said the medical report showed that one child remained fearful of further collisions when travelling by car. Another child had been very nervous of travel by car, until the family car was changed.
Judge O’Kelly approved damages of €10,000 for each child, with costs.