The family of a Tipperary mother of two killed in a head-on car crash in which the other driver also died has settled a High Court action for €550,000.
Mary O’Donnell was a nurse at the Mid West Western Regional Hospital in Limerick and was believed to be on her way to work when the early morning accident occurred not far from her home six years ago.
Retired farmer and local historian John Ryan also from Tipperary, who was in his 80s and was the driver in the other car, also died in the collision. Mr Ryan was believed to have been on his way to catch a train at Limerick Junction when the accident occurred.
The case came before the High Court today when Mr Justice Garrett Simons approved a part of the settlement for Mrs O’Donnell’ two sons Patrick (aged 17) and Thomas (aged 14).
Mrs O’Donnell’s husband James of Barronstown, Limerick Junction, Co. Tipperary, had sued the executor of the estate of the late John Ryan, Ballyryan, Monard, Co. Tipperary, over the accident at Ballykisteen, Limerick Junction in West Co. Tipperary on October 16, 2014.
It was claimed that a car driven by the pensioner crossed onto his incorrect side of the road causing a head-on collision.
It was claimed Mr Ryan had become distracted when driving and failed to keep his vehicle from the roadside kerb. It was further claimed Mr Ryan’s car had collided with the kerb on his side of the road and his car had been forced into the oncoming carriageway and into the path of Mrs O’Donnell’s car.
A defence had been lodged in the case in which it was accepted the crash was caused by the late Mr Ryan in and about the care and management and control of his vehicle.
It was acknowledged that the death of 47-year-old Mrs O’Donnell has been the cause of significant grief, upset and distress for the O’Donnell family.
It was also contended that there may have been an aspect of alleged contributory negligence in the case as Mrs O’Donnell was allegedly not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the accident.
Mr Justice Garrett Simons was told during a remote hearing this was an issue in the case. Gardaí reported Mr Ryan had been wearing his seatbelt but it appeared Mrs O’Donnell may not have been.
Approving amounts of just over €60,000 each for Mrs O’Donnell’s sons, Mr Justice Simons said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement. He noted it was a very tragic case.
The judge said there were significant issues in the case in relation to alleged contributory negligence in relation to Mrs O’Donnell and whether she was wearing a seatbelt.