An €80,000 settlement has been approved by the High Court for a girl who sustained injuries after her aunt suffered a partial seizure when driving her car in which the child was a passenger.
In approving the settlement for Caoimhe Coyle, of Glenhoe, Carrigart, Co. Donegal, aged seven and strapped into the car at the time of the accident six years ago, Mr Justice Garrett Simons said it was a “very unusual” case.
While the child’s aunt, Nora McHugh, was the cause of the accident in the physical sense, there was a significant issue whether she had any legal liability in light of medical evidence she suffered a partial seizure at the time and cannot be held responsible, he was told.
Ms McHugh may have a full defence to liability due to her medical condition and the plaintiff faced a “huge hurdle” concerning liability if the case proceeded to trial, counsel for the child said.
Caoimhe, now aged 13, has made a good recovery from her injuries, including a pelvic injury described as moderate to severe, the judge heard. She had also suffered a soft tissue injury to her neck and anxiety.
Through her mother, Mary Ann Coyle, Caoimhe had sued her aunt over the accident and the case came before the judge today via an application on behalf of the child to rule the settlement offer.
The judge said, given the grave risk to the plaintiff concerning proving liability if the matter went to trial, the settlement offer of €80,000, representing some 75% of the full value of the claim, was a very good one and he would approve it.