Man Compensated for Brain Injuries after Lorry Collision

A six-figure settlement of compensation has been awarded to a young man who sustained severe brain injuries after a car crash.

The accident occurred on the 27th January 2009 when Francis Smith, aged eighteen from Edgeworthstown in Co. Longford, crashed into a stationary lorry. However, he collided with the lorry as he was attempting to avoid a head-on crash with another vehicle. The lorry had stopped close to where roadworks were being undertaken by the council.

As a result of the accident, Francis sustained dramatic brain injuries. He still suffers from both physical and cognitive difficulties, and has not been able to return to his job in a local factory. As it was determined that Francis was unfit to represent himself in legal proceedings, his mother made a claim for car injury compensation against the Longford County Council on her son’s behalf.

In the claim, it was alleged that by failing to adequately warn drivers of the roadworks, the County Council had been negligent. Francis’ mother alleged that there were no signs or other such indicators to show that the roadworks were being undertaken. Additionally, she claimed that the way the lorry was parked meant it projected onto the road, proving a hazard for motorists.

The county council argued that Francis had been negligent as he was driving too quickly, and as such had caused his own injury. However, once negotiations began between the party, the council agreed to pay a €750,000 compensation settlement to Francis for his brain injuries.

The settlement then proceeded to the High Court for approval by Mr Justice Kevin Cross – a necessary procedure, as the claim had been made on the behalf of someone unable to represent themselves in court.

After hearing the circumstances of the accident, Judge Cross approved the settlement, dismissing any allegations of contributory negligence. As he closed the hearing, he wished Francis well for the future.


Padraig Hearns (39) has been awarded compensation from Dublin City Council after being run over by a bin lorry in Dublin City, resulting in severe brain damage.

Padraig was lying on the street after being attacked during a night out in the Dublin Temple Bar area in April of 2007. Hurt and confused after the assault, he was unable to move out of the way before a bin lorry operated by Dublin City Council run him over, causing a fractured skull and severe arm injuries.

He was immediately brought to hospital, where he was treated for injuries to his head, arm and eye. He was put into an induced coma for a week, and spent several months following the incident confined to hospital to recover from the traumatic event.

Despite the level of care he received, Padraig sustained brain trauma and is now unable to care for himself. He is now dependant on his parents and siblings for his care, living in his parent’s home. He is also unable to return to work again in his life.

His parents made a claim for compensation from Dublin City Council on Padraig’s behalf for the bin lorry injury sustained. The defendants denied liability for the accident. Their solicitors argued that they were not at fault for Padraig lying in the path of the lorry, and therefore could not be held responsible.

The case was brought to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Michael Peart. The judge pointed out to the defendants that Dublin City Council had ignored its own by-laws that had been introduced mere months before the incident; they were not permitted to collect waste from the Temple Bar area between 12:00pm and 6:00pm, which they had been doing at the time of the incident.

Judge Peart also pointed out that the City Council had a duty of care to ensure that the scene was safe for the truck to move through the area by having an employee outside of the truck to survey the area. They had failed in this duty when they neglected to notice Padraig lying on the road beneath the lorry.

The judge further commented that “It makes complete sense from a public safety point of view that these large refuse trucks would not be permitted to try and negotiate their way through an area such as the narrow and crowded streets of Temple Bar when so many people are present”.

A settlement of €4,885,888 in injury compensation for the bin lorry accident was awarded to Padraig. This was the sum of €266,341 for loss of earnings, €155,230 for care costs to date, €350,000 for his suffering and €3,485,000 to cover his future care costs. The City Council also had to pay for legal costs covering the trial.



A settlement of €1.2 million has been awarded to a woman who suffered extensive injuries and lost opportunities as a result of a hit and run incident with a drunk driver in June of 2009.

Laura Byrne, then twenty-one, was walking with friends on the street in Wexford when she was hit by a vehicle driven by Karl Chrzan, who was intoxicated at the time. Laura was thrown into the air, landing on the bonnet of the car. Her head cracked against the windscreen of the car, causing major trauma. The student was immediately brought the Waterford Regional Hospital for initial treatment of her injuries, but later had to be transferred to a hospital in Cork to receive specialist care.

Laura was forced to abandon her studies in veterinary science as a result of the complications of the injury. Her balance had been severely affected, and suffered bouts of double-vision. Her left arm continuous to be physically weaker than her right to this day.

Chrzan immediately fled the scene in the vehicle following the incident, citing his panicked state as the cause of these actions. Following a police investigation, it was revealed that he had consumed multiple beers and vodka before taking control of the vehicle.

He was charged and arrested by the Gardaí for the hit and run incident. Chrzan was sentenced to three years in prison for dangerous driving that resulted in serious harm. He was also banned from driving for six years following the incident.

Laura made a claim for compensation as a result of her hit and run injury against the Motor Insurers Board of Ireland (MIBI). The vehicle involved in the incident was Chrzan’s partner’s, and he was not insured to drive it, resulting in MIBI having to settle the compensation claim. The sum of €1.2 million was negotiated as adequate settlement.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement at the High Court in Dublin. She noted that it was good compensation considering the circumstances of the case, although no sum of money could consolidate the trauma that the young student had experienced. The judge further hoped that the money would make Laura’s life more comfortable for her following the incident.


A settlement of €17,800 has been awarded by the Circuit Civil Court to a fourteen year old girl who suffered respiratory distress syndrome as a results of her mother going into premature labour two days after being involved in a road accident.

Aoife Sheenan was born two days after her mother, Martina, was involved in a collision on Templeroan Road in April, 1999. Neither Martina nor the other driver, Elaine O’Connor, was injured in the incident. However, the shock of the collision allegedly caused Martina to go into early labour at thirty-six weeks. After two days, Aoife was born at Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

Aoife was immediately transferred to the neo-natal unit and placed on a ventilator after suffering respiratory distress syndrome. She remained there, critically ill, for three weeks while being served medication in an attempt to assist with her breathing. Eventually, the prematurely delivered baby was capable of breathing on her own.

On her daughter’s behalf, Martina sought legal advice in order to make a case for compensation for injuries to the foetus. Arguing that had the accident not occurred, Aoife would not have been born premature, and therefore would not have suffered the illness that she did.

Elaine O’Connor’s insurers denied the claim, citing the fact that there was no medical evidence to support the claim that Aoife was born premature as a result of the incident. They also claimed that premature babies were inherently predisposed to respiratory distress syndrome. Therefore, they claimed that Ms O’Connor was not liable for the injuries.

In spite of these challenges, Martina and Aoife’s solicitors pursued with the claim. Judge Matthew Deery heard the case for foetal injuries in a car crash at the Circuit Civil Court. A settlement was agreed upon, and it was negotiated that Aoife would receive €17,800 for her injuries. The compensation is to be paid in court funds until Aoife reaches the age of eighteen years old.