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.