Monday 24 November 2014

Father sues over death of daughter in road accident

Tim Healy

Published 25/07/2014 | 17:04

The landmark case is believed to be the first of its kind to be taken against a private investigator
Noreen Murphy, Lakeside Park, Newbridge, Co Kildare, was aged almost 18 when the accident occurred at Friarstown, Co Kildare on September 9, 2011.

A father has sued over the death of his young daughter, a mother of one, just days after she suffered catastrophic head injuries in a road accident in Co Kildare.

Noreen Murphy, Lakeside Park, Newbridge, Co Kildare, was aged almost 18 when the accident occurred at Friarstown, Co Kildare on September 9, 2011.

She was a passenger travelling in the cargo area of a Ford Transit van driven by John Connors, with an address at Labre Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin, when the vehicle failed to take a right-hand bend and collided with a tree, Henry Hickey SC told the High Court.

Ms Murphy suffered catastrophic brain injuries and died six days later, on September 15, 2011, at Beaumont Hospital.

Two other passengers, one travelling in the front seat and the other alongside Ms Murphy in the cargo area, suffered serious leg injuries while the driver was "more or less unscathed", counsel said.

Ms Murphy, a lone parent,  left behind a daughter, then aged just 11 months, now aged three and being cared for by Ms Murphy's father Joseph and two daughters, who live with him at Lakeside Park.  He has three other adult daughters and his wife had died some years earlier, the court heard.

This is "a very united family who dealt with this disaster in an exemplary fashion", Mr Hickey said.

Mr Murphy, on behalf of his grand-daughter and family, has sued Mr Connors alleging negligence.

In his defence, Mr Connors has alleged contributory negligence in that Ms Murphy had travelled in the cargo area of the van where there were no seats and consequently no seat belts.

Opening the action before Mr Justice Sean Ryan, Mr Hickey said their case was Mr Connors had driven "grossly negligently" and this high-impact collision was likely to result in significant injuries.  Their argument was Mr Connors must also accept responsibility for allowing Ms Murphy travel in the cargo area where there was no restraint.

Mr Hickey said they would also argue there was no need to have two people in the back of the van because there were three seats in the front of the vehicle.

Edward Walsh SC, for Mr Connors, said his side was pleading contributory negligence and that Ms Murphy allowed herself be transported in the van. There was no suggestion she was there involuntarily, counsel said.

The case resumes on Tuesday.

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