independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Girl awarded €18,000 over crash injuries she received in the womb

Martina Sheehan, who was 36 weeks pregnant with her daughter Aoife when the crash happened, outside court yesterday

A GIRL who was injured in a car crash two days before she was born has been awarded €18,000 damages 14 years later.

Aoife Sheehan was in her mother's womb when the incident happened in April 1999.

Barrister John Martin said Aoife's mother, Martina Sheehan, was 36 weeks pregnant with Aoife and driving the family car when another car crashed into her at Templeroan Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin.

He said the crash induced early labour which had resulted in a pre-term birth, leading to Aoife immediately suffering respiratory distress syndrome.

Judge Matthew Deery heard that within hours of birth the child was in the Coombe Hospital Intensive Care Unit.

By the evening of the birth, April 15, 1999, mechanical ventilation had to be initiated and she required medication to support her circulatory system.

The Circuit Civil Court heard that Aoife had been critically ill, and required neo-natal intensive care for almost three weeks.

Aoife, through her mother Martina, of Scholarstown Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin, had sued the owner of the other car involved in the crash, Elaine O'Connor of Orlagh Rise, Scholarstown Road.

Mr Martin said the defendants proffered a settlement of €15,000 damages, together with €2,800 special damages and he was recommending court approval of the offer.

He said that while pre-term babies were more pre-disposed to respiratory distress, medical experts may find it difficult to prove a pre-causal link with the accident.

Insurers for the defendant entered a full defence, which claimed that if Aoife suffered injury it had been caused prior to her birth and was not compensable in damages.

Judge Deery, approving the settlement, accepted that there could be substantial difficulties with liability, given the medical evidence available to them.

Irish Independent

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