Courts

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Is this the unluckiest man in Ireland?

Judge told how engineer sustained eight injuries in skylight fall, crashes and work accidents

Greg Harkin

Published 28/02/2014|14:47

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HE has been in car accidents, had a mishap on a quad bike, fallen though a skylight suffering numerous broken bones in the process and must be wondering if he's Ireland's unluckiest man.

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Now engineer Seamus O'Donnell (28), has been awarded €20,000 in damages by a judge.

The award comes after a court heard he still suffers pain from a car crash in which he drove his vehicle into a truck that pulled out in front of him in 2008.

The court heard how Mr O'Donnell has had eight accidents in his life, seven of those in the past few years.

Judge Mary Faherty was told by Fiona Crawford, barrister for the truck owner and his insurer, Liberty Insurance, that the settlement was being contested on the grounds that Mr O'Donnell's speed was an alleged factor in the collision.

IMPACT

However, the judge was also asked to consider what impact the injuries suffered by Mr O'Donnell since the February 2008 crash had had on his health.

The court heard that Mr O'Donnell had been in another car crash in July 2009.

It also heard he suffered injuries in a quad bike accident in 2012.

Mr O'Donnell, from Drumoghill, Manorcunningham, Co Donegal, was driving his brother's Honda Civic at Brockagh, St Johnston, at around 8pm on February 17, 2008, when the crash happened.

He alleged that a Scania 143 lorry being driven by David Nesbitt, from Ardagh, Lifford, reversed from a side road in front of him.

Mr O'Donnell was rushed to Letterkenny hospital where he was treated for leg and rib injuries.

He continued to suffer pain as a result of the various accidents, he told the court.

seamus-o'donnell.jpg

These included:

* A chest injury after an eight-foot fall through a skylight in 1991 when he was aged six.

* A broken jaw sustained during a work accident in September 2005.

* Broken ribs in a car crash in February 2006.

* A broken jaw in an accident at work in September 2007.

* Leg and other injuries in the car crash dealt with in this case in February 2008.

* Soft tissue injuries when a car drove into him in Co Donegal in 2009.

* Further minor injuries when he tripped and fell in Letterkenny in June 2011.

* A broken bone in his chest when a quad he was driving on the family farm overturned and fell on top of him in May 2012.

However, Mr O'Donnell had not made any other claims for compensation in relation to any of the other accidents, the court heard.

Judge Mary Faherty ruled that the lorry driver had been fully responsible for the crash.

She said it was "extremely difficult" to decide to what extent subsequent injuries suffered by Mr O'Donnell had contributed to his current ill-health.

However, she said she believed compensation of €20,000 was appropriate.

She also awarded him medical costs of €316 and legal costs.

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