Musician's brain injury court action is settled for €6.8m
A MUSIC student who suffered a devastating brain injury after her car was rear-ended on the way to a school Christmas carol service has settled her High Court action for €6.8m.
Hazel McGarrigle, who was a masters student of the Cork School of Music, remains minimally conscious, cannot speak or walk and needs 24-hour care.
Ms McGarrigle's visual perception is also restricted and she can only follow pictures, but her hearing is intact.
Approving the €6.8m settlement, Mr Justice Sean Ryan said it was a very satisfactory settlement and he praised the "heroism" of her family in the way they have looked after her.
He said Hazel had suffered and her career had been shattered, but the settlement was "a very satisfactory outcome to a terrible tragedy".
In a statement afterwards, the McGarrigle family said the tragic consequences of this accident for Hazel and her family could not be expressed in words.
"Our sole concern is that Hazel obtain optimum care in her own home.
"We intend to continue to care for her at home. This settlement will secure that goal and we hope it will ensure that Hazel can obtain all the care, therapy and assistance she needs and deserves for the rest of her life," it added.
Ms McGarrigle, now aged 30, of Drumstevlin House, Donegal town, had sued through her father, Noel McGarrigle, the driver of the other car, Breda Broderick of Sycamores, Classes Lake, Ovens, Co Cork as a result of the accident at Carr's Hill, Carrigaline, Co Cork on December 15, 2009.
It was claimed the other car collided with the rear of the vehicle, propelling Ms McGarrigle's car into a vehicle directly in front. At the time, Ms McGarrigle was second in line to turn out onto a main road.
The case was before the court for assessment of damages only as liability was conceded.
Counsel said while Ms McGarrigle was unfortunate in the accident, she has been singularly fortunate in the family she has.
He said her devoted parents and two brothers have cared for Hazel ever since.
He said the dedication of her family was remarkable and that her 34-year-old brother, who worked in Montenegro, had returned to Ireland with his family to become her carer, along with his parents Noel and Noeleen.