Sunday 21 January 2018

€9m for student hit by bus

Hans Peter Tesch, father of Carlos Tesch of Las Madras, Madrid, Spain pictured leaving the Four Courts today
Hans Peter Tesch, father of Carlos Tesch of Las Madras, Madrid, Spain pictured leaving the Four Courts today

A Spanish student who suffered catastrophic injuries when he was hit by a bus has settled his High Court action for €9m.

Carlos Tesch, from Madrid, was only 12 years of age and learning English here when the tragic accident occurred in Bray, Co Wicklow, on February 4, 2009.

The boy suffered severe head injuries, including a fracture to the base of his skull, and cannot now fully walk or speak and is dependant on others in every feature of his life.

Through his father, Hans, he sued Dublin Bus which was found to be 70 per cent liable for the accident.  The company appealed and the Supreme Court upheld the decision before sending the case back to the High Court to decide how much he should receive.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the €9m settlement.

The court previously heard the schoolboy moved on to the road because he was fearful when he and his friends saw a group of older Irish boys who, it was alleged, had been involved in a confrontation with the younger Spanish boys before.

Carlos was with a number of Spanish friends on Herbert Road, Bray, when he ran into the road to get away from a number of local youths who allegedly previously confronted the students verbally while brandishing hurleys.

The students were a short distance up Herbert Road and had reached a lamp post when Carlos suddenly ran across the road and the bus, which was coming behind him, hit him. He suffered severe head injuries rendering him unable to walk or talk and requiring lifelong care.

Yesterday, Dermot Gleeson SC, his parents Hans and Mar Tesch, said the parents had done everything to make their son's life better and the accident had transformed all their lives.

Carlos, who is now 18, has been taken to China twice for stem cell treatment. He needed 24 hour care and during school hours was in a Spanish institute. His father had given up his managerial job for a time to look after his son.

Ms Justice Irvine said she was aware from dealing with  these cases involving catastrophic injuries what parents give up trying to maximise the situation for their children.

Outside court,  Hans Tesch said before the accident  his son  could run, play football and enjoy himself with his friends, but now he can only walk unsteadily  and cannot speak.

"Every day he is happy to be working with his therapists . We encourage him. He is now 18 years of age," Mr Tesch said.

Last year, after the High Court was shown CCTV footage from bus cameras and heard evidence from the driver and witnesses, including passengers. on the bus,  the court ruled Dublin Bus was 70 per cent liable while Carlos was 30 per cent due to "dashing" across the road.

Upholding the High Court decision, the Supreme Court's Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said the evidence was the bus was travelling at 40 kph in a 50 kph zone and the driver was "a very careful and safe driver".

Unfortunately, he was distracted by a conversation with a passenger in the seconds leading up to this tragic accident, she said.

Once Carlos stepped off the footpath, the bus driver reacted immediately and with "commendable alertness" and did what he could to stop the bus, she said.

 But, sadly, he was not alert to the potential hazard unfolding as he approached the boys on the pavement and thus was not able to anticipate or take any appropriate steps to minimise the consequences of the potential hazard.

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