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Award of €20,500 for county hurler in car accident

A MEMBER of the senior Laois hurling panel has been awarded €20,600 by the High Court for physical and psychological injuries he received in a car accident four years ago.

Ben Conroy (18), Drim, Mountrath, Co Laois, was a rear seat passenger in a car which was struck from behind by another car which tried to overtake at Rushin Road, Mountrath, on March 15, 2009.   The car Mr Conroy was in lost control, went into a drain and turned over.

He had to get out through one of the windows and thought he was going to die during the accident, his counsel Gerald Tynan told the court.

For 18 months to two years afterwards, he suffered particularly from post traumatic stress, counsel said.

Despite the accident, which happened when he was just 14, he went on to become a member of the senior Laois hurling panel at just 18 years of age, the court also heard.

He sued, through his father Ben senior, the uninsured driver of the other car, Craig Dooley, Roundwood, Mountrath, the car owner, Daryl Dooley of the same address, and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) which compensates victims of uninsured driving.   The case was before the court for assessment only and the award was against the MIBI.

Mr Conroy told the court he still suffered pain in his shoulder though this was dealt with by the team physio.   He would not travel in the rear seat of a car anymore, had nightmares and tried to avoid the scene of the accident because of the memories it brought back.

Under cross-examination by Jonathan Kilfeather SC, for the MIBI, Mr Conroy disputed the suggestion the accident had not interfered with his GAA career.  He said he had missed three to four months not playing immediately after the accident.

High Court president, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said he found it hard to divide between physical and psychological injuries but he assessed them at €10,000 each, which along with special damages of €600, brought the total award to €20,600.

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