Tuesday 19 March 2019

Boy (5) sues after runaway hybrid car breaks his leg

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Ray Managh

A driverless Renault hybrid car raced across a car park and hit and injured a five-year-old child, a court has heard.

Judge Terence O'Sullivan heard that the car had been parked by its driver, Ms Fiona Bonke, and she had just left the vehicle through the passenger door when it shot across the car park outside a gym in Baldoyle, Dublin.

Barrister Fiona Crawford told the judge that Sean Leahy's mother, Jean Leahy, bravely attempted to pull her son and other children clear of the path of the driverless car but it had struck Sean, breaking his right leg.

Ms Crawford, who appeared for Sean, said in the Circuit Civil Court that the car had continued until it crashed into another parked vehicle on the opposite side of the car park attached to the Arabian Gym on Baldoyle Industrial Estate.

The judge heard Ms Bonke had immediately rushed to help Sean and his mother.

Ms Crawford said that Sean, of St Samson's Square, Balgriffin, Co Dublin, had been to the gym with his mother and sister on October 13, 2016. They had been walking across the car park when the incident occurred, the court heard.

Sean, who is now aged seven, had sued Ms Bonke through his father, John.

The boy had been taken on a spinal board to Temple Street Children's Hospital, where an X-ray confirmed he had suffered an undisplaced fracture. His leg had been put in a plaster to above his knee.

The judge said having read the medical reports associated with Sean's treatment and recovery it was clear he had also suffered a significant post-traumatic stress disorder. He said an Injuries Board assessment of €45,000 was not appropriate in the circumstances and felt that proceedings on the boy's behalf should be taken in the unlimited jurisdiction of the High Court.

"I would have no difficulty in awarding the full €60,000 jurisdiction of the Circuit Court in this case and I will refuse to approve the Injuries Board assessment," the judge said. "Proceedings should now be taken in the High Court."

He said Sean, because of his leg cast, had been confined for some time to a wheelchair and had missed playing sports and a number of birthday parties of his friends. He had been in the cast until Christmas of 2016.

Ms Crawford said she had considered the assessment, even for the undisplaced fracture alone, to be very much on the low side.

She said an opportunity would be given to Ms Bonke's insurance company to re-engage in the matter.

Irish Independent

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