Friday 15 November 2019

Boy awarded €800,000 after being knocked down at temporary road crossing

Brandon Dargen Burgess with his mum Linda
Brandon Dargen Burgess with his mum Linda

A 13-YEAR-OLD boy injured when he was knocked down at temporary road crossing was today awarded more than €800,000 against a local council by the High Court.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine found Dublin South County Council 100pc liable for the accident that left Brandon Dargen Burgess, now 16, with a head injury and fractures to his arms and legs.

Brandon was on the way home from his grandmother's house and was across two lanes of traffic on the Tallaght Bypass when he was struck by a car going in the Blessington direction at the Killinarden Way junction on November 8,2008.

Awarding a total of €826,818, Ms Justice Irvine said she was satisfied that the local authority was grossly negligent in the mismanagement of the junction.

The setting up of a temporary crossing made it extremely difficult for pedestrians to access the signal box. Any pedestrian, she said, trying to access the signal button would have to reach "in a blind fashion".

She said this was a 13-year old boy and she was satisfied that he might reasonably conclude it was not operational and he might not be able to deploy it.

The negligence of the local authority, she said, was compounded by one of its employees in the driving of a council truck at the junction.

The boy's intended path of travel, she said, was completely impeded and made it impossible for him to see if the signal crossing man was at green or red on the central island.

In the circumstances the judge said where the boy's line of sight was impeded and there was no access to press the signal button, it would be reasonable to think he would cross the road.

Through his mother Linda Burgess, Brandon, of Ard More Court, Brookville, Tallaght, Dublin, sued the driver of the car James Mulholland, Ballinteer Park, Dundrum, Dublin and South Dublin County Council.

Mr Mulholland denied negligence and said the boy had stepped out without any warning to oncoming traffic.

The council had denied negligence and contended Brandon failed to take adequate care for his own safety.

Ms Justice Irvine said it would be exceptionally harsh to find liability in relation to the driver of the car. Even if Mr Mulholland was keeping a proper lookout, he probably had not a realistic prospect of seeing the boy.

Mr Mulholland she said was driving at a modest speed and within the limit and driving with a green light.

Ms Justice Irvine ruled there was no contributory negligence on behalf of the boy. He was, the judge said, faced with a Hosbon's choice coming to the central island if he went on or turned back.

Before the accident the boy she said was an enthusiastic soccer player and good at school. The Judge said he will have a completely different type of future as a result of his head injury.

He has left school without completing his Leaving Cert. The judge said she was satisfied that, but for the accident, Brandon would have completed his studies.

The judge allowed an application by council for a stay on the award, pending appeal, providing €400,000 was paid in to court.

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