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Car passenger paralysed after timber pallets fell from passing truck, court told

A 24-YEAR old man was paralysed from the neck down, after timber pallets from a truck fell on a car he was in, the High Court heard.

The pallets fell off on to the car when the articulated lorry collided with a railway bridge on the Waterford to Carrick Suir road at Green Hills, Carrick on Suir, two years ago.

Kieran Madden, who was a passenger in a car travelling in the opposite direction to the truck, has claimed he suffered severe personal injuries in the accident and is now confined to a wheelchair and has no voluntary movements of his limbs.

Mr Madden of Grange, Nenagh, Tipperary has sued Nolan Transport of Oaklands, New Ross, Co Wexford and one of its drivers Vladimer Dolmat as a result of the accident on January 7, 2010. The case is before the court for assessment of damages only.

Mr Madden broke down as he gave evidence to Mr Justice Kevin Cross yesterday.

He said at the time of the accident he was near completion of study for his degree in Design and Visual Communication and had groups of friends in his hometown where he played hurling and Waterford where he went to college. He was a student at Waterford Institute of Technology.

"I had a very full life. At the time of the accident, it was the best. You were at the peak of a big adventure," Mr Madden told the judge.

He said on the evening of the accident he was on his way back from Waterford with his friend. He had attended his brother's graduation that day. He said as they approached the railway bridge he saw the truck turn the corner to the bridge.

"It was clearly too tall to go under the bridge," he said.

Mr Madden broke down as he told how there was a loud noise and something crashed down on the car. He said he was shouting and he could not feel anything.

The ambulance and fire brigade arrived some time later and he said a weight was lifted off his head. Mr Madden who was transferred to the Mater Hospital, Dublin where he spent eight months and later to the National Rehabilitation Hospital said his family remained at his bed side throughout.

"They were always there. Their support was unreal," he said.

Mr Madden who was conferred with his degree last year told the court he has to use special computer equipment and does not go out at all unless for medical appointments.

He told the judge he would like to to go to Croke Park to see Tipperary winning the final one day.

At the end of his evidence Mr Justice Cross thanked Mr Madden and said it was important to give the evidence and he hoped it had not been too much of an ordeal for him .

The case continues next Wednesday.