Thursday 26 April 2018

Case involving psychiatric patient who grabbed steering wheel in fatal accident settled

Emma Kenneally of Templemore, Tipperary pictured leaving the Four Courts during her High Court action for damages. Pic: Collins Courts
Emma Kenneally of Templemore, Tipperary pictured leaving the Four Courts during her High Court action for damages. Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A woman who sustained multiple serious injuries in a head on car crash in which her parents died has settled her High Court action. 

Emma Kenneally (35) had to be cut from the wreckage and thought she was going to die after a car veered onto her side of the road as she drove home from a shopping trip, the court heard.

Her father, Tom Kenneally (65), a farmer, and her mother Angela (61), from outside Templemore, Co Tipperary, died as a result of the accident which happened about six kilometres outside Kilkenny city on August 24, 2011.

It was claimed a front seat passenger in the oncoming car, who was a psychiatric patient, grabbed the wheel of that car which being driven by his sister before the accident.

Ms Kenneally fractured all four limbs as well her spine and ribs and spent three months in hospital after the accident.

Ms Kenneally, a teacher, of Barnane, Templemore, had sued Elizabeth Dillon, Bowsfield, Killerig, Tullow, Co Carlow, the owner and the driver of the other car. She also sued Ms Dillon's brother, Sean, of the same address, and who was the front passenger.

Ms Kenneally had also sued the HSE, as owner of St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny where Sean Dillon had received treatment.

She had also sued the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland arising from the allegation Sean Dillon was in control of the car at the time of the accident.

It was alleged the reason Ms Dillon's car went onto the incorrect side of the road was because her driving was compromised by the actions of Mr Dillon. He was, at that time, a psychiatric patient under the care of the HSE at St Luke's, it was claimed.

It was further alleged against Ms Dillon she allowed her brother to travel as a front seat passenger when she knew or ought to have known it was potentially unsafe to do so.

It was claimed against the HSE it allegedly released Mr Dillon into the care of his sister when it was allegedly dangerous and unsafe to do so and there was alleged failure to ensure there was adequate assistance available to Ms Dillon to manage the behaviour of her brother.

The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr, who had heard evidence over several days, was told the case had been settled.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News