The family of a toddler who died almost two years ago after a car driven by a family friend accidentally rolled over her, was today awarded €36,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court for mental distress and loss against an insurance company.
Barrister John Nolan told the court that the late Lily Rose O’Toole was approaching her second birthday when she died in the tragic accident while she was in the front garden of her family home in Tallaght, Dublin.
Mr Nolan said that on March 3, 2013, the child’s mother, Ruth O’Toole (35), had been in her front garden with Lily when she saw neighbour Esther Dillon on her way out and went and talk to her, leaning through the passenger window.
After a short conversation and having said goodbye Ms O’Toole had noticed Lily was not in the garden. She had heard a bang and as she turned around saw Lily at the back of Ms Dillon’s car.
Counsel said Lily had picked herself up and had walked a few steps before Ms O’Toole had run to pick her up. She had noticed a graze on her forehead.
Mr Nolan told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that Ms Dillon, of Ardmore Walk, Fortunestown, Tallaght, had stopped her car and returned to the scene apologising to Lily’s mother and saying she had not seen the child.
Judge Groarke heard that Lily had been taken to Tallaght Hospital but unfortunately had died there of a massive intra-abdominal bleeding due to internal injuries.
Ms O’Toole, who has since moved to Leyland Avenue, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin, brought the claim on behalf of her family under the Civil Liability Act 1961.
Mr Nolan told Judge Groarke that Ms Dillon’s insurance company had accepted liability. Damages of €36,188 for mental distress consisted of €5,000 for Lily’s step brother, Patrick (10), €20,394 for Ms O’Toole and €10,794 for fees and funeral expenses. He also awarded costs against Ms Dillon.
He said Lily’s maternal grand-parents, Laurence (66) and Marie O’Toole (62) had waived any claim for compensation. The child’s father, an Englishman Richard Martin, had not been in contact with Lily’s mother since the tragic accident.
The judge, approving the offer, expressed the court’s deep sympathy and said the loss of a child was a horrible thing to happen to any mother.