Monday 15 July 2019

Fianna Fáil TD suing driver over crash that left her with 'cosmetically deforming' 6cm scar on forehead

Collision: Niamh Smyth’s car was written off in the 2013 accident. Photo: Tony Gavin
Collision: Niamh Smyth’s car was written off in the 2013 accident. Photo: Tony Gavin
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A TD is taking a personal injuries action in the High Court following a road traffic collision which she says left her "partially incapacitated" and with a 6cm scar on her forehead.

Fianna Fáil front bench member Niamh Smyth (41) has sued another motorist over the crash which wrote off her car six years ago.

Construction worker Max Mulpeter (25) was later convicted of careless driving and has admitted he was at fault for the collision.

However, a civil action initiated by the Cavan-Monaghan TD in November 2017 has not been settled by the insurance underwriters Liberty Syndicate at Lloyd's, and was recently set down for hearing at the High Court. The court deals with personal injury cases involving claims for damages in excess of €60,000.

Ms Smyth told the Irish Independent she sustained "serious personal injuries" in the collision, which occurred in Carrickboy, Co Longford, in November 2013.

It is understood the crash occurred when Mr Mulpeter pulled out too far while emerging from a secondary road.

Ms Smyth was travelling on the main road and had the right of way when the cars collided.

According to a claim filed by the TD's solicitors, she is seeking damages for personal injuries, negligence, loss, damage and expense. Special damages have also been claimed in respect of medical fees and future treatment costs.

Her injuries were said to include facial scarring involving a deep laceration on the left side of her forehead, extending some 6cm, which a consultant plastic surgeon is said to have described as "cosmetically deforming".

A range of other injuries was also outlined in an indorsement of claim document, including contusions to the TD's left leg, right knee and bruising of her chest, arms and legs. It is claimed she continued to experience pain and tenderness long after the incident.

Following a review by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in October 2017, it was said Ms Smyth continued to experience "an altered sensation" along the right side of her face, right arm and right hip, which affected her daily.

It was stated she was unable to sleep on her right side and had "difficulty walking and negotiating stairs".

The nature and extent of her injuries "has rendered her partially incapacitated" and "her enjoyment of life has been substantially curtailed", the indorsement of claim said.

In a statement, Ms Smyth said: "On November 18, 2013, I was seriously injured in a road traffic accident. The person driving the other car was subsequently convicted of careless driving.

"I sustained serious personal injuries and my car was a write-off. I instituted proceedings and there has been an admission of liability by the defendant in the case."

Ms Smyth was a member of Cavan County Council at the time of the incident. She was elected to the Dáil for the first time in 2016 and was quickly elevated to the party's front bench as spokesperson on arts, culture and heritage.

Mr Mulpeter, from Kilcock, Co Kildare, was convicted of careless driving and fined €250 in the district court. He later emigrated to Australia.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he accepted he was "in the wrong", but expressed unhappiness the lawsuit had not been concluded. He said he wanted to return home but is unable to get motor insurance in Ireland, which he needs for his work, while the claim remains unresolved.

A query submitted to Lloyd's was not responded to before publication.

Irish Independent

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