Tuesday 24 April 2018

Garda shot in New Orleans awarded €36k for injuries suffered while chasing down criminals

New Orleans, inset, Garda Brian Hanrahan
New Orleans, inset, Garda Brian Hanrahan

Ray Managh

Garda Brian Hanrahan, who was shot in New Orleans last year after drawing $200 from an ATM, was today awarded more than €36.000 compensation for injuries he suffered while chasing down criminals almost six years ago.

The garda suffered injuries to his neck, shoulder and lower back in October 2010 when a garda car in which he was a front seat passenger was rammed following a car chase on the Limerick-Mallow road.

In January last year Garda Hanrahan, of Newcastle West, Limerick, was on holiday in New Orleans when he was shot in the leg and back.  He had just withdrawn 200 dollars from the ATM when approached by two men who have since been charged with attempted second degree murder.

He underwent surgery in a New Orleans hospital where his health care topped the €1million mark and led to fund raising at home and in the US to cover his medical expenses.

Garda Hanrahan was reported to have told his attacker to “go f...k yourself” when he was told to hand over his wallet.  The attacker replied “You think I’m playing?” before shooting him.

Barrister Michael P. Binchy today in the High Court in Dublin told Mr Justice Bernard Barton that Garda Hanrahan was in a garda car with a colleague chasing a stolen vehicle in October 2010 when it was rammed.

Garda Hanrahan (34) said in evidence that at first, following the Limerick incident, he felt no pain but after the effects of adrenalin had worn off he felt pain in his neck, shoulder and particularly in his lower back.

He had been treated with analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication.  Later an MRI scan revealed he had suffered soft tissue injuries but although his shoulder and neck injuries cleared up the pain in his back remained.

“The pain in my back was always there.  It never went away,” Garda Hanrahan told Mr Binchy.  “It is something I must learn to live with. It’s not killing me.”

The former hurler and footballer retired from his favourite sports less than a year after the ramming incident but told the court he had been approaching the end of his sporting career anyway.

He told Mr Binchy that although it was stated in his medical reports that he had pre-existing degenerative changes in his back he never had any problems previously with his back.

Judge Barton said Garda Hanrahan had been out of work for more than two months before initially returning to light duties. 

He now had to drive a garda car for between 10 and 12 hours daily which caused him problems.

“Garda Hanrahan does not regard himself as disabled and didn’t beat a path to physiotherapists or his GP requesting a reference to any specialists,” Judge Barton said.

He said there was no reason to believe and no medical evidence had been put forward suggesting Garda Hanrahan’s current back problems were going to disappear.

Judge Barton awarded Garda Hanrahan compensation of €35,000 with special damages of €1,340.

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