Three Irish golfers, who were injured when the taxi they shared somersaulted into a ravine while they were holidaying in Spain, are to share more than €50,000 damages for personal injuries.
Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, heard in the Circuit Civil Court that one of the golfers, John Moroney, (53) of Drumin, Dunleer, Co Louth, had the shaft of a golf club embedded in the back of his head.
Judge Groarke, applying levels of compensation governed by Spanish law in road traffic accident cases, awarded him €20,700. He also awarded Mark Lawless (55) of Glebe House, Clostown, Togher, Co Louth €16,500 and fellow golfer Michael Lynch, (59) Johnstown, Dunany, Togher, €15,660.
Barrister Shane English, who appeared with David Martin of Gore & Grimes solicitors for the three friends, had told the court that shortly after the three-ball had left La Manga Golf Club on the Costa del Sol in September 2010 the taxi went out of control somersaulting into a seven metres deep water run-off ravine.
John Moroney, of Drumin, Dunleer, Co Louth, pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after judgement was reserved in his Circuit Civil Court action for damages Pic: Collins Courts
He said the three golfers had been knocked unconscious in the crash, Mr Moroney not recovering consciousness until after surgery at Santa Maria hospital to remove the golf shaft from the back of his head.
Mr English told the court that the Spanish taxi driver had taken off very quickly from the golf club and continued to drive at an alarming speed until he hit a crash barrier as he tried to overtake another car in the middle of the road.
Mr Moroney said in evidence that the driver had taken off even before any of them had time to put their seat belts on.
Judge Groarke, in a reserved written judgment, said he was required to apply Spanish Law making it mandatory for him to find a numerical value for three headings under which damages were to be calculated.
These set out the number of days each plaintiff was detained in hospital, each of which days attracted €67.98 per day; days during which the plaintiff was unable to work known as “impaired days” at €55.27 per day and “unimpaired days” which were those days where a plaintiff was on the path to recovery but not yet recovered at €29.75 per day.
Two Spanish lawyers had earlier assisted the court in explaining the system of calculation of compensation.
Judge Groarke said Mr Moroney sustained the most severe injuries; Mr Lawless had suffered what his doctor described as “significant soft tissue injury” and Mr Lynch clearly had been injured both physically and psychologically and continued to suffer ongoing problems.
He said it was entirely immaterial to his consideration whether the amount of compensation applicable to each of the golfers under Spanish law was commensurate with or bore any relationship to the range of damages a Spanish citizen receiving the same injuries in a traffic accident in Ireland would reasonably expect to receive.