Friday 14 December 2018

Judge rejects €38k damages for boy (6) 'ploughed into' by car, sends case to trial

Stock image
Stock image

Ray Managh

A judge has rejected an Injuries Board assessment of €38,500 damages for a six-year-old boy "ploughed into" and knocked down as he dashed across a road just under three years ago, deeming it inadequate.

Judge Terence O’Sullivan in the Circuit Civil Court said Tuesday that Mousaab Boutahar’s case should go to trial. 

He had for a period been "in plain sight" of the motorist who struck him at a pedestrian crossing at Blackthorn Avenue, Sandyford, Co Dublin, in May 2015.

The judge said the child could not be held liable on contributory negligence. 

"We can’t just run into people who happen to be making a mistake, particularly children," he said.

Barrister Maeve Cox, who appeared with Aisling O’Leary of John O’Leary Solicitors for the boy, said she felt he would succeed on liability but said she would leave acceptance or otherwise of the assessment in the hands of the court.

Ms Cox said Mousaab was with his mum and four siblings at the crossing when his older brother decided to cross disputedly against a red light to a traffic island in the middle of the road.

Mousaab, whose family live at Cluain Shee, Aikens Village, Sandyford, decided he would follow him but hesitated and decided to turn back when his mother had called to him. 

This was when the Fiat Punto car had struck him.

"The child was thrown onto the bonnet of the car and fell to the ground," Ms Cox told the court. 

"He had then been taken by ambulance, with full spinal precautions, to the accident and emergency department of Crumlin Hospital where he had x-rays, CT and ultrasound scans of his cervical spine, femur, pelvis, chest, abdomen, brain and neck."

All had been found to be normal but his right leg had been put in a full plaster cast and he had been detained in hospital for three days.  He had started walking again after several days but his leg was "externally rotated."  Later it had been noted his right leg was 1.5cm longer than the left but would gradually equalise.

Mousaab sued, through his father Noureddine Boutahar, the motorist involved in the collision, Laura King of The Courtyard, Foxrock, Dublin, who was fully insured.

Ms Cox said the boy’s father considered the €38,500 assessment on the light side and felt the matter should go ahead to trial.

Judge O’Sullivan said he agreed and added that whatever the colour of the traffic lights at the time it was in clear daylight in the month of May when the accident happened and his brother had crossed the road before “the car ploughed into him.” He said both children must have been visible for some time.

The judge refused the assessment and was told that proceedings would now be issued to allow the case to go to trial.

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