Friday 17 November 2017

Man awarded €171k after JCB carrying wooden pallets hits rear of car

Judge's gavel.
Judge's gavel.

Tim Healy

A MAN has been awarded €171,000 in High Court damages over an accident in which a JCB digger carrying wooden pallets hit the rear of his car.

Thomas Neville (50) from Ballyfermot Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, suffered an injury to his knee as a result of slamming on the brakes of his car after he was hit by the JCB which had the pallets in its front bucket.

He sued COD Plant and Civil Engineering Ltd and its JCB driver Conor Hughes arising out of the accident near the Belgard Road/Naas Road junction in Clondalkin, Dublin, on April 26, 2012.

The defendants admitted liability for the accident but argued the impact was not sufficient to cause Mr Neville to suffer any serious injury.  No sufficient force was applied to his car sufficient to cause him injury, they said.

The court heard the JCB hit Mr Neville's Ford Fiesta from behind as he was waiting to turn on to the Naas Road.  He said his car was shunted forward, a piece of pallet came through his rear window and when he put his foot on the brake, and also applied the handbrake, there was no response.

He said he panicked because he was afraid he would be pushed into a jeep on front of him and put his left foot forcefully down the brake.

As a result of that action, he suffered an injury to his knee.  He also suffered lower back pain and neck pain.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr said he accepted the evidence of Mr Neville's orthopaedic surgeon that he had pre-existing degenerative changes in his knee which were asymptomatic prior to the accident.

They were rendered symptomatic by the injury he sustained and had a serious adverse affect on his life.  His knee is painful and prone to locking, sore in cold weather, can give way beneath him and he cannot walk his dogs as he had done before, the judge said.

He will probably need a total knee replacement in the next eight to ten years, his doctor had said.

The judge awarded him at total of €171,633 including €95,000 for future damages.

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