Monday 23 October 2017

Mother gets €67,000 after her car collided with ambulance at traffic lights

Tim Healy

A MOTHER-of-two has been awarded just over €67,000 by the High Court for injuries she received when the car she was driving was in collision with an ambulance.

Clare Nevin (25), Killary Grove, the Donahies, Donaghmede, Dublin, sued ambulance driver Gerard Grant and his employers Emergency Medical Support Services Ltd, Dun Laoghaire, arising out of the accident at the junction of the Malahide Road and Oscar Traynor Road, Coolock, Dublin, on December 3, 2009.

Ms Nevin, who was on her way to do some Christmas shopping with her sister, had a green light in her favour when the ambulance came from Oscar Traynor Road, the court heard.

The defendants denied negligence and counter-claimed for damage to the ambulance.

They claimed Ms Nevin was travelling at excessive speed and did not keep a proper lookout for their vehicle which they say had its flashing blue lights and siren on. She denied she was speeding and said there were no sirens or lights on.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine today awarded her €84,376 but reduced that sum to €67,460 after finding she was guilty of 20 per cent contributory negligence by failing to look to her left as she proceeded through the junction.

The judge said had she looked to her left, while she would not have avoided the collision, she would have significantly reduced the impact between her Honda Civic car and the ambulance.

Ms Justice Irvine was satisfied however that Mr Grant was obliged to drive with reasonable care when there was a red light against him and not "simply plough on through" a junction which was quite complicated.

The greater amount of responsibility for this accident lay with Mr Grant who, while he had a difficult job, it was his responsibility to ensure he did not put members of the public at risk, she said.

While it was not clear how much of an emergency journey he was on in transporting human eye corneas from Dublin Airport to St James Hospital, and while she had sympathy for Mr Grant, he had however a duty of care to other road users and to himself.

The judge also said she was satisfied, from the evidence, including from two other motorists, that while the blue flashing light was on on the ambulance, the siren was not.

Ms Nevin had had a "horrible six months" after the accident which left her with a number of injuries, including a broken wrist, broken knee-cap and fractured sternum, the judge said.

She had also been diagnosed with post traumatic stress.

The appropriate award was €84,326 less 20 per cent for contributory negligence, the judge said.

In relation to the defendants' counter claim, given her finding of 20 per cent contributory negligence by Ms Nevin, she awarded them €1,300 for damage to the ambulance.

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