A three-year-old girl, anxious about Santa Claus not making it to or from her home after she had been involved in a car accident, has been awarded €25,000 damages for psychiatric injuries, a judge heard today.
Judge James McCourt approved the settlement offer to now six-year-old Missy Elliott, by the insurers of Denis Osula, who rear-ended the Elliott family car at Ballymun Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, three years ago.
Barrister Robert Crowley agreed with Judge McCourt that most children of Missy’s tender years would be anxious about the arrival of Santa Claus but added that the child had also suffered from sleep disturbance and a nervousness of travelling in a car.
Mr Crowley, who appeared with Collins Crowley solicitors for Missy, told the Circuit Civil Court she had been a restrained passenger in the rear of the family vehicle when it had been struck by the car of Mr Osula of College View, Gateway Crescent, Ballymun, Dublin 11, in September 2018.
He said Missy had not suffered any physical injuries arising from the accident and had been examined and treated by Dr Helen Leader, a consultant child psychiatrist and cognitive behaviour expert.
Judge McCourt said Dr Leader had noted in a medical report that no concerns had been raised about any physical injury to the child who, the specialist had stated, experienced a frightening road traffic accident. The child’s sleep disturbance and anxieties fulfilled the criteria for an adjustment disorder, according to Dr Leader.
The judge said the child’s parents were happy with the settlement and the court had no hesitation in approving what he described as “a not ungenerous offer”. He told Mr Crowley he had to be commended for his efforts in achieving a very acceptable settlement.
Missy, now a primary school student, had sued Mr Osula through her mother Cherie Byrne, of Hampton Wood, Finglas, Dublin 11.