Friday 25 May 2018

Settlement offer of €30k for girl (15) trapped in crashed car for four hours 'may not be enough'

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Stock picture

Ray Managh

A €30,000 settlement offer to a 15-year-old girl, who had to be cut out of a crashed car by firemen after having been trapped in it for four hours, may not be enough, the Circuit Civil Court heard today.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, was told that Isabella Osbourne was initially thought to have a suspected spinal neck injury and had been rushed to hospital in a spinal board brace.

Barrister Shane English, who appeared with Gore Grimes Solicitors for Isabella, said she had to give up swimming, ballet and horse riding as a result of injuries she suffered in what was a head-on collision.

Mr English said Isabella had been a back seat passenger in her father Christopher’s MPV in July 2011, when she was aged nine.  When the accident happened at Fieldstown Bridge on the Swords to Ashbourne road it had at first been thought she had a C4 spinal fracture.

He said she had been treated for neck and lower back pain and her consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Hannan Mullett, had expected her symptoms to improve over time without any requirement for surgical intervention.

Mr English said Isabella, who lives at Glen Allen Park, Swords, Co Dublin, had developed post traumatic stress disorder but not of a clinically significant level.  She had to give up a lot of her hobbies because of her injuries.

Isabella’s mother told the court that her daughter still suffered pain in her right shoulder and she would often have to massage it for her after she returned from school.  She had been treated by three different physiotherapists. She had been unable to return to horse riding, swimming and ballet because of her back pain and was no longer participating in athletics.

Isabella, through her father Christopher, had sued the driver of the other car involved in the crash, Noel McNally, of Clonard Street, Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

Mr English told the court that Isabella’s symptoms were still continuing particularly on her right shoulder.  He felt the offer would be adequate in a straightforward whiplash but was concerned about her continuing shoulder difficulties.

Judge Groarke said if Isabella’s ongoing symptoms were related to the accident it may be that the claim should be in another higher jurisdiction.  He adjourned the case to allow for a further detailed report from Mr Mullett relating to the cause of her continuing pain and its connection, if any, to the accident.

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