Thursday 19 July 2018

Teacher who suffered serious injuries in car collision that killed both her parents sues for damages

Emma Kenneally of Templemore, Tipperary pictured leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of a High Court action for damages. Pic: Collins Courts
Emma Kenneally of Templemore, Tipperary pictured leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of a High Court action for damages. Pic: Collins Courts

A teacher who sustained multiple serious injuries in a head on car crash in which her parents were killed has brought an action for damages in the High Court.

Emma Kenneally (35) told the High Court how she had to be cut from the wreckage and thought she was going to die after a car veered into her side of the road as she drove home from a shopping trip in Kilkenny.

Her father, farmer Tom Kenneally (65) and her mother Angela (61) from outside Templemore, Co Tipperary were killed in the accident about 6km outside Kilkenny city.

It is claimed the car which veered across the road and ploughed in to Emma Kenneally’s car did so after a psychiatric patient who was a front seat passenger allegedly grabbed the wheel of the car which was being driven by his sister.

Ms Kenneally fractured all four limbs as well her spine and ribs and was three months in hospital after the accident.

“The car was going directly for me. I did not have time to react. It came straight for me. I felt my car spinning around and it came to an abrupt stop. Pain took over my whole body,” she told the High Court.

She said she could hear her mother calling her father’s name but he was not responding.

Emma Kenneally, Barnane, Templemore, Co Tipperary has sued Elizabeth Dillon, of Bowsfield ,Killerig, Tullow, Co Carlow who was the owner and the driver of the other car; Mrs Dillon's brother, Sean of the same address who was the front passenger in the car and who it is alleged grabbed the driver's wheel as Elizabeth Dillon drove outside Kilkenny town on August 24, 2011.

Ms Kenneally has also sued the HSE the owners of St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny where Mr Sean Dillion the court heard received treatment and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland. The MIBI is being sued  because of the allegation Sean Dillon was in control of the car at the time of the accident and he was not insured.

It is claimed Ms Kenneally who was lawfully driving her car at Troyswood, Kilkenny suffered injuries when the car driven by and owned by Ms Elizabeth Dillon crossed onto its incorrect side of the road and collided with Ms Kenneally's car.

It is alleged the reason Ms Dillon's car went on its incorrect side of the road was because her driving was compromised by the actions of her brother Sean Dillon, who was at that time a psychiatric patient under the care of the HSE at St Luke's Hospital Kilkenny and had allegedly been allowed to leave the hospital to be driven home by his sister.

It is further alleged against Ms Dillon she allowed her brother to travel as a front seat passenger when she knew or ought to have known it was potentially unsafe to do so.

It is claimed against the HSE  it allegedly released Mr Dillon into the care of his sister when it was allegedly dangerous and unsafe to do so and there was an alleged failure to ensure there was adequate assistance available to Ms Dillion to manage the behaviour of her brother.

The claims are denied.

Opening the case, Hugh Mohan SC said Ms Kenneally who was blameless in the accident did not have time to blink or swerve.

He said afterwards she had a prolonged bereavement reaction and while she returned to her job as a national school teacher she later had to move to a job share arrangement.

The case before Mr Justice Anthony Barr continues tomorrow.

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