Sunday 25 February 2018

Woman sues driver for trauma after witnessing her husband severely injured in car accident

Alan and Emma Nolan from Gorey, Co Wexford, pictured arriving at the Four Courts Photo: Collins Courts
Alan and Emma Nolan from Gorey, Co Wexford, pictured arriving at the Four Courts Photo: Collins Courts

Aodhan O'Faolain

A woman left traumatised after coming on the scene of a road accident in which her severely injured husband was trapped in his car has settled her High Court action.

Mother of four, Emma Nolan, heard the screams of her husband, Alan,  as emergency personnel tried to free him, the court heard.

She then travelled in a helicopter with him as he was airlifted to hospital.

She claimed she was a secondary victim of the accident two years ago.

Her counsel, Bruce Antoniotti, told the court Mr Nolan was driving neat Ballythomas, Co Wexford, when there was a head on collision with a jeep.

Counsel said the driver of the jeep was checking the volume on her radio when her vehicle collided with Mr Nolan's car.

Mrs Nolan, Loggan Upper, Wingfield, Gorey, Co Wexford, had sued the other driver,  Pearl Stephenson, Ballythomas Hill, Gorey, as a result of the accident on July 9, 2015.

It was claimed Mrs Nolan was a secondary victim, witnessed her husband’s pain and screams and suffered nervous shock.

She claimed she witnessed her husband suffering life threatening injuries in the accident which saw Ms Stephenson’s car embedded in Alan Nolan’s car.

The case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

In evidence, Mrs Nolan said when she got a call there had been an accident, she drove to the scene near her home.

When she got there, she saw her husband was trapped with the dashboard pushed on to his legs. At one stage she said smoke came from the car.

"I was trying to calm Alan down. He was in pain. It was my first time to witness an accident.

"Smoke started to come out of the car and everybody was getting worried," she said.

She said when the emergency services arrived and tried to free Alan, he was screaming.

"His screams stayed with me," she said.

After he was airlifted to hospital, she was by his side in intensive care and in hospital for 13 days afterwards.

Mrs Nolan said they were just normal people and the accident had changed their lives.

She said she thinks of the accident every day.

Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon said from observing Mrs Nolan in the witness box, she could see she was a very traumatised lady.

"She has suffered", the judge said.

Following talks, the judge was told the case had been settled and could be struck out.

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