Young boy who 'stopped talking and cries at the sight of buses' after minor accident loses €15k claim against Dublin Bus
A YOUNG boy, who allegedly stopped talking and would not let his mother get on a bus after a minor accident when he was a baby, has lost a €15,000 damages claim against Dublin Bus.
Libyan national Rasha Akkazah sued Dublin Bus on behalf of her son Mohammed Ali, who was, aged 18 months, and in a buggy travelling on a bus at the time of an accident two years ago.
Ms Akkazah, with an address at North King Street, Dublin gave evidence when the case came before Judge Michael Coghlan in the civil hearings list at Dublin District Court.
In cross-examination with Tracey Ennis Faherty, counsel for Dublin Bus, she accepted the buggy never moved during the incident and she started proceedings in July 2017, three weeks after the accident. She went to a doctor six months later.
She agreed a doctor’s report was obtained in November 2017 and it said, “No further investigation required at this time”. Another doctor’s report stated the child was drastically affected and “still cries at the sight of buses”.
The mother told the court the boy now has a reaction to buses and she accepted she told the doctor the boy still cries when he sees one. She agreed that after the accident, when the boy was aged one and a half, he refused to get on the bus.
She admitted she had not tried to get on one and she now travels by Luas in the city-centre. She said the boy was able to tell the difference between a bus and a Luas tram. The child’s crying prevented her getting on the bus, she claimed.
Counsel said CCTV evidence showed the child was in a buggy at the time of the incident and he did not move and was dangling his feet. Other passengers did not move either when the bus braked, the court heard.
The mother took pictures immediately afterwards and said she had done this because it was the first time she had ever been in an accident in Ireland.
The court heard a second medical report in November said her son was afraid for his mother’s safety when she tried to get on a bus.
It also said a full recovery was expected. The mother agreed her son did not suffer any physical injury but language skills did not improve. She said the boy did not talk and she wanted justice.
She accepted another report said the boy had no real difficulties in a pre-school creche and he has been enrolled at a mainstream primary school where he will commence later this year, aged four.
The court heard Arabic was spoken in the boy’s home and English in his playschool.
Judge Coghlan noted a psychological report stated the child’s delayed language acquisition could not be solely accounted for by the road traffic accident in question and “in other words” some other condition had the effect.
The boy’s father also told the court his son’s speech had been affected. Asked why he had put his son in a mainstream school at the age of four when he could have waited until the boy was five, the man said it was his wife’s choice.
Judge Coghlan said the CCTV footage showed the bus in a lurching motion as if it braked and he did not have any evidence of a collision. Dismissing the claim, he directed that plaintiff has to pay the defendant’s costs. Counsel for the boy pleaded with the court not to make that order as the family would not be able to cover it.
Counsel for Dublin Bus counter-argued that costs followed and it was a fully fought case.
Refusing to change the order, the judge said taking a case has potential for catastrophe and to reward people who are impecunious would be contrary to public policy.