Driver crushed by tree awarded €1.2m
A MAN left with serious brain injuries when a tree crushed the school minibus he was driving has been awarded €1.254m in High Court damages.
John McKenna (49), who will require permanent care for the rest of his life, sued Monaghan County Council, arising out of the accident at Dundalk Road, Castleblayney, Monaghan, on February 20, 2002.
Mr McKenna, of St Matthews Estate, Keady, Armagh, claimed the council was negligent due to its failure to inspect the tree and have it removed.
It also failed, he alleged, to take any measures to prevent the tree from falling as it was a hazard to road users.
The council admitted liability and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only. The court also heard that there would be an application to have Mr McKenna made a ward of court.
Mr Justice John Quirke said yesterday he was fully satisfied to award Mr McKenna €1.254m, including damages for pain and suffering, and for past and future loss of earnings.
Mr McKenna, who shortly before the accident had taken over his father in law's taxi business, has suffered dreadful "pain and misery" as a result of the injuries, the judge said.
The court heard Mr McKenna had suffered epileptic seizures, memory problems, poor attention span, became weak at times and passed out.
He require a cocktail of medication to deal with his ongoing physical pain. It was unlikely that he would be able to return to work, the court was told.