A settlement of £4 million was handed out at the High Court to Ms Caroline Bogue, one of the largest for a victim suffering a brain injury in a car accident.
However, Mr Justice John Quirke claimed that he was unhappy with the current system of compensation settlements when awarding the settlement to Ms Bogue of Belturbet, Co Cavan, following an agreement between the claimant and the joint defendants – her cousin Ciaran Bogue and the Motor Insurance Board of Ireland (MIBI).
He stated that the money would be gone within 10 years and said he was not happy with the lack of staged payments for awards of personal injury compensation and commented that the value of the settlement represented just 60% of what the claim was worth. His comments follow the case of Caroline, who suffered severe brain damage in the car accident when the uninsured automobile, driven by the defendant’s brother, crashed into a tree close to her home town of Belturbet in May 2003. Despite wearing a seatbelt, Caroline – who was aged 17 when the incident occurred – was admitted to Cavan Hospital where a CT scan of her brain showed she had suffered major hemorrhaging.
Now aged 24, Caroline needs daily assistance in her life and is unable to feed herself due to the consequences of her accident. She also has difficulty sleeping, suffers from poor short-term memory and slow speech. She will need permanent care throughout the rest of her life, and Mr Justice John Quirke is concerned that the settlement is not adequate for her lifetime and that she will become reliant on the State.
The defence alleged that Caroline knew that the car in which she was travelling was uninsured so Mr Justice John Quirke accepted that there was a risk that the claimant might be awarded less if the case went forward to a full hearing, and was guided by Caroline’s counsel. However, he expressed that he was unhappy that he had to approve “a settlement so utterly speculative and imprecise from Caroline’s point of view”. An alternative system, which is due to be introduced in about 18 months time, will provide for continual payments over the period of the victim’s life.