Two sisters, were not physically injured in a rear-end car accident, have had their emotional injury compensation settlement approved at the Circuit Court.
On 11th February 2016, the two sisters – aged six years and four years at the time of the accident – were travelling in the back seat of the family car being driven by their parents. Suddenly, it was rear-ended on the Newcastle Road in Lucan, Dublin. The other driver admitted liability for causing the accident.
The day after the accident, the two girls were brought to their family’s GP to be examined. Neither girl was diagnosed with physical injuries from the incident. However, within a few days of the accident occurring, the elder sister complained of having a persistent headache. Both sisters started showing symptoms of panic when large vehicles passed the car, fearful that a repeat incident would occur.
Concerned, their parents brought them to seek medical advice. A further review of their condition resulted in both girls being diagnosed with “a mild effect on the mental health”. The elder sister was particularly affected by the accident, experiencing worry, and panic around large vehicles. She also hyperventilated while travelling in the family car, especially close to where the accident had occurred.
Through their mother, they made an emotional injury compensation claim against the driver of the negligent vehicle. On the advice of the family’s solicitor, they accepted an offer of settlement amounting to €33,000. As the claim had been made on behalf of plaintiffs unable to represent themselves, the emotional injury compensation settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in their best interests.
The case was heard at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The court was told the circumstances of the accident, the nature of the girls´ injuries and the fact that they had only missed one day from school as a result of the accident in order to be examined by the family GP.
The judge also heard the girls´ mother was satisfied with the amount offered. Te judge was told that the emotional injury compensation settlement was to be divided equally between the sisters. Approving the settlement, Judge Groarke ordered that it be paid into court funds until the girls reach they reached eighteen years of age.