A record compensation settlement has been awarded to a ten-year-old boy who had made a compensation claim against uninsured parent after suffering devastating injuries in a car accident for which his mother was to blame.
Cullen Kennedy from Loughrea, County Galway, made the claim through his grandmother against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland following the events of 5th May 2008 when his uninsured mother veered across the road and into the path of an oncoming vehicle due to being distracted by her son on the way to taking him to school.
Both Cullen´s mother and the driver of the other vehicle sustained minor injuries, but Cullen – who had been strapped into a bolster chair on the back seat – was catapulted into the windscreen and suffered terrible spinal injuries which left him a quadriplegic and requiring a ventilator to breathe.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard at Dublin´s High Court that Cullen´s mother and grandmother have been caring for Cullen since his tragic accident with support from nurses and special needs assistants. Despite his debilitating injuries, Cullen suffered no mental impairment and was described in Court as a “lively and vivacious” child.
Approving the record settlement of 11.5 million Euros, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said although the outcome of the compensation claim against uninsured parent was “excellent” and should meet Cullen´s lifelong care requirements, she was concerned that laws providing for periodic payment orders had not yet been introduced.
Acknowledging that the government had significant issues to deal with elsewhere, she said “The reality is the courts don’t know when people are going to die,” and expressed concerns that catastrophically injured people could run out of funds to provide for their care if they lived longer than medical experts believed they would.