Family of man (27) who died after hit and run secures €375,000 settlement
Posted on 19th April 2021 at 21:17
The family of a young man who died in hospital some seven months after suffering severe injuries in a hit and run incident has secured a €375,000 settlement of their High Court action.
The vast bulk of the settlement, some €288,000, will go towards paying Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital for caring for 27-year-old Callum Grimes from December 27th 2016 up to his death in July 2017, Mr Justice Garrett Simons was told.
Mark Grimes, of Station Road, Lusk, had, on behalf of the family, sued Derek Keane and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland arising from his son’s death.
Keane , an electrician and part-time firefighter aged in his 40s, of The Cottage, Loughshinny, Skerries, was jailed for 5½ years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2019 after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing Callum’s death.
He had had up to 16 drinks before he knocked down Callum, who was walking home on December 27th, 2016 after a night out, the trial heard. The severely injured young man was found unconscious on the roadside hours later by a bread van driver who was making deliveries.
Keane made contact with gardaí after waking up later that morning, noticing damage to his car and hearing about the collision. He told gardaí he did not remember leaving the bar he was in, driving home or being in a collision.
The trial heard he had written a letter of apology to Callum’s family, saying he deeply regretted his action and would live with the shame for the rest of his life.
The High Court case arising from Callum’s death was brought by his father on behalf of himself and other dependants, including Callum’s siblings and grandmother. Callum’s mother, Catherine Walsh died from cancer last April.
As Callum’s step-sister Hannah O’Reilly is a minor, her part of the settlement came before the High Court on Monday.
Andrew Walker SC, for the family, told Mr Justice Simons the full settlement was €375,000 and the bulk of that, some €288,400, was for Beaumont Hospital’s fees.
Callum was working as a retail assistant at the time of his death and the settlement offer included the €35,000 solatium, the maximum statutory payment for dependants in wrongful death cases; some €32,000 for loss of gifts from Callum to his family; €4,075 for loss of upkeep and other sums including for funeral expenses and special damages.
Mr Walker said, if the matter went to trial, there was a risk the sums claimed for gifts might not be realised as the trial court could consider those were discretionary. Counsel indicated his side wished to accept the €375,000 settlement offer and wanted the court to rule a sum of €6,740 for Hannah O’Reilly, representing her share of the solatium and gifts.
Mr Justice Simons said the application arose out of tragic circumstances. Liability was not an issue and the vast bulk of the claim was for hospital fees. He was satisfied this was a very good settlement and there was no prospect of doing better if the case went to trial.
The court’s role was confined to considering whether to approve the sum payable to Hannah O’Reilly, he said. The sum was “generous”, “fair and realistic”, Hannah has done well and he would rule the settlement as sought, he said.
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