Girl’s High Court case alleging hit-and-run settled for €30,000 in light of ‘risks’
Posted on 26th October 2022 at 20:43
Motor Insurers Bureau sued because alleged driver unidentified
A girl and her mother have settled for €30,000 a High Court action that lawyers said contained “risks” that might result in the court taking an adverse view of the claim if it proceeded to trial.
The girl’s counsel said there “may well be very innocent explanations” for the risks presented in the case and it was with a “heavy heart” that the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland’s (MIBI’s) offer was accepted.
Jonathan Kilfeather SC said he understood the girl’s mother, Kathleen McAleer Joyce, was satisfied with the €30,000 sum.
The MIBI, through its counsel Miriam Reilly SC, consented to the amount.
Paige McAleer Joyce (14) sued through her mother over injuries sustained when she was allegedly knocked from her bike by an untraceable vehicle on the morning of August 8th, 2015.
The MIBI, which is funded by all Irish motor insurance companies, was sued because the alleged driver was unidentified.
The court heard Paige, then aged seven, was cycling behind her mother, who was walking, on their way to buy ice cream when the incident occurred near their home in Rathfeigh, Tara, Co Meath.
Ms McAleer Joyce claims that when they reached Kilmoon Cross she heard a clicking sound or brakes screeching, and she turned around to see her daughter lying on the ground.
She alleges she saw a dark-coloured car pull over to the hard shoulder a short distance away. The mother says she ran to her daughter, who said a car had hit her, the court heard.
Ms McAleer Joyce says she rang an ambulance, but, in the interim, her husband drove them to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, where the girl spent several days.
The court heard that records from the hospital emergency department note the girl was in significant distress, with swelling and pain in her right arm. X-rays confirmed a fracture in her elbow bone that required pinning and follow-ups at a fracture clinic.
Mr Kilfeather said medical records are all consistent with the plaintiff falling from her bike on to an outstretched hand after being struck by a vehicle. The court heard she has two small surgical scars and sustained significant psychological injuries as a result of the event.
Ms McAleer Joyce says she made a statement to gardaí eight days after the incident.
Mr Kilfeather set out two matters that concerned the legal team.
An ambulance service member was scheduled to testify at the trial that Ms McAleer Joyce did not call the service in relation to the incident. It was the mother’s recollection that she rang, he said.
Counsel said it would be claimed that gardaí were not permitted to interview Paige and when officers went to look for the bike, her father said he had destroyed it. Lawyers have been advised that her grandfather had CCTV cameras at the entrance of the site of their homes, but it would be claimed he did not make this available to gardaí, the court heard.
Mr Kilfeather said the case was submitted to the personal injuries assessment board, which valued general damages at €48,000. The case previously came before the Circuit Court, which turned the offer down, the court heard.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart approved the settlement.
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