A High Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation for a passenger in a car accident for thirty-two year old woman who was left with devastating injuries from a crash in 2010.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard how Lydia Branley from Kinlough, Country Leitrim, suffered devastating injuries when the driver of a BMW Coupe she was travelling in as a passenger lost control of the car, which then went through two crash barriers, hit a telegraph pole, and landed upside down in a stream.
The accident – which happened on the N4 at the Ballisodare slip road – occurred at a speed of 150km/hour in September 2010; and, due to the impact with the telegraph pole, the driver and a second male passenger were thrown clear from the car.
However Lydia – who had been wearing a seatbelt – had to be cut free from the wreckage of the car and was taken unconscious by ambulance to Sligo General Hospital; from where she was later transferred in a coma to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
When Lydia woke from the coma nine months later, she was horrified to discover that she was unable to use her arms and legs, speak or feed herself. She now needs constant assistance with everyday tasks, despite her brain still being completely active.
The driver of the BMW – Martin Kearney from Balinoo in County Mayo – was subsequently convicted of dangerous driving causing serious harm, given a six-year prison sentence and banned from driving for twenty years.
Through her father, Lydia claimed injury compensation for a passenger in a car accident from Kearney and the owner of the car – Kearney´s father – and a settlement of €10 million was agreed between the parties.
Due to Lydia´s inability to communicate, the settlement of compensation for a passenger in a car accident had to be approved by a judge – which is how Ms Justice Mary Irvine came to be told of the circumstances of the accident and Lydia´s injuries.
The judge approved the settlement, adding “It does not give back Lydia her life. Nothing will, but it will provide her with the best care and hopefully bring back a degree of normality.”