A County Wicklow man has been awarded almost €5 million injury compensation for a refuse lorry accident which left him with a fractured skull.
Padraig Hearns (39) – a former Mr Ireland – was having a night out in Dublin on 23rd April 2007, when he was attacked in the city´s Temple Bar area and left lying in the road on Sycamore Street. As Padraig lay on the cobbled street, he was run over by a Dublin City Council refuse lorry and suffered a fractured skull, broken arm and eye injuries.
Padraig from Hollywood in County Wicklow was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he was put into an induced coma. He remained in hospital for several months and underwent several surgeries for his injuries; however, due to the brain damage he suffered in the accident, Padraig – who used to work for British Airways as a first class air steward – will never be able live an independent life or work again.
On Padraig´s behalf, his parents made a claim against Dublin City Council for injury compensation for the refuse lorry accident. Dublin City Council denied its liability for Padraig´s injuries and said that the refuse lorry operators could not be held responsible for Padraig being attacked or lying in the road in front of their lorry.
With no agreement reached, the case went to the High Court where it was heard before Mr Justice Michael Peart. Judge Peart was told that Dublin City Council had broken its own by-laws – implemented just three months earlier – by collecting rubbish in Temple Bar between the hours of 12:00pm and 6:00pm and that, had they not done so, Padraig would not have suffered such tragic injuries.
Judge Peart also noted that the operators of the refuse lorry had a duty of care to have one of their team outside of the lorry moved from premises to premises to ensure it was safe to do so. The judge considered that the refuse lorry operators had breached their duty of care by failing to do this and, if they had, they would have seen see Padraig lying in the path of their vehicle.
The judge awarded Padraig €4,885,888 injury compensation for the refuse lorry accident, which included €266,341 for loss of earnings, €350,000 for past and present pain and suffering, €155,230 for care expenses to date, and €3,485,000 for care expenses in the future. Legal costs were awarded against Dublin City Council.