Posted: August 22nd, 2014
A man from County Wicklow has resolved his refuse truck injury claim against Dublin City Council after a High Court judge awarded him almost €5 million compensation.
Padraig Hearns (39) – a first class steward for British Airways – was attacked during a night out in Dublin on 23rd April 2007 and left lying in the road on Sycamore Street in the city´s Temple Bar area. As he lay dazed in the road, Padraig was run over by a Dublin City Council refuse truck and suffered a fractured skull and broken arm among many other injuries.
The operators of the refuse truck failed to notice Padraig as they drove off, and it was sometime later that he was taken to hospital; where he was put into an induced coma. Padraig underwent several operations for his injuries, but such was the extent of the brain damage that he suffered, he will never be able live an independent life or work again.
Padraig´s parents from Hollywood in County Wicklow made a refuse truck injury claim against Dublin City Council. The local authority denied its liability for the injuries that Padraig had sustained and contested the claim on the grounds that the refuse lorry operators could not be held at fault for Padraig being attacked and being left lying in the road.
The case went to the High Court, where Mr Justice Michael Peart was told that Dublin City Council had broken its own by-laws – implemented just three months earlier – by allowing its refuse truck operators to collect rubbish in the Temple Bar area between the hours of 12:00pm and 6:00pm. Had they adhere to the regulations, Padraig´s counsel argued, the tragic accident would not have occurred.
Judge Peart found in Padraig´s favour, commenting that the operators of the refuse truck had a duty of care to ensure it was safe to drive the vehicle through the narrow streets of that part of the city. The judge said that had one of the operating team remained outside of the truck as it moved from premises to premises, they would have seen see Padraig lying in the path of their vehicle.
The judge awarded Padraig €4,885,888 compensation in settlement of his refuse truck injury claim – which included €266,341 for Padraig´s loss of earnings, €350,000 for the pain and suffering he had experienced in the past and would experience in the future and €3,485,000 towards future care expenses. The judge also awarded legal costs against Dublin City Council.