€10m payout for van crash victim left in wheelchair
A young man who suffered a brain injury when he was a passenger in a van driven by a learner driver who had been drinking has settled his High Court action for €10m.
William White was sitting between the front seats and was not wearing a seatbelt when he was thrown out of a window.
It happened as the driver over-corrected on a bend, spun out of control and hit a ditch twice as they travelled home after a night out.
Mr White’s counsel, Thomas Creed SC, told the court his client and the driver of the van, James Lordan, had been drinking and playing pool for about three hours until 1.30am and then headed home in the van along with two others.
The small van struck the ditch twice. The driver and two other passengers emerged unscathed but Mr White suffered a severe head injury, counsel said.
The court was told the settlement reflects that Mr White, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was deemed 45pc at fault and the driver was 55pc to blame.
Mr White was 22 when the accident happened at Inchincurka, Dunmanway, Co Cork, just a few days before Christmas in 2013.
The court heard he cannot talk or walk, needs to use a wheelchair and requires 24-hour care.
Mr White, of Derrinacahara, Dunmanway, through his mother Eleanor White, sued the van’s owner and driver, Lordan (24), of Droumdrastil, Dunmanway, over the accident which happened on December 21, 2013.
It was claimed that Lordan drove too fast and allegedly failed to have any adequate regard to physical features and conditions prevailing at the time and place of the crash.
Mr White was unconscious when admitted to hospital and a CT scan showed multiple haemorrhagic brain contusions. He was in a coma for five weeks.
Four years ago, Lordan pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing serious harm to Mr White and to drink-driving when he appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Judge Donagh McDonagh, who said the crash had occurred because of a momentary lapse of concentration, fined him €3,500 and disqualified him from driving for four years and three months.
The judge said imprisoning Lordan would achieve nothing by way of punishment or rehabilitation of a defendant, who was remorseful and also suffering the consequences of his actions.
At the time Mr White’s father Michael told the court that his son was in a coma for five weeks after the accident.
“He loved his girlfriend and his life and was very happy. But now his and our lives have changed dramatically as he needs 24-hour-a-day care now and into the future,” his father said.
Yesterday Michael White told the High Court that his son is making progress and his family see changes every six months.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement.