A Cork pensioner who was knocked down by a drunk driver while on a dream holiday to Malta and suffered catastrophic injuries has settled a High Court action for €3.1 million.
David Cooley who is severely disabled and has to use a wheelchair has not been able to live at home since that night in Malta three years ago when the car collided with him as he walked back to his hotel with his wife and friends.
His solicitor, Daniel Wall, outside the Four Courts criticised the way the case was handled by the Maltese authorities and he alleged the driver had been five times the drink-driving limit when arrested.
Mr Wall said: "David, on holidays in Malta, was knocked down by a drunk driver who was five times the drink-driving limit when arrested. There has been no prosecution to date in Malta.
He said the settlement will mean that Mr Cooley, who has been living in a nursing home, can now return to his loving family who intend to build or convert a home to suit his needs.
David Cooley (70) from Youghal had sued the driver’s insurance company Mapfre Middlesea PLC with offices at Middlesea House, Floriana, Malta over the accident on April 5, 2019, at Silema, Malta. Mr Cooley was thrown into the air and landed on the road suffering catastrophic injuries.
His counsel, Thomas Creed SC, told the court that Mr Cooley, who only retired two years before the accident after 40 years’ service with Cork County Council, was on holiday with his wife Margaret and their friends.
Counsel said after they arrived in Malta they went out and had one drink and were on their way back to the hotel when the accident happened. He suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as injuries to his chest, hip, leg and arm and was in an induced coma.
Mr Cooley was transferred to Cork University Hospital by air ambulance on April 30 and from there to the National Rehabilitation Hospital.
Counsel said Mr Cooley has made excellent progress and regained cognitive functions. He said his wife Margaret and their three daughters wanted to be able to care for Mr Cooley at home. Counsel said he needs 24-hour care and will need that level of care for the rest of his life as he is severely disabled.
In an affidavit to the court, Mr Cooley said he approved of the settlement. Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey wished the family all the best for the future.
Mr Cooley developed a special relationship with Malta after he was one of the main organisers in an effort to restore a famous bronze naval crest to the island nation.