Cork mother left with brain damage after crash claims €1m in lost earnings

The counsel for Cork County Council said the claim for €1 million was 'extremely spurious that goes to the credibility of the entire case'
Cork mother left with brain damage after crash claims €1m in lost earnings

A young mother of three who was catastrophically injured when the car her husband was driving collided with a tractor on a Cork road has claimed €1 million in loss of earnings, the High Court has heard.

The counsel for Cork County Council, Fergus O’Hagan SC, told the High Court the claim in the case of Olivia Redmond O’Callaghan for €1 million in loss of earnings was "extremely spurious that goes to the credibility of the entire case."

In a submission to the court, Mr O’Hagan told Mr Justice Tony O’Connor when an application was made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in 2013 in this case there was no claim for loss of earnings. He said later the figure of €744,000 "came out of the blue" and this, he said, has since escalated to €1 million.

Olivia Redmond O’Callaghan was 28 years old when the accident took place on the old Glanmire to Cork road in 2011. She was left with massive brain damage and needs 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Her counsel, Dr John O’Mahony SC, previously told the High Court that the mother of two, who was pregnant with her third child at the time of the accident, suffered massive brain damage which has “rendered her totally incapacitated.”

He said she has been left with a “most appalling repertoire of profoundly serious injuries” and does not recognise her children. Her husband, Myles O’Callaghan, was driving the car when it collided with a tractor. He lost his life in the accident.

'Highly contentious'

In the second day of the hearing where Ms Redmond O’Callaghan has sued her late husband’s estate, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and Cork County Council over the accident, Mr Justice O’Connor was told the issue of loss of earnings was a highly contentious aspect of the case.

The counsel for the MIBI, Edward Walsh SC, said Ms Redmond O’Callaghan had not worked for three years before the accident. He said he fully accepted that the case involved one of the most profound injuries you could imagine, but he argued Ms Redmond O'Callaghan was not entitled to general damages, only special damages such as care.

Mr Walsh also contended liability should be heard first in the case.

Olivia Redmond O’Callaghan, now aged 37 and from Gowlane South, Donoughmore, Co Cork, has taken her action through her stepfather, Liam Power.

Against Cork County Council it is claimed it constructed a public roadway which was allegedly defective and dangerous to road users.

The road, it is claimed, was constructed with a very tight bend with a radius of curvature allegedly below the minimum acceptable standard.

It was further alleged that high vegetation was permitted to grow on the embankment of the road, allegedly restricting forward visibility. There was also an alleged failure to erect any proper warning signs.

Cork County Council claims the accident was caused by the alleged negligence of the late Mr O’Callaghan with the driving, speed, care, management and control of the car in which his wife was a passenger.

The MIBI, in its defence, has claimed Mrs Redmond O’Callaghan allegedly failed to have any regard for her own safety and permitted herself to be carried in a car for which she allegedly knew there was no valid insurance policy in place.

Mr Justice O’Connor will on Thursday hear further submissions on certain issues around the management of the case, which is expected to last six weeks.

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