High Court reporters
A young girl who was hit by a train near her home in Tipperary has settled her High Court action for €400,000.
Mary Ryan was only nine years of age when she was hit by the train on the Waterford-Limerick Junction line at Tipperary town 10 years ago.
Mr Justice Garrett Simons who approved the settlement in the High Court said Mary, who has severe intellectual disabilities and is non-verbal, receives excellent care and support from her loving parents.
Mary Ryan, who is now 19 years of age of Tipperary town, had through her mother Breda sued Iarnród Éireann and Tipperary County Council over the accident on March 12th, 2012.
Mr Justice Simons said Mary lives with her parents in a family home that is leased from Tipperary County Council. The judge said the family home backs onto a railway line.
The judge said the claim related to March 2012 when Mary made her way through or over a fence at the back of the family home and entered onto the railway line.
She was hit by a train and suffered significant injuries. Her mother ran to help her daughter who was lying on the tracks and was in a comatose state.
As a result of the accident, Mary Ryan suffered a concussion, a collapsed left lung, a fractured right arm and abrasions and lacerations around her legs.
She was rushed to hospital and was admitted to the intensive care unit. She spent two days in ICU and another four days in hospital.
The main allegation in the proceedings, the judge said, is it that there was an alleged failure to put in place an appropriate wall or fence between the family home and the railway line or an alleged failure to maintain properly such fencing as had been provided.
The judge said unfortunately Mary later developed epilepsy and suffered seizures. Mary’s mother Breda told the court there has been a “big change” in her daughter since the accident.
She said prior to the accident Mary had been very mobile and enjoyed going out to the town, the shops or the beach, but she now rarely leaves the house, and it takes two people to mind her.
Mr Justice Simons said were the proceedings to go to a full hearing, there was a real risk the damages awarded would be less than the €400,000 offered.
He said this is because the injured party might not succeed in persuading the trial judge that there was a causal connection between the accident in 2012 and the subsequent health difficulties suffered, including both the onset of epilepsy and a stroke six years ago.
The judge noted the settlement amount would allow for improvement in Ms Ryan’s day-to-day circumstances.
The judge praised Ms Ryan’s parents, who he said have provided excellent care and support for their daughter.