A judge has approved settlements totalling €60,000 damages for three children who had to be snatched from their blazing family car and watch on the roadside with their parents as the vehicle was destroyed in flames.
Judge John O’Connor heard in the Circuit Civil Court that the children and their parents had been travelling in their father’s new Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace crossover when Mr Pierre Ennis noticed a burning smell coming from the front right of the vehicle.
Barrister David Murray, counsel for the three children, told the court Mr Ennis, of Wadelai Green, Glasnevin, Dublin 11, had pulled over to investigate what was happening and noticed flames under the vehicle.
“Mr Ennis evacuated his wife and 17-months-old baby, Willow, as daughter Anna Francesca helped her three-year-old brother, Theo, escape through the rear hatch door,” Mr Murray said in a remote hearing of the case.
Mr Murray, who appeared with M.D. O’Loughlin Solicitors, said 12-year-old Anna Francesca had helped her younger brother, Theo, escape while her parents dealt with getting the baby out of the smoke-filled car.
He said flames and smoke spread through the vehicle and ultimately destroyed it as the family helplessly looked on.
Mr Murray said that while none of the family required immediate medical help the children had suffered post-traumatic stress and other psychological injuries with flashbacks of the incident. The youngest child, Willow, like her siblings had suffered mental distress.
Willow had suffered from smoke inhalation which had caused a cough and wheezing which developed into a chest infection for which she had been prescribed antibiotics for a number of weeks. She had also been prescribed an inhaler and required close monitoring.
Dr Shafrizan Tajiri had prepared medical reports on the effects on the children for the court.
Judge O’Connor, who said the family had suffered a traumatic event, approved settlement offers from Volkswagen Group Ireland Limited, Liffey Valley Motor Campus, of €25,000 for Anna Francesca; €20,000 for Theo and €15,000 for Willow.
The court heard the accident had occurred on February 22nd, 2019 and involved the family’s months old Tiguan. All three children had sued the motor group through their father Pierre Ennis.