A young boy has received compensation for brain damage he sustained before he was born after his mother was involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver.
In February 2009, while Roisin Hammel was on her way to have her final pregnancy scan before her son, Cian, was born, she was involved in a motor incident which saw her thrown from the seven-seater vehicle in which she had been travelling. The driver of the car was uninsured. The incident occurred near Manhanagh, Co. Wexford.
As a result of the accident, Cian Hammel had to be delivered by emergency Caesarean section in hospital. Due to his mother’s accident shortly before he was born, Cian was born with severe brain damage. The boy now has troubles walking and is unsteady on his feet and also has difficulties with language.
As Cian’s mother was a minor at the time of the accident (she was 17 years of age), Cian sought the Baby Injury Compensation action through his grandmother Ann, Cian Hammel of Ford Court, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford. He sued the driver of the car, Simon Jordan, of Monaseed, High Fort, Gorey, Co Wexford.
The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), which handles compensation claims for victims of uninsured driving, was also sued as a result of the accident.
The court was told that the car which was driven by Mr Jordan allegedly went out of control and flipped over, causing Cian’s mother, who was in a rear seat, to be flung from the vehicle. Senior Counsel Rosario Boyle told the court that Roisin, who was studying for her Leaving Cert, had accepted a lift from Simon Jordan to attend her final scan.
Additionally, it was alleged that Mr Jordan had overtaken another vehicle, despite it not being safe to do so. Forensic examination further revealed that he was driving at an excessive speed given the weather conditions. These claims were denied by the defendant.
Ms Boyle said Ms Hammel was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. However, the MIBI later acknowledged that, had she been wearing a seat belt, the consequences for Cian would not have been better.
She said Ms Hammel’s waters broke and, due to this, she had to have an emergency caesarean section in hospital due to foetal distress. Ms Hammel, counsel said, was told to prepare for the worst and when Cian was delivered. He had to be resuscitated and there was multi-organ failure shortly after he was delivered.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the baby injury compensation settlement of €7.5 million. The judge stated that he hoped it will provide for Cian’s needs for the future, and wished the family well.