Teenage Pedestrian Awarded Substantial Damages for Defective Traffic Lights.
The High Court recently awarded a young man in excess of €800,000 in damages for serious and permanent injuries as a result of road traffic accident whereby he was knocked down by a car at a set of traffic lights in South Dublin.
At the time of the accident the Plaintiff was in his early teens. He was familiar with the traffic lights in question which provided pedestrian access for local residents across a major national route. This point was duly noted by the trial Judge as was the fact the area was known to be “very residential” with pedestrians, adults and children alike using the pedestrian crossing night and day.
The Plaintiff was struck by a car as he crossed the road at the pedestrian crossing. He thought he had the benefit of the “green man” but it transpired there was a problem with the function of the traffic lights and the traffic light sequence. He suffered serious fracture injuries and also a brain injury for which he required extensive hospital and rehabilitation treatment.
What is most interesting about this case is the fact the Plaintiff sued not only the driver of the car that struck him but also the Local Authority as the traffic lights in question were undergoing major repairs at the time of accident rendering them unsafe. It was accepted in the case the Local Authority in question was responsible for the repairs and overseeing the continued safe operation of the pedestrian crossing during the course of the repair work.
At the trial evidence was given from various witnesses that the traffic lights were not working due to the repairs being carried out and which impeded not only the safe crossing of pedestrians but also the ability of motorists to ascertain traffic flow.
The case was strenuously fought by both the insurance company for the driver of the car and the Local Authority who between them made allegations that the young pedestrian was contributory negligent – i.e. that the accident was his own fault.
In a detailed written Judgement the presiding Judge found the Local Authority fully liable and no negligence was found against either the driver of the car or the Plaintiff.
At the time of writing this article it is understood the Local Authority is appealing this decision to the Supreme Court however the presiding Judge directed that in the interests of justice, the Plaintiff who was seriously injured should receive a substantial interim payment while the appeal is pending.
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