Crash victim's compensation is cut by €300k
A MAN has been awarded €660,000 for a brain injury suffered in a car crash - but he will be entitled to just over half that after he was found to be negligent by getting into a car driven by a man with whom he had been on a drinking spree.
Michael Tevlin (35) was found by the High Court to be 45pc negligent by getting into the car and because he was also not wearing a seat belt in the head-on collision which claimed the lives of three others, including a pregnant woman.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross ruled the plasterer is entitled to a declaration against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), which compensates victims of uninsured drivers, only up to a limit of €364,000 after he was injured in the crash which was described by the judge as "truly horrific".
A stay on the award was also granted on the application of the MIBI which intends to appeal the decision to the new Court of Appeal.
Mr Justice Cross granted a stay providing €150,000 is paid out to Mr Tevlin who was a back seat passenger in the car.
The court heard Mr Tevlin has no memory of the accident when the car veered across a road as the driver - who he had been drinking with earlier - attempted to overtake on the Carrickmacross Bypass, Co Monahgan, on December 27, 2010.
The driver, Kevin McArdle, who was later jailed for dangerous driving, ploughed in to a car driven by Stephen Connolly whose 39-year-old pregnant wife, Roisin was killed.
Two 27-year-old men, who were also passengers in McArdle's car, died in the accident.
Mr Tevlin from Lisankisky, Kingscourt, Co Cavan sued Mr McArdle, Longfield, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan and the MIBI, as a result of the injuries he received in the accident. Judgment was previously granted against McArdle in default of appearance. He is serving a prison sentence for dangerous driving causing death.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Cross said the circumstances of the accident, a high-speed head-on collision, were truly horrific.
Mr Tevlin and Mr McArdle, the judge said, went on what has been "rightly described as a drinking spree" around various licensed premises in Cavan, Louth and Meath.
Between 9.30am and 6pm, Mr Tevlin consumed twelve pints of beer and four half measures of spirits and McArdle had ten and a half pints of beer and five half measures of spirits.
Mr Justice Cross said it was contended that because Mr Tevlin allowed himself to be carried by McArdle in the car when both had clearly consumed over the legal limits of alcohol that the driver owed no duty of care to him.
The judge said he could not accept that proposition. There was a considerable difference between a driver being urged on by the a passenger to speed and what was a tragic result from an enterprise that undoubtedly commenced as a "misguided exercise in post-Christmas camaraderie".
Finding contributory negligence on Mr Tevlin's part, the judge said the degree of fault on the person whose intoxication was the prime cause of the accident must be greater than the contributory negligence of Mr Tevlin who allowed himself to be carried by the intoxicated driver.
The judge reduced the award by 35pc in relation to allowing himself to be carried and added another 10pc reduction for not wearing a seat belt.