€80,000 for driver left with crash scars after sunglasses cut her face
A woman who suffered scarr-ing to her face when her car was rear-ended and pushed into a vehicle in front of her has been awarded more than €80,000 by the High Court.
Lorna Bentley had a pair of sunglasses on top of her head, but when the airbag went off they fell down on to her face, inflicting extensive lacerations, particularly to her left cheek.
Mother-of-two Ms Bentley (50), of The Commons, Lusk, Co Dublin, sued Liam Nolan, of Thorndale Lawn, Artane, who was driving the car that crashed into hers.
The accident happened on June 2, 2016 on Drumcondra Road, while Ms Bentley was stopped in traffic.
Liability was not an issue, and Mr Justice Anthony Barr assessed damages at €80,550.
The judge said the main aspect of Ms Bentley's injuries concerned the scarring to her face, though she also suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and lower back along with bruising to the left side of her body and left arm.
The judge said Ms Bentley noticed a large amount of blood flowing from her face on to her shirt after the accident.
Three men who came to her aid told her to stay where she was and not to look in the car mirror. She was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Ms Bentley underwent treatment for her injuries, but two years after the accident she continued to experience facial pain associated with the scarring and had continuing psychological difficulties.
A plastic surgeon thought it unlikely the scars would improve hugely with the passage of time, the judge said.
Ms Bentley told the court she was self-conscious of the scarring.
It was particularly difficult as a divorcee because she was now facing the prospect of returning to build a social life of her own.
Ms Bentley said she returned to work as a manager-secretary in the family motor business four weeks after the accident.
However, she continued to find it difficult dealing with members of the public, for fear that they would be looking at her.
Taking all the circumstances into account, and noting the scarring would be permanent and not amenable to revision surgery, the judge awarded her €30,000 for pain and suffering to date, €45,000 for future suffering and special damages of €5,550, totalling €80,550.
The court heard a higher sum of €93,000 to settle had been made before the case to Ms Bentley's side by way of tender offer.
Her lawyer said it came at the 11th hour, though this is disputed by the defendant.
A refusal to accept a tender offer has consequences for costs orders, which Mr Justice Barr said he would deal with in the New Year.