herald

Tuesday 16 January 2018

'Crash cost me chance to win All-Ireland', says woman awarded €30k

Anita Haughey had been given a trial for the Dubs football side before the crash left her in severe pain
Anita Haughey had been given a trial for the Dubs football side before the crash left her in severe pain

A woman who told a court that she most likely would have played senior football for Dublin had it not been for a rear-ending traffic accident, has been awarded almost €30,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge Eoin Garavan said he was awarding Anita Haughey (29) €23,000 for pain and injury as well as €5,000 for loss of sporting opportunity. He also awarded her €1,066 special damages.

Ms Haughey, of Foxhill Avenue, Baldoyle, Dublin 13, yesterday told her counsel John P Kehoe she had been given a trial for the Dublin team just before the accident in February 2015.

She said she was confident that, but for injuries to her neck, shoulders and lower back, she would have made the Dublin panel and ultimately the All-Ireland final, which the team won after beat Mayo this year.

Mr Kehoe told the court that, although it had initially been claimed by defendants Andrej Banas and Iveta Banasova that the accident had never taken place, liability was now conceded and the case had become a matter of damages assessment.

Ms Haughey told the court she had just dropped one of her two children to school when she was struck from behind by Mr Banas's car, driven at the time by Ms Banasova.

"I got out of my car and was almost knocked down as the other driver sped off," she said. "Luckily it had been caught on CCTV."

Ms Haughey told Judge Garavan her neck, shoulders and lower back had been injured in the accident and, although she had been treated at Beaumont Hospital and later with physiotherapy and medication, she had got on with her life.

She said she had not played Gaelic football since the accident but had returned to O'Tooles GAA club to manage and train the U-11 girls' team.

Opportunity

"I think I lost the opportunity to play for the Dublin senior team and win an All-Ireland medal with them," she said.

"Such an opportunity to make the panel does not come around too often."

Ms Haughey told Mr Kehoe she has an All-Ireland winner's medal in soccer and had scored the winning goal in the match.

After representing her country in the Irish karate team, she had moved on to football.

She agreed with barrister Paul O'Neill, for the defendants, that she had been approaching the end of her football career at the time of the accident and there was no guarantee she would have got a position on the Dublin senior team.

Judge Garavan, awarding damages totalling €29,066, said Ms Haughey had suffered a moderate to minor soft tissue injury and he was assessing damages on the basis of a recovery span of three-and-a-half years.

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