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Thursday 14 November 2019

Garage boss gets €32k damages after truck dragged car on M50

Rosalind Ferguson
Rosalind Ferguson

A garage manager who was "significantly traumatised" after a 42-tonne truck dragged her car along the M50 has been awarded €32,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge John O'Connor told Rosalind Ferguson, of Wingfield, Stepaside, Co Dublin, he would have awarded her more had she taken the advice of a consultant psychiatrist to undergo cognitive behavioural therapy in order to mitigate her psychological injuries.

Judge O'Connor said he acc- epted she had suffered significant and serious post-traumatic stress disorder, but just because she had not liked the cognitive behavioural therapy prescribed for her did not excuse her from undergoing the treatment.

Ms Ferguson told the court that a truck, owned by Glen Mills transport, of Millbanks, New Ross, Co Wexford, hit her Fiat 500 Abarth after switching lanes on the M50 and dragged it for between 50 and 100 feet along the motorway before coming to a stop.

Barrister Nevan Powell, for Ms Ferguson, said the accident happened in early morning bumper-to-bumper traffic after she had dropped her children off at school.

Her car had become lodged on the front of the truck and was pushed for a considerable distance.

She claimed the truck driver had apologised and accepted liability for the accident.

Powerless

The court heard Ms Ferguson had not made a serious issue about her physical injuries, but had thought she was going to die as she had been dragged along while powerless to do anything.

She had suffered nightmares, flashbacks and a disorderly sleeping pattern as she relived the accident.

She had become angry and upset, withdrawn and lacking in energy and motivation.

The court heard she suffered irritability, impatience and upset, snapping at her children over little things which she normally would not have done.

Truck driver Francis Keathing said the accident had been caused by Ms Ferguson pulling in front of him from a slip lane.

He denied an allegation by her that he had told her he had been watching snaps of Facebook as he was driving.

Judge O'Connor said everyone had a duty to mitigate their injuries as best they could, and she had not taken the advice of attending for cognitive behavioural therapy, which may have eased her psychological complaints.

The judge said he believed on the balance of probabilities that she had proved her case.

He felt the evidence that she had driven at speed on to the slow lane into the path of the truck did not stack up.

The judge awarded her €30,000 damages for personal injury plus €2,589 special damages for loss and expenses.

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