A young woman, who was injured in a car crash that took the life of her friend, has resolved her car accident passenger injury claim after a hearing at the High Court.
On 23rd December 2008, Leah McVeigh was one of five teenagers who went for a drive in two cars outside the village of Drumkeerin. The first car was driven by 18-year-old Darragh Flynn and contained two of Leah´s teenage friends; while Leah was the sole passenger in the second car driven by 17-year-old John Williams – who had only received the car two weeks previously as a birthday gift.
Flynn and Williams raced each other for three miles on the outskirts of the village until Williams – attempting an overtaking manoeuvre on a bend – lost control of his vehicle, hit a grass verge and crashed into a parked lorry on the other side of the road. Williams was fatally injured in the accident, and Leah sustained a trauma to the head, a broken collarbone and was later diagnosed with PTSD.
As Leah was only 16 years of age at the time of the crash, her mother – Ethel McVeigh from Drumkeerin, County Leitrim – made a car accident passenger injury claim against Flynn and the insurance company representing Williams – Quinn Direct. A settlement of passenger accident injury compensation was agreed for €100,000; but neither Flynn nor the insurance company would accept liability for Leah´s injuries and the claim proceeded to court.
At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Moriarty heard testimony from Flynn and the two other passengers who were present on the day on the crash. The judge commented that he believed the testimony given by Flynn and his male passenger to be “self-serving”, and felt that the evidence fiven by the second passenger – Fern Skelton – to be more accurate.
Mr Justice Moriarty found that Flynn was 22.5 percent liable for causing the crash in which John Williams died, and ordered him to pay Leah €22,500 of the compensation settlement. The balance of Leah´s car accident passenger injury claim will be paid by Quinn Direct.