A High Court judge has described the system of awarding compensation to victims of catastrophic injuries as "outdated, ineffective and unjust".
Mrs Justice Mary Irvine was speaking as she was asked to approve a settlement of €4 million to a young Dublin woman left with permanent brain damage after being struck by a car five years ago.
Jennifer Courtney of Westpark Estate in Artane was crossing a road in Coolock on 17 November 2007 when she was hit by a car in what was described as a “dart-out incident”.
Ms Courtney suffered a traumatic brain injury which has left her wheelchair-bound and requiring 24-hour care.
The court was told she is likely to need long-term care in a specialist unit.
Mrs Justice Irvine said she was concerned about life expectancy in this and similar cases and that while €4m was a lot, it could fall short in the context of life expectancy.
She said she was concerned that the settlement was based on one doctor's assessment that Jennifer could live until she was 61, but another doctor had given a longer life expectancy of 69 years.
She said that if the settlement was based on the lower life expectancy of 61, Jennifer would run out of money at 62.
"Ask me if that's justice. I am worried about it," she said.
Mrs Justice Irvine told Jennifer's father, Hugh Courtney, who has taken the action on behalf of his daughter, that although €4m was an enormous sum, her job was to make sure Jennifer was taken care of for the rest of her life.
She said the courts should be giving people periodic compensation payments - a sum every year - and was very disappointed that government had not legislated on the issue.
She said she had sat on a committee two years ago that had advised to change the system to periodic compensation payments.