Worker crushed between two trucks receives payout

Wednesday 02 July 2014 17.36
Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan today awarded the former council worker over quarter of a million euro
Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan today awarded the former council worker over quarter of a million euro

A council refuse worker nearly killed when he was crushed between a van and his work lorry has received a payout of over €250,000 at the High Court.

Former GAA referee Dermot O'Leary, 37, of Whitefort, Crossabeg, became wedged between a Wexford Co Council refuse truck and another vehicle near Caim, Enniscorthy, on 30 October 2010.

The court sitting in Waterford last week heard that the hospital did not initially diagnose a collapsed lung.

Mr O'Leary was knocked unconscious and taken to Wexford General Hospital.  

However, he was released from Wexford General Hospital later that day but had to be readmitted to intensive care in the small hours of the following morning when he could not breathe.

Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan today awarded the former council worker a total of €253,678.  

Of the total sum, €15,808 was for loss of earnings, along with €44,700 for future loss of income.  

Meanwhile, he received €170,000 in general damages with €23,179 for special damages.

Evidence was heard over three days at the High Court in a damages assessment in Waterford last week.

The hurling referee lost consciousness when he was crushed against the lorry before being thrown aside.

He subsequently suffered a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and damaged scapula, fractured teeth, dislocated little finger, soft tissue damage to his shoulder and a fracture to his lower leg.  

He also suffered a minor head injury, post traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbance and has had numerous operations to repair damage to his leg.

Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Neuro Psychologist Dr Ann O'Connell said that she found Mr O'Leary to be a "genuine and motivated" client.  

"He had a very traumatic diagnostic process."

Insurance company FBD, on behalf of its client, Martin Codd of Rathnure in Enniscorthy, had already agreed liability in the case.

However, the defendant challenged claims of the extent of the damages in the case.

Currently on disability, Mr O'Leary said he feels frustrated because his wife has to work three jobs to supplement the family income.

"Whether it is old fashioned or not, I believe it is the man's job to provide for his family," he said during the action last week.  

The plaintiff, who has undergone a number of surgeries and procedures since the accident, had to stand intermittently during his testimony because of discomfort to his right knee.