A schoolgirl who suffered a severe brain injury after being knocked down by a doctor who drove at speed through a pedestrian crossing has been awarded almost €3m at the High Court.
Ashleigh Carroll, who was 14 at the time, was on her way to school when she was run over by a car driven by Dr Shereen El Mashad at a pedestrian crossing near Oscar Traynor Road in Coolock in Dublin on 20 October 2016.
The court heard the doctor was on her way to work at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
Senior Counsel Richard Keane said she had originally given an "utterly dishonest" account of the accident in which she blamed Ashleigh, who could not recollect what happened and had no one with her at the time.
Mr Keane said the defence alleged that Ashleigh was entirely responsible for the accident and this had caused great distress to her and to her mother, Louise.
Mr Keane said it appeared Ashleigh would not get any compensation at all for her injuries.
It was only when Ashleigh's solicitor discovered that the doctor had left the country and an international arrest warrant had been issued arising out of the circumstances of the accident, that liability was admitted in November 2020, more than four years on.
The solicitor, Keira O'Reilly of Keans solicitors, discovered that two witnesses who were stationary at the pedestrian crossing had given statements to gardaí that they saw the car driven by the doctor come at "tremendous speed along the bus lane and through the red light".
Mr Keane said Ashleigh was thrown violently into the air, and struck her head on the ground, causing a significant head injury.
The court was told Ashleigh had done exceptionally well to cope with her injuries. A consultant had said that because of her young age and determination she would be able to work in the future, but the accident had had very severe consequences for her.
Mr Keane said he was recommending the court approve a settlement of €2.95m.
He said Ashleigh's mother was happy to follow the legal advice, although Ashleigh herself was unhappy with the amount.
She was a very determined and brilliant young girl, he said, who had been doing very well academically before the accident and she had been expecting a settlement along the lines of €20m, he said.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey said there was a difference between what everyone would like for Ashleigh and what was achievable according to the law and he was satisfied her lawyers had achieved the maximum possible on the evidence available.
He approved the settlement and wished the family well in the future.
Outside court, Ms O’Reilly, speaking on behalf of the family, said their lives had changed forever on 20 October 2016.
She said Ashleigh had suffered catastrophic injuries and had been blamed for causing them herself for four years. This was like a dark cloud hanging over them, she said, when they were already trying to deal with the aftermath of the accident.
Ms O’Reilly said Ashleigh was a high achieving student at the time of the accident who excelled at education and had aspirations to go to Harvard and to become President of Ireland.
The actions of the defendant had cut these dreams short, she said.
She said Ashleigh was a bright, witty, determined and resilient young lady and the family were satisfied the action had been resolved.