High Court: Carer awarded €0.5m for injuries sustained in road traffic accident

A woman who was crashed into as she drove home from her job as a carer has been awarded €493,786 in the High Court.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was satisfied that the woman was a genuine witness, and a hard worker who would have been able to continue working full time had it not been for the injuries sustained in the accident; he was therefore satisfied that her awards for loss of earnings required only a modest deduction for Reddy v. Bates.


In January 2013, Adeola Ozoruchi was travelling to her home in Sligo when a motor vehicle, property of Kilcawley Building & Civil Engineering (Sligo) Ltd and Kilcawley Building & Civil Engineering Ltd being driven by Martin Tuffy, overtook Michael Crean’s vehicle and collided into her.

Ms Ozoruchi was admitted by ambulance to Sligo General Hospital and was then transferred to Tallaght Hospital in Dublin until February 2013. The Court heard that Ms Ozoruchi underwent two operations and when she was discharged home, she was prescribed a significant cocktail of heavy pain medication.

Ms Ozoruchi was left with two significant large operation scars, and suffered from on-going low back, hip, and thigh pain. She attempted to return to work in January 2014, but was unable to persist due to the heavy physical nature of the work – as a result of the accident she was not able to return to her pre-accident work.

Her husband, who had travelled with her to Tallaght and taken time off work to do so, was let go from his employment during this time. Unable to find work in Ireland, he went to the UK with Ms Ozoruchi following him in August 2014.

In February 2016, Ms Ozoruchi found work in England as a part time home care worker, the Court heard that this work is light and involves supervision and she is employed on a contracted basis of 16 hours per week.

Mr Justice Cross was satisfied from the evidence that Ms Ozoruchi had significant physical injuries in the accident; she was left with an on-going hip problem; two on-going permanent and very unsightly scars; suffered a mild to moderate psychological injury; and remains in pain, requiring her to continue with medication.

Justice Cross described Ms Ozoruchi as a hard worker who “enjoyed her work in Cheshire Homes and would have continued working there. After a long period of absence, they were pleased to take her back to work although unfortunately was unable to persevere after a short number of days”.

The parties were in agreement as to the out of pocket special damages, which were agreed as €68,786. The issue between the parties was therefore not the pain and suffering of Ms Ozoruchi to date or into the future, but rather the issue of Ms Ozoruchi’s loss of earnings.

Loss of Earnings to Date

In relation to her loss of earnings to date, Ms Ozoruchi stated that before the accident she was earning €799 gross per week. Mr Justice Cross was satisfied that, although her contract was only for 22 hours per week, Ms Ozoruchi would have continued working in that job earning €799 given her “enthusiasm for work and her clear ability to do the work and the fact that though she was absent for a long period of time, her employers were prepared to take her back to work”.

Her loss of earnings allowing for the deductions of the UK Social Welfare and her UK earnings were actuarialised in the sum of €102,249. Noting the demand for carers both in Ireland and the United Kingdom, Justice Cross stated that any reduction in respect of Reddy v. Bates ought to be minimal and therefore awarded €100,000 for loss of earnings to date.

Loss of Earnings into the Future

In relation to Ms Ozoruchi’s future loss of earnings, her earnings in the UK amount to approximately €220 per week net. Assuming she would have moved to England and be working in a similar job though full time (39 hours rather than 16 hours per week) her future loss was calculated to be €191 per week up to her retirement at the age of 68.

On the actuary’s calculation this totals €198,449, however given the Social Welfare payments and a relatively modest deduction for Reddy v. Bates, the Court assessed Ms Ozoruchi’s loss of earnings into the future in the sum of €175,000.

General Damages to Date and into the Future

Justice Cross stated that the function of the Court in assessing general damages is to ascertain what sum, being fair and reasonable to both the plaintiff and the defendant, would place the plaintiff into the same position as she would have been had the accident not occurred.

Utilising the categories of injuries in the Book of Quantum, Justice Cross stated that there was no doubt that Ms Ozoruchi sustained a severe injury. However, when assessing damages, Justice Cross did not find the Book of Quantum of assistance in Ms Ozoruchi’s case with significant cocktail of injuries including psychiatric injuries and severe scarring.

Given the severity, Justice Cross awarded €100,000 for pain and suffering to date, and €50,000 in relation to future pain and suffering for the permanent scarring and on-going physical and psychological pain.


The entirety of the award to Ms Ozoruchi was calculated at €493,786, summarised as:

  • Special damages €68,786
  • Loss of earnings to date €100,000
  • Loss of earnings into the future €175,000
  • Pain and suffering to date €100,000
  • Pain and suffering into the future €50,000
    • by Seosamh Gráinséir for Irish Legal News
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