Valerie Bourke (26) who was left irreparably brain damaged after her car was involved in a collision with a truck, has had a £5.9m compensation package approved following her brain injury case in the High Court.
Ms Bourke had just turned 21 in May 2006, when the red Nissan Micra she was driving on the road between Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford was struck by a truck driven by Patrick Holden.
Valerie was taken to hospital suffering from catastrophic brain damage. She remained there until the following April, during which time she was unable to speak, required twenty four hour assistance and was fed via a tube.
She was then transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dublin and six months later moved to a neuro-rehabilitation centre in the UK for further assessment of her needs. It was not until December 2008 – almost two and a half years after the accident – that she was able to return home.
Valerie’s parents built a special extension to their family home in order to accommodate her special needs but, although she (valerie) made a little progress with her mobility and cognitive functions, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill at the High Court heard that prospects for her future remained limited.
In an action against Patrick Holden and the owner of the truck – Stefan Gilchrist – it was alleged that their negligence was responsible for Valerie´s injuries. Liability was admitted and the case was heard before Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill for assessment of damages only.
Announcing the award of just over £5.9m, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill said that £3.4m was to be put away for Valerie´s future care and that an application was to be made to have Valerie made a ward of court.