Ms Caroline Bogue was awarded £4 million in the High Court following a car accident which led to her brain injury claim.
Upon making the award, Mr Justice John Quirke claimed that he was dissatisfied with the system of compensation settlements when awarding more than £4 million to Ms Bogue of Belturbet, County Cavan, following an agreement between the claimant and the joint defendants – her cousin Ciaran Bogue and the Motor Insurance Board of Ireland (MIBI).
Justice Quirke stated that the money would be gone within 10 years and was critical at the lack of staged payments for awards of personal injury compensation and commented that the value of the settlement represented just 60% of what the claim was worth. His comments follow the case of Caroline, who suffered severe brain damage when an uninsured vehicle, driven by the defendants brother, crashed into a tree just outside of her home town of Belturbet in May 2003. Despite wearing her seatbelt, Caroline – who was aged just 17 at the time of the incident – was admitted to Cavan Hospital where a CT scan of her brain showed she had suffered major haemorrhaging.
Now 24, Caroline needs assistance for daily living and feeding herself due to the injuries she suffered in the accident. She also experiences difficulty in sleeping, has poor short-term memory and slow speech. Caroline will need permanent care for the rest of her life, and Mr Justice John Quirke is concerned that the settlement is insufficient for her lifetime and that she will become reliant on the State.
As it was alleged by the counsel for the defence that Caroline knew that the car in which she was travelling was uninsured, Mr Justice John Quirke accepted that there was a risk that the claimant might be awarded less compensation if the case went to a full hearing, and was guided by Caroline´s counsel. However, he stated that he was unhappy that he had to approve “a settlement so utterly speculative and imprecise from Caroline’s point of view”. A new system, which is due to be introduced in the next 18 months time, will provide for continual payments over the period of the victim’s life.