The High Court has awarded €87,000 to a woman for injuries she suffered when she was knocked off her bicycle by a van.
Giving his ruling on Thursday, Mr Justice Michael Hanna said this was the first case that he was required to assess under the personal injuries guidelines introduced last year with the aim of bringing more consistency to damages awarded.
He said he approached the exercise “rather differently” to how he valued claims using the Book of Quantum, which predated the guidelines. Liability was not in dispute in the case, which was before the judge for an assessment of damages only.
He awarded damages totalling €87,400 to Gabriele Silva Rocha, of Tara Street, Dublin 2, for injuries including a fractured wrist and clavicle.
The Brazilian national, who had been working as a carer, sustained the injuries in the incident on December 17th, 2019, in Summerhill, Dublin. The court heard she had stopped at traffic lights when she was thrown from her bike after being hit by a van. Ms Silva Rocha’s helmet broke when she struck her head, but she did not suffer any head injuries, the court heard.
She was brought to the Mater hospital and discharged a few days later. She wore a sling for three months and subsequently had to undergo surgery to insert a plate into her clavicle, said the judge.
The 35-year-old, represented by barristers Gerard Meehan SC and Rachel Duffy, said she continues to suffer with her injuries, which she said have hindered her ability to work as a carer. She has been left with some arthritic pain in her wrist.
Her case was against driver Jerzy Skora, with an address given as AXA Insurance, Wolfe Tone House, Wolfe Tone Street, Dublin 2.
Mr Justice Hanna said the new personal injuries guidelines are “fairly clear” and he had no difficulty following them.
He awarded €40,000 damages for Ms Rocha’s wrist injury, which he said was her primary injury. He “uplifted” this by €35,000 to take account of her clavicle injury, scarring and minor psychological effects. These, together with agreed special damages, brought the award to €87,400.
The judge said nursing was “clearly her first love”, but she feels she is no longer able to carry out some of the physical work. However, he said, she has an “impressive work ethic” and has been able to take up an administrative role, as she has a qualification in human resources.