Boy (12) who sustained brain injury when propelled from car settles case for €10m

Patrick O’Leary sued a representative of his late father, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland , and Kerry County Council over the 2010 accident

A 12-year-old boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a baby when he was propelled from a car that struck a ditch has settled a High Court action for almost €10 million.

Patrick O’Leary, from Listowel in Kerry, was nine months old and sitting on a person’s lap in the back seat when the accident happened outside Listowel town.

Patrick’s counsel, Liam Reidy SC, instructed by Cantillons Solicitors, told the court the car was driven by the baby’s father, Patrick O’Leary snr, who died two weeks later. He was an uninsured driver.

Counsel said the baby fractured his skull, had brain swelling and was transferred to hospital. As he grew older, it became clear he was not going to reach his developmental milestones and he had problems with his gait and balance, the court heard.


Patrick sued a representative of his late father, Patrick O’Leary senior, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), and Kerry County Council over the accident on September 15th, 2010. The MIBI, which is funded by all Irish motor insurance companies, was sued because the driver was uninsured.

It was claimed the car failed to maintain a straight course, struck a ditch and entered a dyke near Annavoher Cross outside Listowel town.

It was claimed against Kerry County Council that it allowed the roadway to deteriorate and be of such undulating nature that the driver lost control of the car. There was an alleged failure to ensure the drains and dykes were properly maintained so that water from the public roadway could be rapidly and safely removed without causing further damage to the road surface.

The case was before the court for assessment of damages only. Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told on Tuesday that the settlement of €9.975 million was reached after negotiation between the parties.

The court heard Patrick’s mother, Christine O’Gorman, has devoted her entire life to looking after her son.

Ms O’Gorman told the court her son’s teachers noticed he had issues with balance, running and maths. She said she sought advice from an educational psychologist and Patrick transferred to a special school, where he settled in quickly.

“I hope that Paddy will be OK. That is all I can do. I hope he will be OK,” she said.

Approving the settlement against all three defendants, Mr Justice Coffey said he wanted to acknowledge the heroic efforts of Ms O’Gorman and her family on behalf of Patrick and said the people of Ireland would be very grateful to them.