Taxi driver awarded €75,000 for two crashes on ‘unlucky 14th’

Judge praises courage of woman who said she no longer drove on the 14th of the month

Taxi driver Dolores McMahon loved her job and had  no intention of giving up, the court heard. File image: Eric Luke

Taxi driver Dolores McMahon loved her job and had no intention of giving up, the court heard. File image: Eric Luke


A judge has told a taxi driver her courage had to be admired after surviving two accidents in which she had twice been injured and in both collisions had seen her taxi damaged beyond repair.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, awarding Dolores McMahon (57) just short of €75,000 damages for personal injury, loss of earnings and compensation for two written off taxis, said she continued to get up daily and go to work despite her physical and psychological injuries.

Caitriona O’Reilly, counsel for Ms McMahon, of Betaghstown Wood, Bettystown, Co Meath, told the Circuit Civil Court her client had suffered neck and shoulder injuries in the first accident on December 14th 2014 and lower back injury in the second which occurred on July 14th 2016.

Ms O’Reilly, who appeared with Lawlor O’Reilly solicitors, said the other driver in both accidents had cut across the path of Ms McMahon’s taxi. She said liability had been conceded in both claims and the court was being asked to assess damages.

Judge Groarke said he noted Ms McMahon no longer drove on the 14th of the month because she now considered it her unlucky number but following periods of recovery after each of the accidents she had continued to get on with her taxi driving despite having been nervous about it.

Ms McMahon sued Arthur Oliver Ryan, Rathbeale Road, Swords, and Martin Mann, of Hampton Street, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, following the accidents at Old Airport Road, Santry, and Balheary Road, Swords.

She told the court that as well as having suffered low back injury in the second accident it had exacerbated the neck and shoulder injuries she had suffered in the first crash just over 18 months earlier.

Judge Groarke awarded Ms McMahon a total of €46,468 for personal injuries, loss of earnings car replacement and special damages arising out of the first accident and a total of €28,444 combined damages in relation to the second collision, a total of €74,912.

The judge said she had suffered a huge amount as a result of both accidents and very clearly and genuinely remained traumatised as a result of them. She loved her job and had got back to work as quickly as possible and continued to work and had no intention of giving up.

“This is a lady who was very genuinely and very badly affected psychologically and has suffered quite extensive physical injuries,” Judge Groarke told her barrister Ms O’Reilly.

He said she had faced an ongoing regime of appointments with specialists in respect of the physical and traumatic consequences of the two accidents which were both very frightening episodes she could well have done without in her life.