Woman awarded €32,000 after car dragged along M50 by truck

Rosalind Ferguson suffered PTSD after her car was pushed by 42-ton lorry, court hears

Rosalind Ferguson leaving the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts

Rosalind Ferguson leaving the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A Co Dublin garage manager, who was significantly traumatised after a 42-ton truck had dragged her car along the M50, has been awarded more than €32,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge John O’Connor told Rosalind Ferguson, of Wingfield, Stepaside, he would have awarded her more had she taken the advice of a consultant psychiatrist to undergo cognitive behavioural therapy in order to mitigate her psychological injuries.

Judge O’Connor said he accepted she had suffered significant and serious post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but just because she had not liked the cognitive behavioural therapy prescribed for her did not excuse her from undergoing the treatment.

Ms Ferguson told the court a truck, owned by Glen Mills transport, Millbanks, New Ross, Co Wexford, after switching lanes on the M50 had struck her Fiat 500 Abarth and dragged it for between 50 and 100 metres along the motorway become coming to a stop.

Barrister Nevan Powell, who appeared with Brian O’Longaigh of Crowley Millar solicitors for Ms Ferguson, said the accident happened in early-morning bumper-to-bumper traffic after she had dropped her children to school.

Her car had become lodged on the front of the truck and pushed for a considerable distance. She claimed the truck driver had apologised and accepted liability for the accident.

The court heard that Ms Ferguson had not made a serious issue about her physical injuries but had thought she was going to die as she had been dragged along powerless to do anything.

She had suffered nightmares, flashbacks and a disorderly sleeping pattern as she relived the accident. She had become angry and upset, withdrawn and lacking in energy and motivation, and suffered irritability, impatience and upset, snapping at her children over little things which she normally would not have done.

Truck driver Francis Keathing said the accident had been caused by Ms Ferguson pulling in front of him from a slip lane. He denied an allegation by her that he had told her at the scene that he had been watching snaps of Facebook as he was driving.

Judge O’Connor said everyone had a duty to mitigate their injuries as best they could and she had not taken the advice of attending for cognitive behavioural therapy which may have eased her psychological complaints.

The judge said he believed on the balance of probabilities that she had proved her case. He felt the evidence that she had driven at speed onto the slow lane into the path of the truck did not stack up.

He awarded her €30,000 damages for personal injury with another €2,589 special damages for loss and expenses.