Man settles for €9.75m over life-altering injuries after struck crossing road

Joshua Sweeney (22) is non-verbal, has to use wheelchair and needs 24-hour care

The van driver had been told not to drive for a year after his last epileptic seizure, just two months before the accident, a court heard

The van driver had been told not to drive for a year after his last epileptic seizure, just two months before the accident, a court heard

 

A young Co Donegal man who sustained life altering injuries after being hit by a van as he crossed a road in Dublin city centre has settled his High Court action for €9.75million.

Joshua Sweeney, now aged 22, is non-verbal, has to use a wheelchair and state of the art eye gaze technology to help him speak, and needs 24 hour care.

The accident happened when Mr Sweeney, a secondary school student and plumber’s assistant, was crossing the road near Bus Áras in Dublin city centre on March 18th 2017.

Interested in gaming and computers, he had earlier in the day attended a gaming conference in the capital and was planning to get a bus home to Donegal.

He suffered a skull fracture, a brain injury and other injuries and later had to have surgery.

Crossed the road

Mr Sweeney, Eoghasel, Stranorlar, Ballybofey, had sued the driver of the van, John Paul Maguire, Kerlogue Road, Irishtown, Dublin and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland.

He alleged that, suddenly and without warning, he was struck and knocked down as he lawfully crossed the road. He alleged failure by the driver to keep any, or any proper, lookout and to take any effective evasive action. The claims were denied.

After being knocked down, the young man was rushed to hospital where he underwent an operation which involved intra cranial pressure and monitoring.

Michael Byrne SC, for Mr Sweeney, said Joshua is cared for by his mother and it is their wish he can now be looked after at home.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Mr Sweeney had suffered a life altering accident and the settlement was a good one. The Sweeneys were not in court on Tuesday for the approval of the settlement.

Epilepsy

Separately last year, the van driver, John Maguire, who has epilepsy and no previous convictions, was jailed for three and a half years after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious harm to Mr Sweeney. He also pleaded guilty to driving while suffering from a disease or mental disability which would render him a danger to the public.

At that trial before the Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Martin Nolan heard doctors had warned Mr Maguire not to drive for a year after his last epileptic seizure, just two months before the accident.

Mr Maguire later told gardaí he had no recollection of the accident as he was having an epileptic fit at the time.

When passing sentence and disqualifying Mr Maguire from driving for six years, Judge Nolan said a fine young man had been left dependent for the rest of his life. He told Mr Maguire, despite the clear mitigating circumstances in the case, he had a “serious moral culpability” by ignoring an obvious risk.

A witness to the accident told the judge that, when the vehicle stopped, he saw the driver frothing from the mouth and lying down in the passenger seat.