Mother who was pregnant at time of catastrophic car crash takes court action

The woman suffered massive brain damage and doesn’t recognise her own children

A young mother who was catastrophically injured when the car driven by her husband collided with a tractor on a Cork road has launched a High Court action.

Olivia Redmond O’Callaghan was only 28 years of age when she was left with brain damage following an accident on the old Cork to Glanmire Road in 2011. She will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

The court heard the car driven by her late husband Myles O’Callaghan was not insured.

Her counsel, Dr John O’Mahony SC, on Tuesday told the High Court the mother of two who was pregnant with her third child at the time of the accident suffered massive brain damage which has “rendered her totally incapacitated.”

“Everything that could be done to her skull was done. She has been left in an appalling, sad state where she does not recognise her children and has been in institutional care since the accident on October 4, 2011,” he said.

He told Mr Justice Tony O’Connor that Mrs O’Callaghan was twelve weeks pregnant at the time of the accident. He said she gave birth to a healthy baby boy - Daniel in March 2012, but she has never realised she has a son and does not recognise her son Daniel or his sisters, who are aged 13 and 14.

“When she is shown a photograph of her husband Myles O’Callaghan who died in the accident she does not recognise him,” said Dr O’Mahony.

Olivia Redmond O'Callaghan, now aged 37, from Gowlane South, Donoughmore, Co Cork has sued her late husband's estate, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and Cork County Council over the accident.

She has taken the action through her stepfather Liam Power.

Against Cork County Council it is claimed it constructed a public roadway that was allegedly defective and dangerous to road users.

The road, it is claimed, was constructed with a very tight bend with a radius of curvature that was allegedly below the minimum acceptable standard.

It is further alleged that high vegetation was permitted to grow on the embankment of the road which allegedly restricted forward visibility.

There was an alleged failure to warn Mr O’Callaghan of the dangerous or sharp left-hand bend, it is claimed. There was also, it is alleged, a failure to erect any or any proper warning signs, including rumble strips.

Cork County Council has denied all the claims and contends the bend is visible for 210 metres and there is a camber on the bed that it says benefits drivers negotiating it.

The accident, Cork County Council claims, was caused by the alleged negligence of Mr O’Callaghan in the driving, speed, care, management and control of the car in which his wife was a passenger.

In its defence, the MIBI has claimed Mrs Redmond O’Callaghan allegedly failed to have any regard for her own safety and permitted herself to be carried in a car for which she allegedly knew there was no valid insurance policy in place.

The case continues.