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Woman still in hospital from crash three years ago awarded €5.75m

Mother in near vegetative state was passenger in car of drink-driver three times the limit

The court heard Antoinette Breen may not have been wearing a seatbelt and may have known the driver had been drinking

A woman who remains catastrophically injured in hospital three years after a van in which she was a passenger crashed, has settled her High Court action for €5.75 million.

The driver of the van in which Antoinette Breen (36) was travelling was later found to be three times over the legal drink-driving limit, the court was told.

Ms Breen may not have been wearing a seatbelt and may have known the driver had been drinking, it also heard.

Noel McMahon said Ms Breen, who has a young son, has been left in a state just a stage above vegetative and has been cared for in a hospital since the accident.

Ms Breen reacts to her family but otherwise has minimal responses and her family hope the settlement will mean they can put in place a proper plan of care, counsel said.

Ms Breen, of Beaupark Road, Blackrock, The Loakers, Co Louth, had, through her father, sued the driver of the van, Declan McEvoy, Doylesfort Road, Dundalk, Co Louth, as a result of the accident on June 15th, 2014.

Excessive speed

The van crashed head on into an embankment and wall on the left hand side of the Doylesfort Road as the couple travelled towards Dundalk town.

It was claimed Mr McEvoy drove at excessive speed and in a careless and reckless manner.

It was further claimed he failed to stop, steer, brake or otherwise control the vehicle so as to avoid the collision.

The claims were denied. It was also pleaded Ms Breen failed to wear a seatbelt and allegedly knowingly travelled in the van where she allegedly knew or ought to have known Mr McEvoy was intoxicated. Mr McMahon said liability was admitted subject to the claim of contributory negligence.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement and wished the family well, noting the matter was very distressing for them.

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