A young student who suffered catastrophic head and other injuries when he was hit by a bus after running onto the road has secured €9 million damages under a settlement of his High Court action against Dublin Bus.
Carlos Tesch from Madrid was aged 12 years and learning English here when the tragic incident occurred at Bray, Co Wicklow, on February 4th 2009.
Two months ago, the Supreme Court ruled Dublin Bus was 70 per cent liable for the injuries suffered by the boy. Carlos suffered severe head injuries, fractured the base of his skull, cannot fully walk or speak and is dependent on others in every feature of his life.
An earlier court hearing heard Carlos was with a number of Spanish friends on Herbert Road, Bray when he ran into the road to get away from a number of local youths who allegedly previously confronted the younger Spanish students verbally while brandishing hurleys.
The Spanish students were a short distance up Herbert Road and had reached a lampost when Carlos suddenly ran across the road and the Dublin Bus, which was coming behind him, hit him.
In court today, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the €9 million settlement. The case was before the court for assessment of damages only following the Supreme Court finding on liability.
Dermot Gleeson SC said the boy’s parents Hans and Mar Tesch had done everything to make their son’s life better and the accident had transformed their lives. Carlos, now aged 18, has been taken to China twice for stem cell treatment, needed 24 hour care and during school hours was in a Spanish institute.
His father had given up his managerial job for a time to look after his son, counsel added.
Approving the settlement Ms Justice Irvine said she was aware from dealing with these cases involving catastrophic injuries what parents give up trying to maximise the situation for their children.
Outside court, Hans Tesch said his son before the accident could run, play football and enjoy himself with his friends, but now can walk only unsteadily in the apartment and cannot speak.
“Every day he is happy to be working with his therapists . We encourage him,” Mr Tesch said.
Having viewed CCTV footage from bus cameras and heard evidence from the driver and witnesses including passengers on the bus, the High Court previously ruled Dublin Bus was 70 per cent liable while Carlos was 30 per cent liable due to “dashing” across the road. Dublin Bus unsucessfully appealed to a three judge Supreme Court which upheld the High Court findings.
Giving the Supreme Court judgment, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said the evidence was the bus was travelling at 40 kph in a 50 kph zone and the driver was “a very careful and safe driver”.
Unfortunately, the driver was distracted by a conversation with a passenger in the seconds leading up to this tragic accident, she said.
Once Carlos stepped off the footpath, the bus driver reacted immediately and with “commendable alertness” and did what he could to stop the bus, she said. But, sadly, he was not alert to the potential hazard unfolding as he approached the boys on the pavememet and thus was not able to anticipate or take any appropriate steps to minimise the consequences of the potential hazard.