A High Court action has been settled for almost €3m in favour of a girl who sustained a catastrophic brain injury when she was hit by a car driven by a doctor as she was walking across a pedestrian crossing.
Ashleigh Carroll, who was 14 at the time of the road traffic accident, was on her way to school when she was thrown into the air after being struck by the car which had been driving in a bus lane at a high speed in 2016.
Representing Ms Carroll in Court, Richard Kean SC relayed how the driver, a doctor from Egypt working at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, drove at speed along the bus lane and struck the girl who was crossing at pedestrian traffic lights.
Ashleigh, now 19 years old, from Glasnevin, Dublin, had sued the driver of the car that struck her, Dr Shereen El Mashad, through her mother Louise Carroll.
The court was informed that there is an existing international arrest warrant in place for the Egyptian doctor.
Mr Kean said of his client: “She was thrown very violently into the air”. He went on to say that the defendant had, in the years immediately after the accident, maintained a full defence in the case and went as far as claiming that Ashleigh was responsible for her own injuries. However, in 2020, he accepted liability for the incident.
He added: “For a number of years Ashleigh was in a perilous situation, where she could have been deprived of any compensation.”
The legal action alleged that Ashleigh was walking along a public footpath close to Oscar Traynor Road on October 20, 2016, and crossing at pedestrian walkway when the car driven by the doctor, and in particular, the wing mirror collided with her.
The court was informed that this was a severe collision that resulted in the teenager landing her head when it hit the ground. This left her with a very serious injury.
When he accepted liability in 2020, the driver also admitted reckless driving, driving past a red light, driving at high speed in a bus only lane.
Before she sustained the injuries in the car crash Ashleigh, the court was told, was doing very well at school and was looking forward to studying forensic anthropology in Harvard along with medical studies. She was in her second year of secondary level education.
The court was told that Ms Carroll was discharged from hospital on November 16, 2016, and she could not read or feed herself . She has not gone back to school and, according to medical experts, she has cognitive difficulties due to the acquired brain injury. She will never be able to work. One of the medical experts providing testimony for the case said Ashleigh sustained a life-altering traumatic brain injury.
It was also mentioned in court that Ashleigh has no memory of the accident.
In a statement outside court read by the family solicitor, Keira O’Reilly, the Carrolls said: “On October 20, 2016, our lives changed forever. For four years liability was denied, and Ashleigh was actually blamed for causing the accident and the injury she sustained. At the time of the accident, neither Ashleigh or her family were aware what happened, and this was like a black cloud over them when they were already trying to deal with the aftermath of the accident.”
Mr Justice Paul Coffey approved the settlement totalling €2.95m.