Limerick crash scene was like something from a war zone

The school bus crash which was at the centre of the High Court case.

THE SCENE a mother came upon after her daughters were involved in a bus crash “was like something from a war zone”.

Limerick solicitor Donal Houlihan was commenting after the High Court awarded €50,000 to a Limerick woman for psychological injuries suffered after the school bus her teenage daughters were travelling in overturned into a ditch.

Mr Houlihan said that Linda Gavin “came on the scene within minuets of the crash”.

“One of her daughters was in the left window side of the bus, the part that was right in the ditch.”

The solicitor, who represented her in bringing a case to the High Court for post traumatic stress disorder, said “her daughters were carried from the scene. It was extremely traumatic for her and her children”.

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Thirty students and two adults were injured in the crash at Caherconlish following the incident on February 7, 2018.

Ms Gavin, of Templemichael, Caherconlish, Co Limerick, claimed that, on the morning, her eldest daughter rang from the scene screaming “help me” and telling her mother she was bleeding after the crash.

Ms Gavin arrived at the scene to witness one of her daughters being carried unconscious and bleeding from the scene while another was being carried between two classmates.

Ms Gavin sued Curtin Executive Travel Ltd, of Ballyneety, Co Limerick, which operated the school bus service on behalf of Bus Eiréann.

High Court Judge Ms Justice Emily Egan said there was “no doubt” the injuries and suffering of Ms Gavin’s children caused her stress. She found Ms Gavin suffered from nervous shock after the incident and that a clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder had resolved to sub-clinical PTSD within 18 months of the accident.

The Judge did not accept the defendant’s submission that Ms Gavin did not suffer from a recognisable psychiatric illness.

Both girls are now terrified of traveling by bus and their parents have a daily round trip of 70 kilometres to get them to school, while their mother changed jobs to facilitate that new regime, the Judge heard.

Ms Justice Egan found the root cause of Ms Gavin’s psychological injuries was the 2018 bus crash.

She awarded Ms Gavin general damages of €40,000 for past post-traumatic stress disorder and €10,000 in future and special damages.

Mr Houlihan said that that such cases are not commonly before the High Court.

“It was contested and went on for two days,” he said.