AN 11-YEAR-OLD boy who survived a fatal road crash in County Limerick was asleep at the time of the impact and thought the car was on fire when he came to, Limerick Circuit Court has heard.
Judge Gerald Keyes awarded €18,357 in damages and costs to Adam Lynn, now aged 13, who was suing the driver of the other car through his mother, Claire Lynn.
Counsel for the plaintiff said the accident had occurred near Lough Gur on July 22, 2013 and while Adam Lynn had suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck and abdominal wall, these had been resolved soon after and of much more significance had been post-traumatic stress disorder. The circumstances of the accident had been “particularly traumatic”, Judge Keyes was told.
Adam Lynn had been asleep in the passenger seat when the impact occurred.
“The vehicle spun a number of times, the air bags deployed and white smoke was let off. He woke up when the car was still spinning and he believed the car was on fire,” said counsel.
The boy had smashed the window with a hurley to escape and once he got out on the road he saw the driver of the other car covered in blood. A four-year-old boy in the other vehicle had died in the accident.
Adam Lynn had suffered deep anxiety in the aftermath of the accident. He had been afraid of cars and had been refusing to sleep on his own.
The court heard the boy had been referred for counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy.
Travel on country roads in particular had been a problem. He would become “frozen and terrified” while in the car and would use his foot as an imaginary brake.
But counsel said the therapeutic interventions had worked and it was the view of a clinical psychologist that Adam Lynn had fully recovered from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder within one year of the accident.
“His mother tells me that he is a well adjusted young boy who has many friends and is very much involved in sport,” said counsel.
“In situations like this,” said Judge Keyes, “it can often be a case of too many doctors and having too many doctors can add to stress rather than de-stress.”
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board had recommended €17,000 in general damages and this amount was affirmed by Judge Keyes in addition to €530 in special damages and €787 in fees and expenses.
“By April 2014 he was no longer suffering from the effects of stress and in the circumstances the figure is about right,” said the judge.