A Co Kerry bin man who suffered severe injuries when he landed on the road after being propelled from a waste disposal van, has settled his High Court action for €3.5million.
Liam Reidy SC told the High Court his client Benjamin Heffernan fell through the van’s side door on January 12th, 2015, fracturing his skull and suffering a brain injury.
Mr Heffernan (50) was working for Killarney Waste Disposal delivering compost bins to households in the Durrus area of Bantry, Co Cork at the time of the incident.
The court heard that after hitting the road, Mr Heffernan lost consciousness and was taken to nearby Dunmanaway before being airlifted to Cork University Hospital.
He underwent an emergency craniotomy and was later transferred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin, where he remained until August 2015.
Counsel said Mr Heffernan, of Friary Downs, Park Road , Killarney, now has a degree of mobility but will not be able to work again.
Mr Heffernan sued Killarney Waste Disposal, of Aughacureen, Killarney, the owner of the refuse vehicle, and its driver, Mike Brosnan, of Chestnut Drive, Killarney, over the accident.
He alleged failure to to have any, or any adequate, safety devices such as harnesses or otherwise to ensure he was not thrown from the vehicle.
It was further claimed Mr Heffernan was allegedly caused or permitted to work at an excessive pressure or at an excessive speed and there was failure to ensure there was a handle on the inside of the van door.
The claims were denied and it was contended that Mr Heffernan had directed Mr Brosnan to drive the van and he had got in the back of the van. It was further claimed Mr Heffernan had failed to ensure the van was decommissioned when he allegedly was aware of a defect in the latch on its door. Those claims were denied by Mr Heffernan.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a good one and he wished Mr Heffernan and his family all the best for the future.
Outside court , Amy Connolly, of Cantillons Solicitors, said Mr Heffernan had spent 33 weeks in hospital following the accident having suffered life changing injuries.
“This settlement will provide for the ongoing care of Mr Heffernan, but no money can ever truly compensate him for the effect his injuries have had on his day to day life,” she said.