Donegal teen settles case over catastrophic car crash injuries for €4.5m

1 February 2019

Jake McGrath was a rear seat passenger in the car, which was owned by one of his brothers, and was being driven by another brother, when the incident happened in April 2014. Jake was 14 years old at the time.

Through his mother Caroline McGrath, Jake, of Trillium, Ture, Muff, had sued his brothers Kevin and Gerard, of the same address, and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) over the injuries. It was claimed that the car had been driven too fast.

The settlement of the case was made against the MIBI.

The case against the car owner, Kevin McGrath, and Gerard McGrath, who was driving the car at the time, was struck out.

‘Not insured’

Richard Lyons SC, for Jake, said Jake had gone with his brother Gerard to view a tractor and trailer on his uncle’s farm.

Counsel said Gerard was driving his brother Kevin’s car and was not insured to do so.

Counsel said Jake and Gerard were on their way home before midnight on the road between Muff and Burnfoot when the car went over the white line, hit a telegraph pole and landed on its roof. Counsel said Jake had been sitting in the back of the car and there was an issue as to whether he was wearing a seatbelt at the time.

He said Kevin had admitted liability but pleaded that the car had been taken without his permission.

Counsel said it was agreed there be no order against Gerard.

He said Jake suffered skull fractures and other injuries but was able to return to school and can walk.

Approving the settlement, Judge Kevin Cross said Jake had suffered significant injuries but the incident could have been fatal.

There was “no point” in him making pronouncements about what young men do in cars, the judge added. “Pontificating would not change that.”

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