Girl who suffered catastrophic brain injury when she was knocked down by speeding doctor awarded €3m

Four Courts, Dublin

31 March 2022

A girl who suffered a catastrophic brain injury when a car driven by a doctor struck her at a pedestrian crossing has settled a High Court action for almost €3m.

Ashleigh Carroll, then 14, was walking to school when she was propelled into the air by the car which had sped along a bus lane in Coolock, Dublin, six years ago.

Her counsel, Richard Kean SC, told the court witnesses said 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.

“She was thrown very violently into the air,” he said.

The court heard an international arrest warrant exists for the Egyptian doctor.

Counsel said for years after the accident the doctor maintained a full defence in the case, was “entirely dishonest” and alleged that Ashleigh was responsible. Liability was, however, admitted in 2020.

“For a number of years Ashleigh was in a perilous situation, where she could have been deprived of any compensation,” he said.

Ashleigh, now 19, from Glasnevin, Dublin, had through her mother Louise Carroll sued the driver, Dr Shereen El Mashad.

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It was claimed that Ashleigh was lawfully traversing a public footpath near Oscar Traynor Road on October 20, 2016, and was in the process of crossing a roadway when a vehicle driven by the doctor and in particular the wing mirror hit her.

Counsel said liability was conceded in November 2020.

It was an extremely violent collision and the teenager landed on her head on the ground and suffered a very significant injury, the court was told.

The driver later admitted reckless driving, breaking a red light, driving at speed and driving in a bus lane.

Before the accident, the court previously heard Ashleigh was thriving at school and was academically inclined. She had hoped to study forensic anthropology in Harvard along with medicine.

Counsel said she was in second year at secondary school and was also studying Japanese.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey approved the settlement totalling €2.95m.

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.”

The court previously heard Ashleigh was discharged from hospital on November 16, 2016, and she was not able to read or feed herself .

She did return to school but experts say she has cognitive difficulties from the acquired brain injury and will never be able to work.

Counsel said one of his experts in the case would say Ashleigh suffered a life-altering traumatic brain injury.

He said Ashleigh has no recollection of the accident.

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