Settlement of €15m in case of woman injured while passenger in car

20 June 2021

Monika Kazinska sued her father after suffering life changing injuries in collision.A 22-year-old woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child when she was in a car which crashed while being driven by her father, has settled a High Court action for €15 million.

Monika Kazinska, who was 12 at the time of the crash, was in the front passenger seat when the accident happened just 2km from her home in Cappoquin, Co Waterford.

Her father, Marcin Rafal Kazinski, of River Glen, Cappoquinn, later pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm and drink driving on December 23rd, 2011. The head on collision, on the road between Melleray and Cappoquin, occurred at 12.30pm.

Mr Kazinski was found to be over three times the legal limit when breathalysed by gardaí. While it was accepted that he had not consumed alcohol on the day of the accident, he had been drinking heavily the previous day and still had alcohol in his bloodstream.

He received a four year suspended sentence, was ordered to do 240 hours community service and was disqualified from driving for 10 years. The Court of Appeal later reduced the disqualification to three years, ruling that such a long ban would make the task of caring for Ms Kazinska more difficult.

Dr John O’Mahony SC, with Cian O’Mahony BL for Ms Kazinska, told the High Court his client suffered horrific injuries in the collision.

“She is spastic tetraplegic and will be so for the rest of her life,” he said.

‘Extremely sad case’

“This is an extremely sad case. It involved catastrophic injuries to Monika who was travelling as a passenger in a car driven by her father, who is the defendant in the case.”

The car collided with a pick-up truck which was on the correct side of the road. The Court of Appeal heard there was a suggestion that Mr Kazinski turned to speak to his daughter and when he refocused on the road, the truck was in front of him.

Ms Kazinska, also of River Glen, Cappoquin, had through her mother, Marzena Kazinska, sued Mr Kazinski in the High Court in relation to the incident.

It was claimed there was a failure to stop, swerve, slow down or in any other way to manage or control the car, and a failure to apply the brakes in sufficient time or with sufficient force. The defence pleaded that there was alleged contributory negligence on the part of the girl for failing to wear a seatbelt. That claim was denied and it was claimed there was a duty of care on the father to request that she wear a seatbelt.

Following the crash, the young girl was rushed to hospital where it was found that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury. She was intubated and ventilated in intensive care for two weeks. She was transferred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in July 2012 and now uses a wheelchair.

Dr O’Mahony told the court the settlement of €15 million would give a solid and safe future to Ms Kazinska.

Approving the settlement, the president of the High Court Ms Justice Mary Irvine said it will give Ms Kazinska the life and dignity she deserves.

Source: Irish Times

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