Three young men have settled lawsuits before the Supreme Court. They claim they were injured when the car they were traveling in with four friends crashed into a wall, killing the 16-year-old driver.
The Supreme Court had heard the case in part from one of the three: Scott John Matthew Bowes, who was 16 at the time of the February 2019 accident, which he said left him with injuries to his neck, shoulder and leg that were also considered lasting psychological effect.
The driver, Eamon Kavanagh, who was not old enough to have a driving license, died instantly when the vehicle crashed into a concrete wall where a narrow road coming from Mount Leinster crossed a cattle grid south of Myshall. The four other occupants were taken to the hospital.
On Thursday the court heard that Mr Bowes had settled his case against the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland, which handles claims against untraced and uninsured drivers, and, at the bureau’s request, against Mr Kavanagh’s mother, Jennie Kavanagh, who owned the vehicle .
Her insurance policy did not cover her minor son, who took the vehicle without her permission, the court heard. A lawyer was sued to represent Eamon’s estate.
Passengers Adam O’Riordan and Adam Tobin, from Bagenalstown, have brought separate personal injury claims against the same defendants over the crash. Their cases were settled Thursday without opening in court.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey congratulated the parties on the agreement reached and wished the young men all the best.
He expressed his “deepest condolences” to Ms Kavanagh on the death of her son. He praised her “dignified silence” at the hearing, which he said must have been very traumatic and difficult for her.
The court heard Eamon died at a very difficult time for him as his father, James Kavanagh, received a three-year prison sentence just two days before the crash. Mr Kavanagh had pleaded guilty in April 2015 to 30 counts of causing or permitting cruelty to animals at his property in Raheenleigh, Myshall.
Almost 1,000 people attended Eamon’s funeral. They heard he was very popular, “an obvious extrovert and yet very sensitive, a boy who valued loyalty.” He loved his family and friends, loved sport and had a great sense of fun, the main celebrant said.
The defendants’ lead lawyer, Hugh Mohan, instructed by Nathaniel Lacy & Partners, said earlier this week that Ms Kavanagh planned to tell the court that she had not given her son permission to marry her in the early hours of February 24, 2019 Take a car with you.
Negligence was admitted in relation to parts of the driving but other matters were in dispute, the court previously heard. The office contended that it was not obligated to compensate Mr. Bowes (now 20 years old) because he entered the vehicle with a driver who did not have an insurance policy, was a minor, and was unable to maintain control to operate the vehicle.
Mr Bowes was not wearing a seatbelt.
Opening the case on behalf of McGinley & Co Solicitors earlier this week, Richard Lyons SC said his client, Mr Bowes, admitted he knew his friend had had two or three drinks before getting behind the wheel .
In the witness box, Mr Bowes, of Myshall, County Carlow, said he and Mr Kavanagh had played hurling together for many years and were close friends.
Members of the group were drinking cider in a deserted house outside the village of Borris and Mr Bowes drank one or two of them.
He described a feeling of fear when he realized the car was traveling down a hill before hitting a wall. The crash was “terrible” and “everyone was screaming,” Mr Bowes said.
He dislocated his shoulder, broke his leg and injured his neck. He was in a wheelchair for about three months and wore a neck brace for six months. The physical injuries still bothered him, while he also had nightly nightmares about the accident, he told the court.
He started a third-level quantity surveying course but dropped out because he suffered from depression and had difficulty eating and sleeping, he said. He worked with his father in construction.
No details of the settlements were provided to the Supreme Court.