Ex-Teacher Gets [Euro]640k Payout Af Ter Traffic Light Car Smash That Left Her without Two Front Teeth
Byline: Paul Caffrey
A FORMER teacher has been awarded e640,000 in compensation after her two front teeth were knocked out in a roadside smash.
Mairead Coffey, 59, was left with 'little option but to retire' after a car crashed into her at a pedestrian crossing three years ago.
As well as knocking out her two front teeth, the accident left the mother of three with a further three fractured, the High Court heard yesterday.
She also had to be fed through a straw for some months after the accident because of facial injuries.
Mrs Coffey was almost ten years off retirement age at the time of the accident but claimed that it forced her to quit teaching earlier than hoped.
Since the incident, Mrs Coffey has had a range of high-level dental work done, making 64 trips for treatment in the past three years.
She also fractured several fingers, and claimed to have been left with permanent loss of movement in the terminal joint of her left ring finger, as well as limitation of movement in her neck and spine.
The 59-year-old took a personal injury action against driver Frank O'Reilly, accusing him of negligence in failing to stop for a traffic light and failing to pay due care and attention while at the wheel. Mr O'Reilly, who lives in Naas, Co. Kildare, admitted liability and the case came before Mr Justice Frank Clarke yesterday, who assessed what level of damages should be paid out.
In December 2005, Mrs Coffey was deputy head, and acting principal, at the Scoil Mhuire secondary school in Athy, Co. Kildare.
Lawyers for Mrs Coffey told the High Court this week that she had to retire in August 2007, even though she 'loved her school and had many friends'.
She spent 34 years teaching at the school before she was forced to retire.
Henry Hickey SC said that her life had been dramatically altered by the road smash.
He continued: 'Unfortunately, her life has transformed very much for the worse.' The judge was told that Mrs Coffey was crossing the Main Street in Naas, Co. Kildare, at a pedestrian crossing one morning in December 2005, with the green light in her favour, when she was 'struck heavily' by Mr O'Reilly's car.
She lost consciousness temporarily before being taken to hospital with severe injuries, and was discharged after three and a half hours.
In her court claim, Mrs Coffey said that she had been battling depression ever since the accident and her life had been thrown into disarray. …