A former veterinary medicine student has been awarded €1.2 million as compensation for being hit by a drunk driver.
In June 2009, Laura Byrne (now 28 years of age) of New Ross in County Wexford was standing, talking to some friends on the street when she was hit by a car driven by Karol Chrzan. Laura was thrown into the air and landed on the bonnet of the car. Due to the force of the impact, she cracked her head off of the windscreen.
She was immediately transported to Waterford Regional Hospital where she was initially treated before she was transferred to Cork for specialist treatment of her injuries. As a consequence of her accident, Laura suffers ongoing problems with her balance and frequently has bouts of double-vision. Her left arm is now significantly weaker than her right arm. Due to all of these injuries, Laura was forced to give up her pursuit of becoming a veterinarian, and dropped out of her veterinary science course in university.
Chrzan panicked after the incident and drove off from the scene without checking if Laura was alright. He was found and arrested by the police, and he admitted to drinking six beers and some vodka before he got behind the wheel of his partner’s car, for which he was not insured. He was charged for injuring the young student in the hit and run incident, and was sentenced to three years in prison for dangerous driving causing serious harm. His driving license was also revoked for six years.
Laura sought legal counsel, and made a claim for hit and run injury compensation against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI)-the body that is responsible for settling claims against uninsured drivers. Following negotiations, a €1.2 million settlement was offered to Laura to account for her injuries and lost opportunities.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard the case at the Dublin High Court, and approved the settlement. She commented that it was a very good settlement considering the circumstances, and although no amount of money could make up for the trauma that Laura had suffered, she hoped that the extra money would make life better for her.