A woman, who was the first on the scene of a horrific road traffic and saw the partly decapitated body of a motorist, has had a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compensation award of €87,000 has been approved.
The woman in question, Lisa Sheehan, began to suffer from moderately severe PTSD following the incident. She felt that she could no longer continue in her job so had to resign from her hairdressing role two years after the accident happened.
Mrs Sheehan (36) is a married mother of two from Banteer in north Cork. She took the legal action for compensation against Bus Éireann and FBD insurance which provided cover for the deceased motorist.
Mrs Sheehan described to the judge how she suffers with nightmares and flashbacks, how her mental condition placed great strain on her relationships and how she still needs counselling and medication.
The court was informed that this suffering arose as a result of the negligent operation or control of both the bus and the car. Bus Éireann refuted the negligence claims. FBD, on the other hand, accepted that the accident was caused by the negligence of the deceased car driver but, in tandem with Bus Éireannm, argued that Ms Sheehan’s psychiatric injuries did not give rise to any cause of action recognised in legislation and they did not owe her a duty of care.
Ms Sheehan was driving home from her job in Cork city at the end of her work shift when the unfortunate incident took place on January 28, 2017. As she was coming close to Mallow she became aware that her car struck some debris so she brought the car to a complete halt. SHer then discovered that there was a damaged bus and car nearby. Upon further investigation she found “a badly disfigured and partly decapitated body”.
Mrs Sheehan then called the emergency services and investigated the other surrounding areas for other people who might have been involved in the accident. She eventually found the driver of the crashed bus whose face was covered in blood.
Addressing the legal arguments that the defendants were stating, Justice David Keane said the law on primary/secondary victims is far from settled in this jurisdiction. He continued, saying that that, while in his opinion nothing turned on that division in this instance, he was content that Ms Sheehan was a primary victim as her car had been hit by debris from the crash.
Justice David Keane approved the PTSD compensation award of €87,238 compensation in relation to the incident.