Motorist badly injured in Ballymena crash to get £40k damages


A motorist with limited mobility subjected to multiple collisions in a life-threatening road crash is to be awarded more than £40,000 in damages, a High Court judge has ruled.

A van travelling at 65mph drove into the side of Louis McNally’s BMW car at a junction in Ballymena, Co Antrim in February 2014.

The 61-year-old former plant machinery operator’s vehicle was pushed into a lamp post which broke off, and then into fencing before stopping when it hit trees.

He sustained injuries to his neck, shoulder, chest, hip and ear in the crash on the Woodtown Road.

At the time Mr McNally was already dealing with significant health issues.

The court heard how he retired from work in 2002 due to chronic back pain.

Prior to the accident he had also suffered a heart attack and developed chronic obstructive airways disease.

The combination of his pre-existing conditions meant that before the collision he was using a stick to aid his mobility and his exercise tolerance was walking approximately 50 metres. He was unable to climb stairs because of pain and stiffness in his hips, resulting in him having a bedroom fitted downstairs.

Following the accident he was diagnosed with throat cancer for which he has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Due to a combination of his conditions his mobility has deteriorated further so that he now requires the use of a rollator walking frame.

Mr McNally sued Malachy and Frank McGowan over the crash.

With liability admitted by the defendants, a judge in the case only had to decide on the level of general damages to award.

Mr Justice Stephens held that the plaintiff had not exaggerated the injuries he sustained.

“The total overall award of compensation must also cover the upset of being involved in a life-threatening collision,” he said.

“Standing back I consider that the appropriate award is one of £42,500.”