Man who mistakenly assumed he was crossing a one-way road before colliding with car loses €60,000 claim

By Ray Managh, February 07 2022

A MAN who mistakenly assumed he was crossing a one-way road and failed to look to his left has lost a €60,000 damages claim against a motorist he collided with on a “dirty, wet January morning in 2018”.

Judge James McCourt, dismissing the claim of 43-year-old construction worker Darren Dunne, said the most compelling piece of evidence against him was that he had thought it was a one-way system.

Dunne, of Woodleigh Avenue, Blessington, Co Wicklow, sued motorist Sinead Holt of Annaville Grove, Dundrum, Dublin 14, alleging she had been negligent when approaching pedestrian crossing lights at a Luas stop at Blackthorn Avenue, Sandyford, Dublin 18.

Barrister Adrianne Fields appeared with Collins Crowley Solicitors for Ms Holt. She told Mr Dunne in cross-examination that medical reports of his treatment recorded that he stated he had been running across the road through traffic.

Mr Dunne said he did not recall saying this but agreed that if he had seen a child doing what he had done he would have called out a warning to him.

He said he had injured his left knee and right elbow in the collision and it was two years after the incident before it was revealed in new x-rays that his knee had been fractured. He said his knee had caused him the most difficulty.

Ms Holt told the court that she saw Mr Dunne out of the corner of her eye and subsequently braked. However, he struck the side of her car and immediately afterwards she saw him hopping around on one leg in the middle of the road.

Judge McCourt said the incident had occurred after seven o’clock on a dirty, wet January morning and he considered Mr Dunne a decent man who had honestly endeavoured in his evidence to recall what had happened.

Mr Dunne agreed the pedestrian lights were red against him but felt he could have succeeded in crossing the road before realising it was a two-way traffic system.

“There are a couple of stark facts in the evidence – the lights were red against him and he was not familiar with the area and thought it was a one-way system,” Judge McCourt said. “He ran into the side of Ms Holt’s car and sustained nasty injuries.”

Judge McCourt said he could not see what Ms Holt could have done. He acknowledged that the duty of care on motorists is high but it would be raising the bar too high to expect the driver in this instance, who had been driving with care and attention, to have avoided the collision.

Dismissing the case and awarding costs against him, Judge McCourt said Mr Dunne had made a mistake.