The family of a young mother who was killed when a car crashed into a Luas and spun out of control has been awarded more than half a million euro in damages.
The High Court was told that Yao Webster, 35, who had been walking to work, died instantly in the accident near the Jervis Centre in Dublin.
The car had run a red light, crossed the Luas tracks, clipped the tram and hit Ms Webster, who was on the pavement at the time, the court heard.
The deceased’s husband Robin Webster took a case against the driver of the car, Quentin Hannezo, of Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, and against Transdev Dublin Light Rail Ltd, trading as Luas.
A settlement offer of €548,000, made on behalf of the car driver, was approved by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.
Hugh O’Keeffe SC, for Mr Webster, said the case was a fatal claim, brought by his client on behalf of the family.
He said Mr Webster and his wife he said Mr Webster and his wife had one child, Chloe, who was almost two at the time of the accident on April 7, 2014.
Mr Webster, a software developer from Eden Grove, Donabate, Co. Dublin, had met Yao, a Chinese national, in 2000, when she was in Ireland studying English. She was the only daughter of Azhen Lin and Xudong Fu, who live in Shenyang, China.
The couple married in August 2003, and did not start a family immediately as they wanted to be financially stable first, Mr O’Keeffe said.
Chloe was born in May 2012, and Ms Webster had returned to work at An Post on Ushers Quay by the time of the accident. She had travelled into Dublin on the train with her husband.
‘On April 7, 2014, Yao was going to work, walking along the footpath at Jervis Street, when she was struck by a car which had broken a red light crossing the Luas tracks, clipping a Luas carriage,’ counsel said.
‘It mounted the footpath on which Yao was a pedestrian.
‘It appears her death was instant.’ An eyewitness said at the time that Ms Webster had bent over to tie her shoelaces when the car struck her.
Mr O’Keeffe said Ms Webster suffered severe injuries, and that even after extensive reconstructive surgery her family was warned that they might not wish to see her in that state. They decided not to, he said.
Her parents travelled to Ireland, where they stayed for three months to try to help out, he added, although there was tension in the family concerning the different customs in China and Ireland regarding her remains.
Mr O’Keeffe said Chloe appeared to have dealt with her loss well, as she was so young at the time of her mother’s death, and because Mr Webster had done his best to keep his daughter in a familiar routine. The settlement will cover the childcare which Ms Webster would have given her daughter, and also the loss to Mr Webster, counsel said.
A sum of money will also be paid to Ms Webster’s parents.
Judge Cross said: ‘I have no doubt this is a very good settlement in a very tragic case. It is a difficult case to value and approach. I will approve the settlement.’ Outside court, Mr Webster’s solicitor, Dermot McNamara, said the case highlighted the potential danger for motorists approaching junctions with a Luas line.
‘A momentary lapse in concentration by the motorist in this case proved to be devastating for the Webster family and led to Yao being taken from her adored daughter Chloe, who only turned five yesterday, her loving husband Robin and her parents in China who lost their only child,’ he said. He concluded: ‘This case should be a warning to all motorists to exercise caution when driving near Luas lines.’
This article appeared in Extra – http://extra.ie/news/irish-news/family-of-yao-webster-awarded
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