Student rugby player Lucas Neville gets £2.29m damages

Lucas Neville suffered a serious head injury during a schools rugby match Image copyright other
Image caption Lucas Neville suffered a serious head injury during a schools rugby match

A student who suffered a serious head injury during a schools rugby match has been awarded 2.75m euros (£2.29m) damages, plus costs.

In the High Court in Dublin on Monday, Lucas Neville's mother, Michelle, consented to the offer made.

But she said that neither she nor her son had received an apology from his former school or St Vincent's Hospital.

"What happened to him and what he went through should not have happened," she said.

Mr Neville had sued his former school, St Michael's College, Ailesbury Road, Dublin, and St Vincent's Healthcare Group, as owner of St Vincent's Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin, following the injury in November 2009.

Both defendants admitted liability but disputed Mr Neville's claim for some 5m euros (£4.17m) damages.

A central dispute between the sides related to the fact that the claim included a 2m euros (£1.67m) amount for future care.

The case was at hearing for several days before Mr Justice Seán Ryan to assess damages, and that assessment hearing had been due to resume on Tuesday.

However, after talks between the sides, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told on Monday that an offer of 2.75m euros plus costs had been made.

A lawyer for Mr Neville, said while his side considered the value of the case some 10% more than the offer, there was a risk that Mr Neville could get less as the damages aspect was being hard fought and had been running for some two weeks so far.

Counsel said it had been suggested on behalf of the school a sum claimed for the retrospective care of Mrs Neville for her son, including for time spent with him in hospital after he suffered his injuries, was "obscene". But that suggestion was later withdrawn.

During submissions as to what aids and appliances Mr Neville would need in future, there was a dispute over shoelaces, counsel added.

During the assessment hearing, the court heard Mr Neville, now aged 22, of Pembroke Lawns, Ballsbridge, Dublin, suffered a head injury during schools rugby training on 11 November 2009 and received some treatment at St Vincent's Hospital for that.

Second injury

He went again to the hospital on 15 November because he was suffering headaches and eye problems. His mother asked that a scan be carried out of his head but she said she was assured that was not necessary.

Had that scan been performed, it would have shown a subdural haematoma which could have been evacuated and Mr Neville would not have gone back to school where he suffered the second head injury, the lawyer said.

When his mother contacted the school in relation to his injury, she was assured a protocol under which students who suffer head injuries are not allowed to participate in contact sports for three weeks would be implemented.

But on 28 November 2009, some 17 days later, when Mr Neville was on the subs bench during a match between St Michael's and St Mary's, he was called on to play for the final minutes of that match.

He suffered a head injury and collapsed on the sideline at the end of that match. The school accepted he should not have been permitted to play, counsel said.

He was rushed to hospital in a condition described as "life-threatening", but emergency surgery carried out at Beaumont Hospital saved his life.

He now has a permanent brain injury with serious adverse implications for his future educational and employment prospects, the court was told.

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