Family of pedestrian killed whilst crossing the road awarded €106,000 in damages

A court has awarded €106,000 in damages to the family of a man who was struck down by a vehicle in Naxxar whilst crossing the road

Karl Fenech died four days after he was struck by a vehicle in Labour Avenue
Karl Fenech died four days after he was struck by a vehicle in Labour Avenue

A court has awarded over €106,000 in damages to the family of a young man who was killed whilst crossing the road.

Karl Fenech died four days after he was struck by a vehicle in Labour Avenue, Naxxar during the evening of 9 December 2013, the impact throwing him nearly seven metres from the car. The 34 year old had been walking home to his parents’ house at the time.

Mr. Justice Lawrence Mintoff had seen medical reports, certifying that the man had suffered fractures, severe injuries to his head and lungs as well as suffering a fatal brain haemorrhage.

The driver, Dulcinea Micallef denied wrongdoing, saying in an affidavit that at first she had thought something had “fallen out of the sky” on to her car as she drove past the bus stop. She had collapsed in shock upon seeing the victim and started screaming for help. Micallef told the court that she had been so traumatised by the incident that she had stopped driving altogether.

The car had not been speeding but a proper lookout had not been kept, said the court. “It is clear that the defendant failed to observe an important rule of driving, that of knowing what is going on in her immediate vicinity.” The court observed that the victim had been roughly three quarters across the road at the time of impact.

During the proceedings, it emerged that the victim had been participating in an Eden Foundation program meant to foster independence skills.

In view of “allegations and insinuations” made by the defence about the state of the victim’s health at the time, the court underlined the fact that he had died as a consequence of the accident and no other reason. The man had overcome health problems to work and travel as independently as possible, said the court describing as “shameful” the use of a defence witness who revealed confidential information about the victim benefiting from training offered by the Eden Foundation “to attempt and impute some grade of fault upon him, when the evidence shows that this was absolutely not the case.”

The court declared Dulcinea Micallef as solely responsible for the accident and arrived at the sum of €106,276 payable in damages to Fenech’s heirs.

Lawyers Chris Cilia and Timothy Bartolo appeared for the Fenech family. Lawyers Christine Calleja and Matthew Cutajar were defence counsel.   

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