A 32-year-old man who came here from Moldova to start a new life suffered catastrophic and life-changing injuries when he was crushed by a forklift against a refuse skip at work, the High Court has heard.
His wife, who told the court they had moved to this country with hope for the future, said that after the accident three years ago she was left lost without family or friends here and with two young children.
Her husband Eugeniu Lazari, the court heard, has been left brain-damaged and requires full time care and has to live in residential care.
Cristina Lazari told Mr Justice Paul Coffey she fears she may now lose her council home after she settled two High Court actions for a total of €3 million over the accident at a premises in Dublin Port.
She pleaded that some of the settlement be used to secure a home for her and her children where her husband can also be cared for at home.
Mr Justice Coffey said it was a heartbreaking case where the Lazaris had come to this country in 2016 with optimism and hope for the future and three years later “there was this tragic accident which completely altered their lives in a most profound way.”
The judge said while he had a limited function and he had to have regard only for the best interests of Mr Lazari, he had listened very carefully to Ms Lazari and was mindful of her wishes.
He said everything should be done for her and he was in no doubt that Mr Lazari would want that. Mr Justice Coffey said the case can come back before him if needs be in the future.
Eugeniu Lazari from Naas, Co Kildare had through his wife Cristina Lazari sued his employers Doyle Shipping Group Unlimited Company of Ocean Pier, Alexandar Road, Dublin over the accident there on September 20th, 2019.
A mechanical operative, Mr Lazari was cleaning up weeds when it is believed he was crushed by the forklift.
The family counsel Edward Walsh SC told the court it was a particularly tragic case where Mr Lazari’s accident took place just nine days after the birth of his second child.
Counsel said on the day of the accident, Mr Lazari was clearing weeds from a maintenance yard but it was noticed that he had not turned up for his morning tea break.
When colleagues found him he was unconscious and crushed up against a refuse skip by a forklift.
Counsel said there was an investigation by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the gardaí. An HSA investigation found there was no mechanical fault in the forklift truck.
No prosecution was brought in the case by gardaí, who concluded that Mr Lazari got down off the forklift to check the skip and the forklift crept up on him and crushed him.
At issue in the case was whether the handbrake in the forklift was engaged or not. The company denied negligence and maintained that Mr Lazari was not authorised to operate a forklift and that there was alleged contributory negligence in that Mr Lazari had allegedly positioned himself between the skip and the forklift in circumstances which he knew or ought to have known it was unsafe to do so.
Mr Walsh told the court it was their side’s contention that it was allegedly the practice that the forklift was used to compress refuse in the skip.
Cristina Lazari told the court that when she got the call about the accident, she could not believe what she was hearing.
“I feared the worst. I said please tell me he is alive,’ she told the judge.
She added: “I was all alone in this country with young children, without family or friends. I was lost.”
The court was told the settlement represents half the value of the case.