Woman who ruled out beauty therapy career due to facial injuries awarded €86,000

Woman Who Ruled Out Beauty Therapy Career Due To Facial Injuries Awarded €86,000
Amy Power (22) gave up pursuing a career as a beauty therapist after she suffered facial scarring in a traffic accident
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High Court reporters

A young woman who gave up pursuing a career as a beauty therapist after she suffered facial scarring in a traffic accident has been awarded just over €86,000 in damages by the High Court.

Amy Power (22) had been awarded €107,596 for her injuries from the accident, but this was cut to €86,000 after the court found 20 per cent contributory negligence on her part for failing to wear a seat belt.


Ms Justice Marguerite Bolger said she considered that the impact that the facial scarring, which is permanently visible at conversational distance, has had and will continue to have on her career choices and options, rendered it appropriate to measure damages for facial scarring at the highest level of the category of an injury causing serious scarring.

Ms Power, of Fitzgerald’s Terrace, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, had been travelling as a front seat passenger in a car driven by Ciaran Malone, of Knockenpower Upper, Ring, Dungarvan, on April 15th, 2019, when the vehicle crashed into a ditch on the left side of the road and then spun to the other side.

She sued Mr Malone and the case was before the court of assessment of damages only.

Ms Power, who had just turned 18 before the accident, sustained a loss of consciousness and had no memory of the collision until she came around in an ambulance on her way to hospital.


The defendant was wearing a seatbelt, but she was not. He sustained no injuries.

Ms Power underwent surgery on her face and right hand. The judge said her physical appearance caused her considerable trauma in the immediate aftermath of the accident and for some time after.

Nevertheless, she returned to school only two weeks later, and, while she felt embarrassed about her appearance, she sat her Leaving Certificate and succeeded in passing all her subjects, which the judge said was "a considerable testament to her."

In September 2019, she started a beauty course at a local college, as she had always intended to do.


The judge said Ms Power was clearly a young woman interested in the beauty industry and in physical appearance but unfortunately she continued to experience the effects of her injuries and the accident on her mood.

She did not socialise with her friends for many months and did not socialise at all with her fellow students on her course. She found the beauty course massage classes difficult due to pain in her right hand.

"She was very upset when her tutor used her as a model to demonstrate using makeup to cover up scarring", the judge said.

By early March 2020, shortly before the onset of the Covid pandemic, she decided to drop out of her course as she no longer wished to pursue a career in beauty therapy.


The defendant argued that she could have done parts of beauty therapy had she sat the exams in the modules she had already completed.

The judge said it was clear from Ms Power's evidence that she had decided she no longer wanted to pursue the course or the career options flowing from it, due to the effects of her injuries.

She became pregnant in 2020 and eventually returned to work in March 2022 as a housekeeper in a local hotel.

She was, the judge said, "an impressive young woman who remains ambitious for her future" and she has decided to return to college to study childcare.

She awarded Ms Power €60,000 for the facial injuries and €30,000 for her hand injury and for the adjustment disorder she suffered, headaches and minor back pain.

The judge accepted she will continue to require a lot more makeup than she used prior to her injuries and awarded her €15,000 for the cost of additional make up to date and into the future.

With agreed special damages of €2,596, this brought the total award to €107,596, from which the judge deducted €21,517 in respect of contributory negligence, giving a total €86,076.

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