It wasn’t an accident – she was drunk and chose to drive
Kiernan got in touch with Digby Brown's office in Ayr to pursue a personal injury claim after a drunk driver smashed into his car in Scotland, shortly after he had dropped off his two young children at a friend’s house.
“As my partner said, it could have potentially been a lot worse. She was pregnant at the time with our third child and they could have lost their father.
“The driver had also hit another car before me which had a young child in the car. I have a child under 2 and an 8-year-old – thankfully they weren’t in the car at the time as I don’t know what I would have done.”
“I wouldn’t class what happened as an accident”
“I wouldn’t class what happened as an accident. When you actively get into the car drunk, you know the dangers and the high possibility that you could cause an accident. For me, when drivers get behind the wheel, they should assume they are going to hit someone.
“I personally don’t know how someone could live with that. Regardless of the speed you drive, you could cause serious injury and it’s not worth it.”
Mental impact of the road traffic accident
For Kiernan, and many other drivers involved in a car accident, it was the mental and psychological trauma from the accident that really affected him.
“At the time I was honestly shot to bits, the accident really affected me mentally. It’s not your fault but I kept doubting myself as I was a new driver – I’d only passed the month before.
“What made it worse was it wasn’t that late at night when the accident happened. It was just around dinner time and it made me think how many drunk drivers are out there. As a driver you have to trust other drivers out there but I lost all of that.”
Daunting to drive again
As a new driver, Kiernan found it very difficult to get back on the road again.
“I contacted my driving instructor for extra lessons but as he said, it didn’t matter how many more lessons I have, I would just need to try and get over what happened and realise I wasn’t at fault at all.
“I basically had to re-build my confidence as a driver again. I didn’t drive for 2 months after the accident and even then it was only around car parks.
“Now, almost a year on from the accident it’s not as bad as it used to be but I still slow down when passing large vehicles like lorries on a country road.”
Drunk driver blamed other driver for accident
Although the other driver accepted liability, she was claiming to others that Kiernan was at fault for the accident.
“I was an inexperienced driver and her claims did make me doubt myself. It’s not nice having someone say that about you but at the end of the day she hit others and was drunk. I couldn’t have done anything to stop what happened. It was unavoidable – she was always going to hit me.
“Don’t drink and drive – think about what you are doing and consider other people.”