Driver who claimed €60,000 over minor crash gets just €5,000

Judge tells claimant that damage to her car could not have been the result of the incident

 

A judge has told a Dublin woman that substantial damage she claimed to have been caused to her car at traffic lights could not have been the result of “a minor tip” to her Volkswagen Polo.

The woman, Julie O’Donnell, of Abbottstown Avenue, Finglas, sued claiming €60,000 compensation, was offered €10,001 but refused to accept, and ended up being awarded €5,000, for injuries described by the judge as “very minor”.

Judge Patrick Quinn said that from photographs taken at the scene, it was obvious the damage to the woman’s car could not have been caused by a van “brushing” the bumper of her car.

Barrister Ivan Daly, counsel for two defendants in the case and their insurers Allianz, told the court it was more likely the damage had been caused before the accident as a result of it having been accidentally reversed into a pole.

Mr Daly also told Judge Quinn that Ms O’Donnell had suffered a head injury in a fall while out with friends three weeks before the car accident.

He said in the Circuit Civil Court that despite having to attend hospital as a result of the fall, she had not revealed her earlier injuries to doctors examining her after the accident and had initially kept it from the defendants in the case.

Rear-ended

Ms O’Donnell said that on December 18th, 2015, she had been stopped at traffic lights at Hart’s Corner near Dublin city centre and, when the lights turned to green, a Ford Transit van had rear-ended her vehicle as it moved off, injuring her and her three passengers.

She said her three passengers had since been compensated and that in a previous accident in which she had been involved all four people in the car had also been compensated, including €12,000 which she had received.

She sued the van driver, Anthony Corcoran, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, and his employer and van owner, Jabez Limited, North Road, Finglas, for €60,000 damages for personal injuries as the result of head, neck and shoulder injuries she alleged she had suffered in the rear-ending.

Mr Corcoran, who told the court the impact was just like a brush or minor tip, said he was so surprised by damage to the rear of the Polo that he had said to Ms O’Donnell at the scene: “Is your car made of paper?”

Photograph

Judge Quinn said a photograph taken at the scene showed the Polo to be substantially damaged, and Ms O’Donnell was alleging that this damage was caused in the accident.

He said that after examining photographs and having heard the evidence of both sides he was satisfied the accident was not as severe as described by Ms O’Donnell and could not have caused the damage set out in the photographs.

“It seems to me that she did suffer some very minor injuries as a result of this accident and I do not consider her to be in the category of a person who substantially exaggerated her claim,” the judge said.

He told Mr Daly her injuries were extremely minor and he would award her €5,000 with District Court costs.

When Mr Daly revealed that on April 25th last the defendants had tendered €10,001 as being the maximum value of the claim and she had not taken it up, Judge Quinn said she would be entitled to District Court costs only up to April 25th.