Woman who ‘attracts misfortune’ awarded €28,000 over crash injuries

Noeleen Coakley (45) hurt in six different road traffic accidents over the years, court told

 Noeleen Coakley  pictured leaving the Four Courts on Friday after being  awarded €28,000 damages at the Circuit Civil Court. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Noeleen Coakley pictured leaving the Four Courts on Friday after being awarded €28,000 damages at the Circuit Civil Court. Photograph: Collins Courts.


A woman who a judge said “just seemed to attract misfortune”, has been awarded €28,000 damages for injuries she suffered in a rear-ending traffic collision.

Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said the moral of the story was “don’t travel in a car” with Noeleen Coakley (45) who the court heard had been injured in six different car crashes.

Frank Crean BL, for Ms Coakley, of Upper Buckingham Street, Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court his client had been involved in a number of accidents and outlined the injuries suffered and compensation she received in each.

He said Ms Coakley (45) had lost her husband tragically in 2009. One of the earlier claims she had made had been under her married name, Noeleen Hutch.

Mr Crean said liability had been conceded in the case, which had become an assessment of damages for personal injuries.

Judge Groarke, when told of a similarity to the injuries involved in each incident, said he believed her to be an honest lady who had quite a history of accidents. Insofar as she had described all of the accidents to him, he accepted she was an entirely innocent party.

“She seems to have an attraction for misfortune and the moral of the story is don’t travel in a car with Ms Coakley,” he said.


The judge said he took exception to the manner in which counsel for the defence sought to assume that because Ms Coakley had been involved in so many accidents and had obtained in the region of €60,000 damages she was “a chancer or a fraud.”

He said Ms Coakley was an honest lady and so far as the case before the court was concerned she was a poor candidate for such an accident. She had sustained a serious dental injury for which she had to receive emergency treatment including root canal treatment. She had also suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and shoulder.

Judge Groarke told Mr Crean there was a complexity with regard to injuries she had suffered in the multiplicity of accidents and the time period over which she had achieved recovery.

The judge was told that Ms Coakley had been rear ended while driving in Ballybough, Dublin, on May 19th, 2014 and had been brought by ambulance to the Mater Hospital.

Mr Crean told the court that since the accident in question Ms Coakley had been injured in two subsequent accidents, details of which were not outlined to the judge.

Ms Coakley, a part time carer, sued the driver of the second vehicle involved in the May 2014 accident, Laura O’Neill, of Charleville Avenue, North Strand, Dublin 3, whose insurance company had taken over the case.

Judge Groarke assessed Ms Coakley’s damages at €28,000 and awarded her legal costs. He granted a stay in event of an appeal on condition of a payment of €17,500.