Men ruled by doctor to be ‘exaggerating’ injuries awarded damages

Taxi driver involved in Kildare incident also contradicted plaintiffs’ version of events

Judge James O’Donoghue, sitting in Naas Circuit Court, said he believed a crash had occurred. Photograph: Alan Betson

Judge James O’Donoghue, sitting in Naas Circuit Court, said he believed a crash had occurred. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Two men have been awarded €7,500 and €5,000 in compensation at Naas Circuit Court for injuries they claimed they sustained in a crash.

Their evidence was contradicted by a taxi driver involved in the incident, whose account was supported by a member of the Garda. An insurance company doctor told the court he could not find any real reason for the injuries complained of.

Judge James O’Donoghue, sitting in Naas Circuit Court, said he believed a crash had occurred.

He accepted the insurance company doctor’s characterisation of both men as “fairly strong”, he awarded them compensation, which he said was at the “lower end of the scale”, plus their costs.

The case was taken by Patrick Carthy (30), an unemployed man of Robertstown, Co Kildare, and his friend Tyrone Bowers (29), an apprentice electrician.

The court heard that on September 19th, 2015, they had been drinking in a pub and called a taxi at 10.30pm. Mr Carthy asked the driver to divert to his house on the way to change his footwear and collect ID for a nightclub.

Mr Carthy said in evidence he indicated several times to the taxi driver where to turn.

“He just braked and then all of a sudden, there was a bang from behind, a big bang from what I can remember,” said Mr Carthy. “When we crashed, I hit my head off the window and I felt a pain up my back.”

Mr Carthy said he got out of the taxi and vomited while Mr Bowers said he urinated on himself.

Both men went to K Doc, an out of hours medical service, and subsequently went to their GPs. Both complained of soft tissue injuries and pains and underwent physiotherary.

The court heard the driver of the other car could not be found and neither Mr Carty nor Mr Bowers contacted gardaí at the crash or immediately after it.

The taxi driver, Michael Nolan, said that when he stopped his vehicle, he felt a “tip” or a “jolt” at the rear which he described as “medium” in strength.

Neither Mr Carthy nor Mr Bowers complained of any injury at the time, he said. He said he rang his taxi company to send out a replacement car but both men left the scene before it arrived and had refused to pay him.

Mr Bowers said he took a photograph of the car that allegedly crashed into the taxi. The image showed the front of a vehicle badly damaged, with its bumper hanging off.

Shown the photograph, Mr Nolan said: “It definitely wasn’t like that . . . the car was completely intact.”

He also said there was no damage to his vehicle from the incident.

Garda John O’Sullivan from Naas Garda station went to the scene of the crash. Shown the photograph by Judge O’Donoghue, he said: “That’s certainly not what I seen on the night. . . the bumper was still intact, the headlights were still intact. There were no fluids on the road. I can’t explain where that photo came from.”

Mr Bowers said he took the photograph on his phone at 11.53pm on the night of the incident. He gave it to his solicitor “about two weeks ago” but not the Garda. “I didn’t think the gardaí would need that,” he said.

The photograph was given to the defence for the first time in court.

The court was told Dr Michael Glynn had examined both claimants on behalf of FBD Insurance and the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland.

“He effectively found that you were not co-operating,” Philip Fennell BL for FBD put it to Mr Carthy. “You were actively resisting that examination. Mr Glynn felt that you weren’t co-operating and exaggerating.”

Mr Carthy disagreed. “I co-operated with him as much as I could,” he said.

In the case of Mr Bowers, Mr Fennell said that Dr Glynn could not find any real reason for the injuries complained of. He believed the pain to be “psychosomatic”.

Counsel for the two, Tom Clarke BL, said both men had been to their GPs and Mr Bowers had been to K Doc nine times for treatment.

Making his ruling, Judge O’Donoghue said “While I have to take cognisance of what Mr Glynn says, I am disinclined to agree exaggeration.”

Mr Nolan was exonerated of any blame, he ruled. There was a conflict of evidence as to the severity of the damage in the incident. “I am inclined to give the benefit of doubt to both plaintiffs,” he said.

He awarded Mr Bowers €7,500 and to Mr Carthy, of whom he noted Dr Glynn “was pretty scathing” of, €5,000.

It is understood that an appeal is being considered.