Posted: August 3rd, 2017
The High Court has dismissed an appeal against seven car injury compensation awards that were made by the Buncrana Circuit Court in 2015.
The car injury compensation awards related to an accident that occurred in Lifford, County Donegal, on June 28th 2011; when a hire car failed to slow down approaching a roundabout and crashed into a second car. Three of the occupants in the hire car and the four occupants of the second car suffered soft tissue injuries and claimed compensation against the negligent driver and the car hire company.
In 2015, car injury compensation awards of between €5.050 and €9.550 were made to the seven victims by the Buncrana Circuit Court. However, the car hire company appealed the awards of the grounds that the accident had been fabricated and that the seven victims considerably exaggerated the extent and effects of their soft tissue injuries to maximise the value of their car injury compensation awards.
The appeal hearing took place last month at the High Court before Mr Justice Charles Meenan, when it was claimed the negligent driver had telephoned one of the injured men when he returned the hire car to the car hire company and had spoken with him as if he knew him well. Further investigation revealed the negligent driver and plaintiffs were known to each other through their membership of the Joseph Plunkett and Charlie D’Arcy Societies.
The plaintiffs disputed the allegation as outrageous and, although admitting that they knew each other “to see”, denied the accident had been set up with the intention of claiming car injury compensation rewards. Judge Meenan reserved his decision at the original hearing, but this week dismissed the car hire company´s appeal and found in favour of the plaintiffs – upholding the car injury compensation awards made by Buncrana Circuit Court.
Explaining his decision, the judge said the friendly nature of the telephone conversation between the negligent driver and one of the injured men was not enough to support any other decision than the original one. He added the negligent driver made the call to find out details of the injured party´s car, and “one would have thought, if the collision was a setup, the information sought in the call would already have been firmly fixed in his mind prior to returning the hire car.”