Judge throws out crash insurance claims after doctor calls it a “bumper car’ incident


 January 11, 2017
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A Judge has thrown out personal injury claims by two people after hearing the car crash in which they were in had the same impact as a bumper car at at a fairground.

Judge James O’Donoghue dismissed the cases of Eileen Ward and Charlie Ward when they appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

The pair, who are related by marriage, were both claiming against the driver of the car, Mr Ward’s wife Kathleen, following a collision at Ratoath in Co Meath in February, 2012.

Mrs Kathleen Ward, from Ard Glass, Glencar Irish, Letterkenny, did not give evidence in today’s case.

Both claimants gave evidence that they suffered neck and back injuries as a result of the accident and were suing Liberty Insurance for personal injuries.

The amount of financial damages being sought by both people was not disclosed during the case.

Eileen Ward, aged 42, from Cavan at Letterkenny Circuit Court today (North West Newspix)

However, the court was told that there was minimal impact in the crash.

Two other people in the car had also started personal injury claims against the driver but one had already been struck out.

The incident happened when the Nissan Primera car being driven by Ms Kathleen Ward, slid into the back of a car stopped at a set of traffic lights at Fairyhouse, Ratoath.

There were five occupants in the car including Eileen Ward, Charlie Ward, Kathleen Ward, another Charlie Ward and a cousin Michael Mongan.

The Toyota Corrolla car parked at the red traffic light was being driven by computer science student Mr Liviu Ioan Pantille who was returning from lectures at Maynooth University.

Mr Pantille was unhurt in the incident and paid the €100 to repair the tow bar of his car out of his own pocket, the court heard.

The court was shown pictures of some small damage to the front of the Nissan Primera car caused by the tow bar of the other car.

Kathleen Ward, 42, said she was a front seat passenger and banged her face off the dashboard of the car upon impact but stressed that she was wearing a seatbelt.

She described the impact of both cars as “shocking.”

She said she suffered lower back pain and attended Cavan General Hospital the following day and took a course of painkillers.

Charlie Ward, aged 30, from St martin’s Estate, Cavan, said he was a back-seat passenger, who also banged his head off the headrest in front of him.

He claimed he suffered head and neck pain and attended Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital four days after the accident.

Neither claimants suffered long-term injury and a medical report on Mrs Eileen Ward said her pain would leave in weeks rather than months.

Barrister for driver Mrs Kathleen Ward, Seamus Breen, claimed minimal impact occurred during the crash.

In a medical report, Dr Martin Coyne compared the injuries suffered to that people might receive in a bumper car incident at a fairground.

Judge James O’Donoghue dismissed both claims saying he was satisfied there was minimal impact and that they were “opportunist claims.”

“I am happy on the evidence that there was a very small impact of a minimal type. These are opportunist claims that I am meeting on a regular basis throughout the country.

“I am satisfied that it was a bumper car like incident and it has all the hallmarks of an opportunist effort to exploit a minimal impact and make the most of it,” he said.

He dismissed both claims.