CAR CRASH INJURY SETTLEMENTS UPHELD AFTER COURT HEARING

21 August 2017

Seven car crash injury settlements, originally awarded by Buncrana Circuit Court in 2015, have been upheld after a hearing of the High Court.

On June 28th 2011, a two-car accident on a roundabout in Lifford, County Donegal, result in seven men suffering soft tissue injuries. The injured men claimed car crash injury compensation against the driver of the vehicle of the vehicle responsible for causing the accident, and against Ryans Investments NI Ltd – trading as Hertz Rent-a-Car – from whom the negligent driver´s car was rented.

In 2015, the seven men were awarded car crash injury settlements of between €5,050 and €9,550 by Buncrana Circuit Court. Ryans Investment NI Ltd appealed the decision, arguing that the injured men were all known to the negligent driver and that the accident had been fabricated with the sole purpose of extracting injury compensation from the company´s insurers.

The appeal was heard last month at the High Court before Mr Justice Charles Meenan. Judge Meenan was told by barristers representing Ryans Investments that the negligent driver had telephoned one of the injured men when returning the hire car to the Derry Hertz office, and that his tone during the telephone conversation had led to the belief the accident was fabricated.

Further investigation by the company´s insurers discovered the negligent driver and plaintiffs were known to each other through their membership of the Joseph Plunkett and Charlie D’Arcy Societies. The insurance company also alleged the plaintiffs had considerably exaggerated the nature, extent, and effects of their various injuries to maximise the value of their car crash injury settlements.

Judge Meenan reserved his decision until earlier this week, when he upheld the car crash injury settlements awarded by the Buncrana Circuit Court. The judge commented that Ryans Investment´s appeal was based on an overhead telephone conversation the negligent driver had made in order to obtain details of the car he had damaged in the accident.

He said “one would have thought, if the collision was a setup, the information sought [by the negligent driver] in the call would already have been firmly fixed in his mind prior to returning the hire car.” He added: “This information would be an essential part of the whole operation.”

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