‘I am not satisfied he was injured’ – taxi driver has €60,000 injuries claim dismissed

A €60,000 personal injuries claim by a Dublin taxi driver has been dismissed after Judge Sarah Berkeley in the Circuit Civil Court told him she was not satisfied he had made full disclosure about his medical history.

Brian Rooney (61) of Balclare Avenue, Poppintree, Dublin, told the court he had been the victim of a hit and run driver in October 2016 and had suffered low back pain as a result of his daughter Lauren’s car, which he had been driving at the time, having been “shunted” forward in a collision.

Rooney, who said he had given up chasing down the hit and run driver on the advice of his wife, Martina, who was in the car with him, told defence counsel Barry Finlay that none of the three passengers in the car with him had been injured or had brought a claim for damages for personal injuries.

The court heard his wife, his daughter and another passenger, Deborah Doyle, of Elmfield, Clare Hall, Dublin, had been in the car when it was rear ended at traffic lights near Clare Hall Shopping Centre by a Thomas Keating, Fairview Strand, Dublin,who had been sued along with the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland, which represents uninsured drivers.

Mr Finlay, who appeared with Stephen MacKenzie Solicitors for the two defendants and FBD Insurance, told Judge Berkeley that a minimal impact defence had been entered on behalf of the defendants in a case where it was alleged only €420 of damage had been caused to Ms Rooney’s car.

Mr Finlay said Mr Rooney had been involved in four personal injury accidents and also had made 10 other material damage only claims against his insurers. He said he would be raising the issue of Mr Rooney having failed to fully disclose to doctors previous lower back injuries in two out of three of those accidents.

Defence counsel told Judge Berkeley the case would be decided on whether the court was happy with Mr Rooney’s credibility.

Rooney said the vehicle that had struck his daughter’s car had reversed and “took off” from the scene. He had given chase for a short distance but had given up on the basis that it may not have been the safest thing to do and his wife had suggested it wasn’t worth the risk.

He told Mr Finlay he had informed doctors about his lower back pain in one accident but had not been asked about low back pain in any of the other accidents and had not mentioned it. He had previously settled three personal injury accidents for €9,840; €12,000 and €9,000 respectively.

Judge Berkeley, throwing out Rooney’s claim and awarding costs against him, said he seemed to be a man with an unfortunate record of accidents and she accepted there had been a very mild impact in the accident complained of.

“It was a few days afterwards, while he was walking the dog, that he developed some type of lower back pain and had gone to his doctor,” the judge said.

Judge Berkeley said she was not satisfied Rooney had made full disclosure about his medical history to doctors and the court did not accept the impact involved could have caused the extent of injuries he complained of.

“I am not satisfied that he was injured,” she told Mr Finlay.

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