Claim denied because of ‘opportunism’.
A plaintiff was involved in a minor road traffic accident at the traffic lights junction on the Stillorgan Dual Carriageway near the Radisson Hotel. The plaintiff claimed that she suffered whiplash injuries when the defendant’s Land Rover car collided with the rear of her Audi car while she was stationary at the traffic lights. In the €60,000 claim, the plaintiff alleged that she had been shocked and distressed by the collision. She told the court that she had no intention of taking a case against the defendant until she was advised by her doctor that she had suffered whiplash injuries to her neck and shoulders and required medication for pain.
The defendant, in his defense, told the court that his car had rolled forward a few yards into the defendant’s car causing damage to her bumper for which he paid her just under €1,000 for a replacement bumper. Photographs were produced in court taken by a private investigator showing the plaintiff carrying out activities without showing any sign of difficulty, these included carrying shopping bags and easily getting into and out of her car. On the photos being produced, the plaintiff agreed that the person in the pictures was indeed her.
The defendant, having paid for the replacement bumper, was flabbergasted when the summons was served on him.
The judge found the evidence of the defendant was detailed and credible and that all the evidence demonstrated that the accident was minor. The judge further stated that the case smacked of opportunism in what looked like an overstated injury following a minor accident.
The case was dismissed with costs awarded to the defendant.
This case shows the risks in taking these types of accident cases to court. The plaintiff in this case, instead of being awarded money for whatever injury she actually incurred, was left with no award and a court order to pay the legal costs of both sides in the case which will run to several thousand Euros.
Collins v Tansey Circuit Court 12 May 2023.