Posted: August 4th, 2017
A judge at the High Court has upheld seven car hire injury compensation claims relating to an accident in Lifford, County Donegal, in 2011.
On June 28th 2011, the driver of a hired Ford Fiesta failed to slow down as he was approaching a roundabout in Lifford, County Donegal, and hit a Peugeot 406 that was on the roundabout at the time. The driver of the Peugeot and six other men suffered soft tissue injuries. They subsequently made car hire injury compensation claims against the driver of the Ford Fiesta and the company from which it had been hired – Hertz Rent-a-Car.
In 2015, the seven victims of the accident were awarded amounts of €5,050 to €9,550 in settlement of their car hire injury compensation claims by Buncrana Circuit Court. Hertz Rent-a-Car appealed the awards – claiming that the accident had been fabricated and that the plaintiffs making the car hire injury compensation claims had exaggerated their injuries and the effect the injuries had on their quality of life.
The appeal was heard last month by Mr Justice Charles Meenan at the High Court. During the hearing, Judge Meenan was told the driver of the hired Ford Fiesta had been overheard calling the driver of the Peugeot 406 to get the details of his car when he returned the Ford Fiesta to the Hertz Rent-a-Car office in Derry. Due to the friendly nature of the call, the car hire company made further investigations and discovered all the plaintiffs were known to the negligent driver.
The barrister representing the seven plaintiffs told the court the allegations of fraudulently fabricating the accident were outrageous and lacking in support. Judge Meenan said he would reserve his decision until October, but earlier this week dismissed the car hire company´s appeal against the settlement of the car hire injury compensation claims and found in favour of the seven plaintiffs.
Upholding the awards of the Buncrana Circuit Court, Judge Meenan said the overheard telephone conversation was insufficient evidence to prove the accident had been fabricated and that “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.”