AMOSS recently succeeded in having a personal injuries claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland dismissed as against the Bureau with an order for costs against the co-defendant, AXA Insurance.
The Circuit Court case involved a genuine accident on 22 August 2016 in which the plaintiff was a front seat passenger in a car that was rear ended when stationary at traffic lights. The offending vehicle, which was registered to Mr Craig Duffy, fled the scene of the accident.
Although Mr Duffy had a valid policy of insurance in place with AXA, the Bureau was named in the proceedings as Mr Duffy alleged that his vehicle had been stolen and that he was not the driver at the time of the alleged accident.
Mr Duffy’s evidence was that he had parked his car between 12 and 6 p.m. on the 22 August 2016 and did not return to collect it until the following day between 12 and 4 p.m., when he found it gone and reported it stolen to the Gardai. When cross-examined if he received a telephone call from the Gardai on the night of 22 August 2016 he denied that he had.
The investigating then Garda gave evidence that he arrived at the scene of the collision and was given the details of the offending car, which he then checked and found was registered to Mr Duffy. He then called to Mr Duffy’s address and was given his mobile telephone number by Mr Duffy’s mother. The investigating Garda gave evidence that he called Mr Duffy’s mobile phone at approximately 11 p.m. on 22 August 2016 and told Mr Duffy that his vehicle had been involved in a collision. Mr Duffy’s response was that he was not driving his car and that one of his friends might have been. Mr Duffy did not suggest to the Garda that his car may have been stolen.
The Garda’s evidence was that Mr Duffy did not co-operate with the Garda investigation into the alleged theft of his vehicle.
In finding for the plaintiff as against AXA and dismissing the claim as against the Bureau, Judge Griffin stated that he had never heard such a “concocted tissue of lies”. The Judge said that not only did he believe on the balance of probabilities (the threshold in civil cases) that Mr Duffy’s car had not been stolen, but he so believed beyond a reasonable doubt (the higher threshold in criminal cases).
The Plaintiff was awarded damages in the sum of €15,000 plus costs against AXA.
The Bureau was also awarded its costs as against AXA.
For further information please contact Lisa Mannion (Solicitor) or your usual AMOSS contact.