Saturday 31 January 2015

Westmeath woman who sued husband following car crash awarded over €16k in damages

Tim Healy

Published 24/03/2014 | 17:15

Julia Ward of Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Co. Westmeath leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Mon) after she was awarded €16,200 damages in the High Court.Pic: Collins
Julia Ward of Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Co. Westmeath leaving the Four Courts today after she was awarded €16,200 damages in the High Court. Pic: Collins

A WOMAN has been awarded €16,200 by the High Court after she was injured when a car being driven by her husband rear-ended another car.

Julia Ward (31), Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Co Westmeath, suffered soft tissue injuries to her back shoulder, neck and knee in the collision as she was on her way to the New Year sales at the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in Dublin in January 2011.

Her husband Martin Ward had been driving their Hyundai at around 30mph when it hit a Ford Fiesta which had stopped suddenly in front of him, the court heard.

Ms Ward sued her husband in the Circuit Court where the case was dismissed.

Today, after hearing an appeal brought by Ms Ward, Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon awarded her €16,200 saying she had been given no evidence as to what speed Mr Ward was travelling at.  In those circumstances she was making the award and also awarding her costs of both her Circuit and High Court cases. 

The judge said she had also evidence from Ms Ward's GP, whom she had visited on a number of occasions in 2011 and 2012, and that these visits were related to the accident.

Ms Ward told the court she had been chatting to someone else in the car when the accident happened and did not know what speed her husband was travelling at.   She had been shocked by the accident and did not go shopping that day.

She told a garda who was called to the scene that she had no need for an ambulance but she later attended hospital and her GP.

She disagreed with counsel acting for her husband's insurers, Liberty, that the damage to both cars was only slight and that she could not have been injured in such a mild collision.  

"That does not mean people can't be hurt, you can be hurt in a lot of things," she said.

She agreed she had a similar claim to this one 14 years ago but did not remember the details of it. 

Asked if her husband would be giving evidence, as he had done in the Circuit Court, she said she did not know but she agreed he was in the precincts of the court.   Mr Ward was not called.

Motor assessor Martin Nagle, who examined both cars a few days after the accident for Liberty Insurance, said the damage to the Ford Fiesta was the type one might get when you bump another vehicle while parking.  

Some of the damage on the Ward's Hyundai seemed to be older than a few days, he said.

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