Expert tells €420,000 personal injury hearing 'two cars never made contact'
Seven personal injury actions for up to a combined €420,000 from a 'rear-ending' road crash have been dismissed or withdrawn after a motor assessor said the two cars never collided.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys dismissed four personal injury actions and three more were withdrawn from the alleged crash between a Ford Focus and a Nissan Almera in the village of Inagh, Co Clare, on March 13, 2014.
In dismissing the lead personal injury case by driver of the Almera, Sarah Warren (22) of Ballycar, Newmarket on Fergus, Co Clare, Judge Keys said he was not satisfied the impact described by her was consistent with the damage caused to the two cars.
Counsel for the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), Henry Downing SC, said the claim was "a set-up".
However, counsel for Ms Warren, Patrick Whyms BL, said: "No finding of fraud has been made and that is the beginning and the end of it."
Judge Keys agreed, saying: "I am not saying there is fraud."
Three of Ms Warren's passengers sued for personal injuries as did two she had never met before, friends of her then boyfriend who was a front seat passenger.
Judge Keys said: "I don't want to be over-critical but Ms Warren is very naive to find herself in a situation like this where passengers were picked up in very, very suspicious circumstances and it so happened there was a crash."
Motor assessor for the MIBI Liam Cotter said: "These two cars never made contact."
He said there was no paint transfer between the cars and it was likely the damage to Ms Warren's car was due to it being reversed into a pole. He said the damage to the Ford was consistent with it being driven over a traffic island.
Ms Warren denied reversing her car into a pole and said it had been rear-ended.
After the judge dismissed Ms Warren's personal injury case, three other actions from the same incident were withdrawn. A further three cases where dismissed when the plaintiffs failed to show up.