Thursday 21 February 2019

Family quit €190,000 car accident claim after barrister’s examination

Witness box: Motorist David Joyce outside the Four Courts, where his family abandoned their claims for damages for injury. Photo: Collins Courts
Witness box: Motorist David Joyce outside the Four Courts, where his family abandoned their claims for damages for injury. Photo: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

Five members of a family who had claimed a total of €190,000 damages for car accident injuries abandoned their claims after a barrister’s interrogation.

Driver David Joyce (34) had claimed his car was rear-ended at a T-junction on a back road from Ashbourne to Swords in June 2009.

But when Mr Joyce, of Wotton Bridge, The Ward, Ashbourne, Co Meath, stepped out of the witness box after detailed probing by John Martin, counsel for Liberty Insurance, he walked away from his €38,000 claim.

He was joined by co-claimants Wayne (32), Marie (31), and Tracy Joyce (36), all of the same address.

The fifth claimant, Roseann Joyce (29), of Morgan’s Place, Blanchardstown, Dublin, also abandoned her claim at the court’s lunch break.

All of them claimed they had suffered injuries when David Joyce’s car was allegedly rear-ended on June 13, 2009. “Or was it a month later on the 13th of July?” Mr Martin inquired. Some of Mr Joyce’s passengers had given that date in their claims.

Mr Joyce, a vehicle recovery driver and owner of the two-year-old BMW in which the claimants were travelling, was unable to recall but he thought it could have been July.

“And what time did this accident happen at?” Mr Martin continued. 

Joyce said it was about 9.30pm. He said he could not recall if he told his doctor it happened at eight o’clock. On further questioning, he said it was dark but not pitch black.

“Dark but not pitch black at 9.30 on an evening only a few weeks from midsummer’s day?” Mr Martin said.

Mr Joyce said it was certainly dark by the time the whole thing was over. He added it was about 9.30 when he got out of his car and immediately called the emergency services.

“Two ambulances, two fire engines and gardaí turned up,” Mr Martin said. “A witness from the fire service will tell this court they received your alarm call at 10.40pm”. Mr  Joyce replied: “OK.”

When told by Mr Martin that expert motor assessor Mark Nangle would tell the court there were no marks on either of the two cars to indicate even the slightest collision, Joyce said: “My car was undriveable.”

All of the Joyces had brought claims against motorist Mihail Creciun, of Abbeywood Avenue, Lucan, Co Dublin, who was a customer of Liberty Insurance.

Their recovery for damages was curtailed to €38,000 each under the court jurisdiction as it existed prior to being updated to €60,000 in 2014.

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