Four passengers who sued MIBI for €240k awarded just over €30k after motorist rear-ended taxi and 'did a runner'
A motorist, who rear-ended a taxi at a Dublin roundabout, did a runner into the late evening darkness of Dublin’s 1,700 acre Phoenix Park, the Circuit Civil Court was told today Wednesday.
Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said that while such an action would inevitably have raised suspicions in the mind of the taxi driver the court could not assume that because of this and other matters, the accident had been “a ready up.”
Judge Groarke said the defence put forward by the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) was also asking him to infer, because a passenger in the taxi had made a phone call in a foreign language to someone only seconds before the collision, that the caller was in contact with the rear-ending driver who had done a runner.
“This is a vast crevasse you are asking me to jump and I am not entirely comfortable with it,” Judge Groarke told the MIBI’s defence team.
The judge also referred to “conjecture” by the taximan that the driver of the car that rear ended him resembled an Eastern European in looks and said the court would not be happy to rely on such evidence to establish identity in a criminal case.
Judge Groarke was dealing with €60,000 damages claims by each of four Polish nationals who were passengers in the taxi and who were injured in the rear-ending incident at the Half-Way-House roundabout near Phoenix Park on 29th January 2009.
Sylwia Wolasewicz (33) and her partner Mikolaj Urbanowicz (36) together with their friends Roman Wolonsewicz (39) and his partner, Marta Adamajtys (36), sued the MIBI for a total of €240,000 damages.
The four claimants, all from Tottenham, London, told the court they had been on a first-time weekend trip to Dublin and after having shopped in the Blanchardstown Centre they had gone into the city and had “got drunk” or had become “pretty drunk” mostly on Jack Daniels whiskey and Coca Cola.
Having returned to their rooms in the Travelodge Hotel near the M50 they had decided to go in to Temple Bar and called a taxi which had been rear-ended at the nearby Navan Road roundabout. All had been injured in the collision and had been treated overnight in James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown.
Within 48 hours of the incident all four had attended a local GP, having been advised this would be necessary if they intended making a claim, and had, as a group, attended the offices of O’Connor McCormack Solicitors.
Awarding them damages ranging from €4,750 to €10,000, totalling €30,180 together with District Court costs, Judge Groarke told barrister Sharbee Morrin, counsel for all of the claimants, he was convinced they were genuine by the fact two of them had failed to get proper medical reports from their treating doctors in England.
It seemed to him that if they had gone to such bother about an accident they would have followed through with determination and vigour to have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.
Judge Groarke said he was not convinced they were people engaged in a fraud and he was giving them the benefit of the doubt in all cases.