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'I'm no paper tiger for any insurance company,' says judge in case on accident

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Award: Danut Cirpaci and Toader Perdun leaving the Courthouse in Mallow. Photo: Provision

Award: Danut Cirpaci and Toader Perdun leaving the Courthouse in Mallow. Photo: Provision

Award: Danut Cirpaci and Toader Perdun leaving the Courthouse in Mallow. Photo: Provision

A judge who refused to hear the evidence of a motor assessor in a personal injury case said, "I am not here to amuse insurance companies," as he awarded two men damages for "mild" injuries.

Danut Cirpaci and his uncle Toader Perdun brought personal injury claims after they were involved in an accident in Mallow, Co Cork, on the May bank holiday in 2018.

A Cork Civil Circuit Court sitting at Mallow heard how Mr Cirpaci and Mr Perdun were previously involved in another road accident in April 2013 and were compensated for injuries suffered.

The incident occurred when defendant Jonathan Sweeney, insured by Aviva, was pulling out of a parking space on the Park Road.

Mr Sweeney, who was travelling with his daughter and two sons, was parked in a designated area on the left-hand side of the road and his car was facing the oncoming traffic, the court heard.

In his evidence, he claimed he did not see the vehicle coming towards him, had his indicator on and was only a foot over the yellow line when Mr Cirpaci struck his car.

Mr Cirpaci gave evidence in the court through an interpreter that Mr Sweeney pulled out in front of him as he was travelling around 40kmh.

He said he suffered pain in his neck for about three months after the accident.

Mr Cirpaci also claimed a cyst on his chest was caused to rupture by the seatbelt after the collision.

Counsel for the defence alleged that based on the assessment of forensic investigator Seamus Walsh, Mr Cirpaci had turned his car to the left before the collision and hit Mr Sweeney's car.

The defence also alleged he was driving too fast and there was "ample space" to avoid a collision.

"Do you think I wanted to hurt myself?" Mr Cirpaci said through his interpreter in response.

Mr Cirpaci told the court Mr Perdun was in the passenger seat and his wife Maria Cirpaci was in the back seat.

The defendant and his daughter disputed this, claiming there were only two people in the car at the time and that Ms Cirpaci arrived at the scene later.

The court heard that Ms Cirpaci is also bringing an injury claim but was unavailable to give evidence as she is currently in Romania.

Barrister Deirdre Keane, for the defence, also asked Mr Cirpaci about another accident in which he was involved in October 2017 in Kenmare, Co Kerry, for which he did not bring an injury claim.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said this crash was irrelevant as he did not bring a claim.

"I am not interested in amusing insurance companies," he said.

Mr Perdun said he suffered neck injuries after the accident but felt better "about a month later".

Ms Keane questioned why he submitted two PPS numbers when bringing the claim, asking if he had any other aliases or sometimes used his wife's surname.

Counsel for the plaintiff said this was a typographical error on behalf of Mr Perdun's solicitor and details of his Irish PPS number were provided to the court.

"Out of the blue you ask if you have any other aliases, I don't know what's going on here, if you don't prove that, he'll get a few bob extra… I am not going to be a paper tiger for any insurance company excursion," Judge Ó Donnabháin told Ms Keane.

He said he was refusing the evidence of assessor Seamus Walsh as it was not relevant.

"To say the injuries are mild would be an exaggeration," he said.

He found Mr Sweeney at fault for the accident.

Mr Cirpaci was awarded €2,500 and Mr Perdun €3,000, together with costs.

Irish Independent