Friday 19 October 2018

Insurance claim for €60k thrown out after judge says crash was 'contrived accident'

Stock picture
Stock picture

Ray Managh

Aviva Insurance had established that a €60,000 personal injuries claim by a 25-year-old Dublin home care worker had arisen out of “a contrived traffic accident,” a judge has told the insurance company’s legal team.

Judge Francis Comerford, when he threw out the claim by Leonard Naughton Madden, said a link had been shown between him and his uncle to whom the car that crashed into him had been afterwards brought for inspection.

“That is quite a coincidence,” the judge told barrister Paul O’Neill, counsel for Aviva, who had told the court there was more than enough evidence to cast doubt on Naughton Madden’s case.

Mr O’Neill, who appeared with Charlotte Finnigan of Corrigan and Corrigan solicitors, told the Circuit Civil Court there were too many disquieting factors in the case and it should be dismissed.

Naughton Madden said the car in which he had been a passenger had been driven at the time of the accident in Rathmines, Dublin, on September 2012 by a William O’Brien senior who, prior to the crash, he did not know.

In cross-examination by Mr O’Neill he said he did not know the co-defendant in his case either, a Joseph Carroll with an address in Rathgar, Dublin, who had been driving the car that had crashed into him.

He also did not know that William O’Brien senior had been the deal maker on behalf of Joseph Carroll when Carroll had bought the car off an Ann Gibney before it had subsequently rear-ended O’Brien’s car in which he was a passenger.

Naughton Madden told the court he knew nothing about a number of other allegedly linked claims made against Aviva and denied any connection with claimants who allegedly contrived this and other accidents.

Ann Gibney told the court William O’Brien senior had brokered the deal to buy her car.  Another man Mr O’Brien said was from Rathgar had produced the money for it.

Dismissing Naughton Madden’s claims with costs against him, Judge Comerford said he accepted Carroll was involved in a contrived accident and that it was more likely than not that Mr Naughton Madden knew there was going to be an accident.

The personal injury system and the way it was structured was there to facilitate genuine plaintiffs who suffer injuries in accidents and while the court had to have regard to this it  had to have a concern if it felt the system for doing justice to others was being used in a dishonest way.

Following the hearing Robert Smyth, Head of Fraud at Aviva, said the company had a duty to customers to fight all fraudulent claims irrespective of the significant costs involved.

“Every effort will be made to ensure we recover our costs and we will co-operate with the gardaí to ensure that anyone involved in staged accidents face criminal prosecution,” he said.

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