'No damage done' - Pictures of taxi rear-ended in accident for which three people brought claims
Insurers have a duty to customers to keep defending against "accident prone" claimants and exaggerated claims, the head of fraud with one of Ireland's leading insurance companies has said.
Rob Smyth, Head of Fraud at Aviva, has welcomed the dismissal of eight recent motor claims against drivers insured with the company.
In one case heard in Tullamore, Co Offaly, a judge dismissed claims by three occupants of two vehicles who only noticed injuries hours after a collision that happened in 2014.
Phyllis McDonagh (38) of St Columbas Place, Tullamore was a passenger in a car that rear-ended a taxi carrying five people.
Along with McDonagh, two of the passengers in the taxi brought personal injury claims.
The two other claimants, Robert Vicars (33) of Thornsberry Estate, Tullamore and Samantha Dunican (21) of Cluain Darach, Tullamore, and Phyllis McDonagh were known to each other prior to the accident.
Independent.ie has obtained pictures of the taxi involved in the accident.
The taxi driver, Mr Michael Harrington, said in court that "there was no damage done" to either vehicle.
He compared the impact to a "vehicle being pushed by a couple of people when another set of hands joins in on the pushing".
Mr Harrington did not bring a personal injury claim in relation to the incident.
Ms McDonagh said she suffered from a pain in her lower back following the incident.
It also emerged in court how Ms McDonagh had been involved in a number of other previous accidents, but only mentioned one of them to the Injuries Board.
Ms Dunican said she went to A&E the next day.
She said she hurt her neck again in a later accident when her brother crashed in Dundalk and a claim was also brought.
Taking the taxi driver's version of events into consideration and the inconsistencies in the plaintiffs' evidence, the judge dismissed the case.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Rob Smyth says Aviva will continue to fight against exaggerated claims.
"If these claimants had been successful in their court actions, the pay-outs could have been as high as €200,000. The judge found that the alleged injuries were exaggerated. These are recurring features of personal injury claims. Aviva will continue to fight against these kind of claims.
"That is our duty to our customers. But for society at large, I think it’s now important that the gardaí take appropriate action in these cases and, where appropriate, proceed to criminal investigation."