Tuesday 21 November 2017

Three payouts for man after cars driven by wife and sister rear-ended other vehicles

Two of the ‘rear-ending’ accidents involving Martin Ward of Blackberry Lane, Athlone occurred on roads leading into roundabouts in Ennis.
Two of the ‘rear-ending’ accidents involving Martin Ward of Blackberry Lane, Athlone occurred on roads leading into roundabouts in Ennis.

Gordon Deegan

A man has received his third compensation payout concerning cars in which he travelling rear-ending other cars on straight roads.

Two of the ‘rear-ending’ accidents involving Martin Ward of Blackberry Lane, Athlone occurred on roads leading into roundabouts in Ennis.

In the latest case at Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys ruled that the married father of five receive €4,000 for the ‘very minor injuries’ he sustained when his sister, Margaret Ward rear ended another car at the Maid of Erin roundabout in Ennis in April 2014.

Mr Ward was previously a passenger in two accidents where his wife, Rosie Ward was the driver and one of those accidents was a rear-ending of another car on another roundabout in Ennis.

The total amount paid by Liberty Insurance to deal with the claims from the previous two accidents totals €134,483 - Mr Ward shared payouts with other claimants in those accidents.

The amount Mr Ward received personally from those awards was not disclosed in court.

The cost to Liberty for the previous ‘rear-ending' at an Ennis roundabout where Rosie Ward was the driver at 4.45pm on March 11 2011 totalled €99,127.

Claims handler for Liberty, Alan Hayes told the court that less than one month later on April 7  2011 Ms Ward rear-ended another driver on the Gort Road at Loughrea and the costs to Liberty in dealing with claims from that crash was €35,356.

In the current case, counsel for Aviva, Michael Collins BL told the court that he had concerns over the credibility of the claimants, Martin Ward and his wife, Rosie.

He said: “The circumstances of the accidents are highly suspicious in their modus operandi - you have two rear endings at roundabout outside Ennis.”

Mr Collins questioned in court if Mrs Ward suffered any injury at all in April 2014 crash. In evidence, Ms Ward confirmed that she was wearing a seat-belt and that her right knee banged against the dash-board on impact with the 14 registered car in front of them.

Garda Mervyn Forde said that neither Martin Ward or his wife, Rosie Ward made any complaint about injuries sustained in the April 2014 rear-ending when he attended the scene at 9.50pm.

Neither Martin Ward or Mrs Ward could say in evidence how the accident occurred. In evidence, Ms Ward said: “We were chatting and talking and before we knew it, we were thrown forward. Margaret (Ward)  just crashed into the car - I couldn’t really tell you how it happened. I wasn’t paying that much attention.”

Ms Ward said that the pain in her knee got worse as the night went and she and her husband went to Ballinasloe hospital.

She said: "I was in a lot of pain and I went to my own GP and I was referred for physiotherapy. I suffered a lot of [pain] with the knee - I couldn’t run after that or do much walking.”

Mrs Ward said that the pain continued for 18 months. Mr Ward said that he had right shoulder and neck injuries and went to his GP six times after the initial hospital visit.

Mr Collins said in court that he had concerns after Mrs Ward failed to disclose in court under questioning that she had been the driver in two accidents that cost a combined total of €135,000 to her insurer, Liberty Insurance.

Ms Ward said that she didn't misunderstand the question believing it to be had she been any accidents before where she had made claims.

A third passenger in the Ward car, Caroline Sherlock of Carrowgar, Lahinch also made a damages claim for personal injuries from the April 2014 crash.

All three had claims at the circuit court where judges have the jurisdiction to make awards for €15,000 and higher.

However, in this case because of what he described as the ‘very minor injuries’ involved, Judge Keys made district court level awards of €4,000 for each of the three and legal costs at the district court rate.

Judge Keys said that there is no evidence “to suggest that the accident was conspired or an exaggeration into the how the accident occurred”.

Judge Keys said that he didn’t accept Ms Ward or Mr Ward’s evidence that the symptoms from their injuries went on for 18 months.

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