Tourists awarded €30,000 after taxi was rear-ended and motorist fled
A motorist who rear-ended a taxi at a Dublin roundabout fled into the Phoenix Park, a court has heard.
Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said 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".
He 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 fled.
"This is a vast crevasse you are asking me to jump and I am not entirely comfortable with it," he told the MIBI's defence team.
The judge also referred to "conjecture" by the taxi driver that the driver of the other car looked Eastern European, 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 the Phoenix Park on January 29, 2009.
Sylwia Wolasewicz (33) and her partner Mikolaj Urbanowicz (36), together with their friend 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 were on a first-time weekend trip to Dublin and they had gone into the city and had "got drunk" or had become "pretty drunk". They decided to go to Temple Bar and called a taxi.
All of them were injured in the collision and were treated overnight in hospital.
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 attended a solicitor's office.
Awarding them damages ranging from €4,750 to €10,000, totalling €30,180 together with District Court costs, Judge Groarke said 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 vigour to have "all the i's dotted and t's crossed".