Saturday 21 September 2019

'Time-wasting' driver drops €75,000 claim after five-year dispute

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Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A 75-year-old man has told how the driver of a car he rear-ended jumped out of the vehicle to stop a witness taking photographs, but later demanded to be removed from his car on a spinal board.

The collision happened in August 2013 after the driver slammed on the brakes coming up to a roundabout in Co Limerick, despite nothing being in front of the car.

He then brought a personal injuries claim worth €75,000.

The pensioner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was forced to defend the claim for the past five years and travelled to the High Court last week.

The plaintiff tried to settle for damages but Aviva, which was the pensioner's insurers, refused as it argued the claim was exaggerated due to the minimal contact made between the cars. After five years of toing and froing, the plaintiff withdrew his case.

The defendant said he was mostly annoyed about the "time wasting" involved and the racking up of legal fees of "at least €40,000". His wife is in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's disease and he described the incident as "wholly inconvenient".

"I knew all along I was in the right and I'm amazed at how this man managed to turn a fender bender into a two-day High Court case," he told the Irish Independent.

The pensioner said he tipped the other driver's bumper after he came to a sudden stop.

"A friend of mine happened to be in the area and went to take photographs but the other guy was trying to obstruct him," he said. Aviva launched a full investigation and was satisfied it was highly unlikely any injuries could have been sustained.

"The issue is that this guy exaggerated a claim and caused me to damage my car.

"That car was one of the loves of my life, it was my toy. I had it for years. I don't drive anymore, not because of the accident, but it's not worth the hassle and I have the free travel now," said the pensioner.

Rob Smyth, head of fraud with Aviva, said: "As part of our zero-tolerance strategy, last-minute approaches by a plaintiff to settle claims for small money and legal costs will not be entertained.

"In this incident the offending motorist was taken to hospital on a spinal board where minutes earlier he had been walking without any apparent difficulty. Incidents like this not only impact on the A&E services, but ultimately also waste the valuable time of gardaí and th e courts."

Irish Independent

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