Sammy Dooley v Nicola Scully

Niamh O’Connor reports on a recent case in the Circuit Court involving MDM

The Plaintiff in this case was seeking damages of up to €60,000 arising from a road traffic accident on 9 November 2017, at the Circle K filling station on the New Mallow Road, Blackpool, Cork.

The accident occurred at the exit of the filling station. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant had collided with his vehicle at speed, thereby causing him to suffer a soft tissue injury to his pelvic bone. In addition, the Plaintiff claimed that he now suffered from anxiety and was having difficulty sleeping.

The Defendant’s insurer, Zurich, instructed MDM Solicitors to fully defend the matter. In cross examination the Defendant’s Counsel, David Fleming B.L., queried how the Plaintiff was claiming depreciation to the value of the vehicle when the vehicle was registered to the Plaintiff’s father? The Plaintiff conceded that he had no legal right to make such a claim.

CCTV of the accident was played in Court. The footage clearly showed that the Defendant’s vehicle had ownership of the junction and while she was waiting for a suitable juncture to join the carriageway, the Plaintiff undercut her vehicle on the left hand side. As the Defendant’s vehicle moved off, the side of her vehicle came into contact with the front driver’s side wheel arch of the Plaintiff’s vehicle. The collision was between 5–10 km/h.

The Plaintiff’s medical report had been agreed into evidence without the necessity of calling the Plaintiff’s doctor to prove it. It was put to the Plaintiff that the narrative of events that he had given to his doctor did not tally with the CCTV evidence. The Plaintiff had instructed his doctor that the impact was from behind and at a speed of 20 km/h. It was further put to the Plaintiff that whilst the medical evidence that was before the Court indicated that he had not sought medical attention since December 2017, at an examination with the Defendant’s Doctor in February 2019, the Plaintiff claimed to be symptomatic. In addition, the Plaintiff reported to the Defendant’s doctor that he sustained a lower lumbar injury in the index accident. It was put to the Plaintiff that not only had he not reported such an injury to his own Doctor, he had been specifically examined in relation to his lower back and no symptoms were detected. The Plaintiff sought to attribute this anomaly to another accident.

Following up on this other accident, the Plaintiff was questioned on how many previous Circuit Court claims he had instituted. The Plaintiff denied having any previous claims but quickly conceded that he had brought four previous Circuit Court actions when the details of each were put to him. The Plaintiff claimed to have been confused.

His Honour Judge Meghan showed no confusion however in finding that the Plaintiff had undercut the Defendant and thereby caused the accident. He further found that the Plaintiff had exaggerated his injuries. The Plaintiff’s case was dismissed with costs to the Defendant.

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