Six people were left with neck and back injuries when they claimed to have been shaken in what was described as “a little bump” in a carpark incident.
Forensic engineer Donal Terry told a judge the physical effect of the impact would be similar to what passengers would experience in a vehicle rounding a bend or driving over a speed bump.
Liberty faced six compensation claims, possibly totalling €360,000, until Judge Jacqueline Linnane threw out two of them, stating there was some doubt the two claimants before the court had been in the vehicle.
Mr Terry and Robert McQuillan, consultant in emergency medicine, told the Circuit Civil Court that in their opinion Simon O’Donnell and his uncle Michael Lawrence could not have suffered the injuries they complained of from such a minor side impact.
Mr O’Donnell, aged 19, of Shancastle Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin, and Mr Lawrence, aged 46, of Loughnamona Close, Leixlip, Co Kildare, sued Rhonda Dunphy who, they claimed, reversed her Landrover Freelander violently into a van in which they were passengers at Lidl, Fonthill, Clondalkin.
Both men told barrister Frank Martin, counsel for Ms Dunphy and Liberty Insurance, that the van was being driven by Simon O’Donnell’s father, Michael, as they and three others, a group of six, were on a fishing trip “to either Athy, Cavan or Baltinglass”. They told the court the Freelander had reversed out of a parking bay and struck Michael O’Donnell’s van on the driver’s rear side causing a small dent but shaking the van sideways.
Michael O’Donnell, also of Shancastle Drive, said he was taking his brother-in-law Mr Lawrence and his son, Simon, together with three other sons, Martin, Anthony and Tommy, fishing.
Mr Martin told Michael O’Donnell that Liberty Insurance had a video of him entering another store a very short time after the accident with his two youngest sons, Anthony and Tommy, after having apparently locked Mr Lawrence and his sons Simon and Martin, in the van for 15 minutes on a sweltering hot day.
The judge dismissing both €60,000 claims and awarding Ms Dunphy her legal costs against the claimants, said Mr O’Donnell had indicated he intended taking two further claims on behalf of his two young under-age sons.
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