Two defective car injury claims have been settled in the Circuit Civil Court after the car bought by one of the plaintiffs was found to be unfit for purpose.
In November 2013, the two plaintiffs and three other family members were travelling from Dublin to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition. On their journey along the M1 at a speed of around 80kmph, the sun roof of the car they were travelling in blew off. Alarmed at the sudden noise, the driver of the car – one of the plaintiffs – hit the brakes hard and pulled over onto the hard shoulder.
The braking action caused the driver, her 72-year-old mother, and the three other family members to suffer whiplash style injuries due to the sudden deceleration of the vehicle. The driver´s mother – the second plaintiff at yesterday´s hearing – suffered a compression fracture in one of the vertebrae of her lower back. Two children also travelling in the car were unharmed.
After receiving treatment for their injuries, the mother and daughter both made defective car injury claims via the Injuries Board against the dealership from whom the car had been purchased just four months earlier. They alleged in their legal action the car had not been fit for purpose, of merchantable quality nor free from defects at the time it had been purchased.
The car dealership denied liability for the plaintiffs´ injuries and withheld its consent for the Injuries Board to assess the defective car injury claims. The Injuries Board issued the plaintiffs with an Authorisation to pursue their defective car injury claims in court. The case was heard yesterday by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.
At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told an independent motor assessor had found corrosion around the remaining frame of the sun roof that would have been present on the vehicle at the time it was sold. The corrosion, the assessor testified, led to the sun roof blowing off and was a situation that could have been avoided if there had been an adequate pre-sale inspection by the dealership.
Following the assessor´s testimony, a representative of the dealership acknowledged the company was at fault – leaving Judge Groarke to rule on how much each of the defective car injury claims should be settled for. As the driver plaintiff had recovered from her injuries quickly, she was awarded €12,500 compensation. Her mother was awarded €25,000. The defective car injury claims of the three other passengers will be heard at a later date.