Galvin v Dennehy and Others

 
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[2005] IEHC 90

The High Court on Circuit

113 CA/2005
GALVIN v DENNEHY & MOTOR INSURERS BUREAU OF IRELAND (MIBI)
South-western Circuit County of Clare

Between:

Terence Galvin
Plaintiff/Respondent

AND

John Dennehy & Kieran Dennehy
Defendants

AND

The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland
Defendant/Appellant

WHITE v WHITE 2001 1 WLR 481

EEC DIR 84/5 ART 3(1)

INSURANCE

Motor Insurance

Motor Insurers' Bureau - Obligation to notify of property damage within one year - Damage to property notified to MIBI more than one year after accident - Whether MIBI obliged to compensate plaintiff - Accident notified to first defendant's insurer within time limit and policy only repudiated outside time limit - Whether sufficient to notify that insurer to claim under the agreement of 1988 - Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland Agreement 1988, cl. 3(1) - Defendant's appeal allowed

2005/113CA - McCracken - High - 18/3/2005 - 2005 27 5591 2005 IEHC 90

The plaintiff was involved in an accident in which the rear of his vehicle was struck by a vehicle owned by the first named defendant. The plaintiff initially believed that the second named defendant had been driving the vehicle at the time of the collision. However, the first named defendant maintained from an early stage that his car had been stolen. Subsequently, the first named defendant’s insurers repudiated liability on the basis that a driver had not been identified and the plaintiff instituted proceedings against the third named defendant. The plaintiff succeeded in his claim against the third named defendant. The third named defendant appealed the decision of the Circuit Court on the basis that the plaintiff failed to notify it of his intention to seek compensation in respect of the damage to his car within the one year time limit provided for at clause 3(1) of the MIBI Agreement and therefore it was not liable to compensate in respect of the that damage.

Held by McCracken J. in allowing the appeal in respect of the damage to the motor vehicle: That the plaintiff failed to give the third named defendant notice in writing of his intention to seek compensation for damage to his motor vehicle within one year of the date of the accident giving rise to such damage. Accordingly, the third named defendant was not liable to the plaintiff in respect of that damage.

Reporter: L.O’S.

1

Judgment of Mr Justice McCracken delivered the 18th day of March 2005

Mr Justice McCracken
2

On 8th December 1996 the Plaintiff was driving his motor car on a road near Newmarket on Fergus in County Clare. He was struck from behind by another vehicle, lost control of his car and ended up almost on top of a wall at the side of the road. The vehicle which struck him did not stop but shortly afterwards another vehicle owned by the first named Defendant was found in a lay-by with damage to the front of it consistent with having struck the Plaintiff from behind, and it is now accepted by the Appellant that this was so.

3

The Plaintiff initially believed that he had been struck by the first Defendant's car and that it had been driven by the second defendant, who was the son of the first Defendant. He duly submitted a claim to the first named Defendant's insurers on this basis. The first named Defendant maintained from an early stage that this was not so, and that the car had in fact been stolen, but nevertheless the claim was investigated by his insurers and the Plaintiff's vehicle was duly inspected by an assessor on behalf of those insurers. On 29th January 1997 the insurers wrote giving a without prejudice valuation of the vehicle on the basis that it was a total loss. On 30th May 1997 the Plaintiff's solicitors wrote to the insurers, in the knowledge that the first named Defendant claimed the vehicle was stolen, and sought to ascertain whether the insurers were indemnifying the first Defendant and also whether they were accepting liability. This was apparently followed by several telephone calls to the insurer's Galway office but it was not until 18th May 1998 that the first Defendant's insurers repudiated liability on the basis that a driver had not been identified.

4

Immediately following this repudiation, on 21st May 1998, the Plaintiff's solicitors wrote to the third Defendants who are the Appellants in this appeal by registered post giving notice that they intend to issue proceedings against the Appellant. On 3rd December 1999 proceedings were issued in the Circuit Court against all three Defendants. For various reasons the matter proceeded with some considerable delay, but ultimately was heard before His Honour Judge Terence O'Sullivan in...

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