Nolan v Mitchell & O'Neill

Author:Ms Ailbhe Gilvarry, Lorcan Buckley and Rachel Kavanagh
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

[2012] IEHC 151 - Smyth J. Plaintiff found to have given false evidence in relation to the extent of his ongoing complaints, his ability to work and in his claim for loss of earnings.  Facts The Plaintiff's claim arose out of a road traffic accident which occurred on the 17th November 2005. The Plaintiff sustained injuries when his motorcycle collided with the Defendant's motor vehicle. Liability was apportioned between the parties – 60% attaching to the Defendant and 40% attaching to the Plaintiff.  As part of his claim, the Plaintiff alleged that he was unable to return to his work as an alarm fitter and that he would have difficulty in engaging in any work which involved heavy lifting, prolonged standing, squatting or kneeling.  The Plaintiff's claim for loss of earnings into the future was estimated at approximately €450,000 and was based on a pre-accident earning figure of €500 per week. Judgment In his Judgment, Smyth J stated that he did not accept the Plaintiff's evidence in relation to the extent of his ongoing disability. The Defendant introduced evidence showing the Plaintiff participating in his hobby of "car drifting".  Smyth J found that this activity required agility and physical competence and that the Plaintiff's involvement in this sport was inconsistent with the extent of the physical disability which he was alleging.  Smyth J also found that evidence put forward by the Defendant which showed the Plaintiff lifting a man up and throwing him over a counter was inconsistent with the Plaintiff's claim that lifting weights was a problem for him. Smyth J was of the view that whilst the Plaintiff's injuries would preclude him from certain work, there were many occupations or areas of employment which would be suitable for the Plaintiff in the future.   In relation to the Plaintiff's claim for loss of earnings, Smyth J noted the discrepancies between the Plaintiff's earnings as disclosed in his pre-accident P60s and the amount being claimed by him in terms of his ongoing weekly loss. No adequate explanation was provided to the Court with regard to this discrepancy. Furthermore, Smyth J did not accept the Plaintiff's contention that had he been in a position...

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