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The incident occurred near roundabout at Clareabbey, Clarecastle. Photograph by John Kelly

€8k award for ‘glancing blow’ between two car mirrors

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A-27-year old gym enthusiast who told a court that he wasn’t able to lift a shopping bag or do the shopping after a ‘glancing blow’ with another car has been awarded €8,000 by a court in a personal injuries claim.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Francis Comerford stated that Patrick Joyce’s car had “a glancing blow” with another car where the “wing mirrors did hit off each other”.

Along with awarding father of three, Patrick Joyce €8,000, Judge Comerford awarded his then pregnant wife and front seat passenger, Helen Joyce €11,000 in personal damages.

Ms Joyce told the court as her own pregnancy went on, her back pain got worse and she had the pain “nearly every day”.

In the assessment case where the other driver, a Clare man, accepted liability for the collision, Judge Comerford also made a material impact award to Patrick Joyce from the damage to his Volkswagen car at €1,254.

Judge Comerford said that he was “satisfied there was no significant impact”, but said there was some damage to Mr Joyce’s wheel arch which wasn’t insubstantial because there was indentation.

Judge Comerford said that the maximum award that he could make for Mr Joyce was €14,800 for the injuries claimed.

He said, “I don’t think he comes anywhere near that level. Doing my best, I assess general damages at €8,000.”

Judge Comerford said he was satisfied that in the circumstances, there was sufficient force so that there is going to be a movement impact from the car swerving.

The court was told that the 2018 accident is one of three road traffic accidents, the others taking place in 2016 and 2020, that Mr Joyce from Longford has been involved in where he has complained of suffering from pains in his lower back.

Under cross examination from Peter Klein BL for the other driver’s insurers, Mr Joyce initially stated he was not involved in any other accident after the 2018 accident.

In his judgement, Judge Comerford said he accepted that Mr Joyce “wasn’t frank about his claims history” and “was far too cagey about claims history”.

However, Judge Comerford said Mr Joyce’s evidence concerning his claims history didn’t meet the threshold for dismissing his claim for the 2018 accident.

In evidence, Garda Brian Donnellan told the court at around 10.30pm on March 28, 2018, the two cars involved in the accident had parked up at a forecourt near the Kildysart Road, leading to Clarecastle near Ennis.

Garda Donnellan told the court that there was no damage to the other driver’s car and the only damage to the Joyce car was a broken wing mirror.

Garda Donnellan said that the elderly driver of the other car didn’t challenge Mr Joyce’s statement that he had crossed across the white line colliding with Mr Joyce’s wing mirror.

Garda Donnellan said, “As I was taking details and talking about insurance, Patrick Joyce told me everything was fine, no one was hurt and that ‘we can sort it out ourselves’.”

Garda Donnellan said, “All parties were happy and no injuries were reported to me at the time.”

However, Mr Joyce subsequently lodged a claim for personal injuries and told the court that due to the accident he had neck pain for six to eight weeks and back pain for a year that prevented him from engaging in sporting activities.

A gym enthusiast and marathon runner, Mr Joyce told the court, “I used to bench 150.”

Mr Klein said that it was extraordinary Mr Joyce’s claim that he couldn’t do the shopping or carry shopping bags “after this light scraping impact”.

In response, Mr Joyce replied “with a swift movement I would get a sharp pain in my back – a spasm.”

In evidence, Mr Joyce said that he was getting stiffness in his neck and getting very sharp pains in his back.

He said, “After six to eight weeks my neck was okay but my back I would have to give up my running and my gym.”

Mr Joyce said that after a year he had made a full recovery.

When asked by Mr Klein why he told Garda Donellan that everything was fine and they would sort it out themselves, Mr Joyce said that he was in shock after the collision.

Mr Klein put to Mr Joyce, “You are making a mountain out of a molehill.”

He said, “We accept that my client was at fault and accept that you did well to take evasive action and avoid a worse accident but the minor glancing impact would not have caused you to suffer the injuries you complain about.”

Mr Joyce denied this stating that his injuries have been outlined in doctors’ reports.

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