Court of Appeal upholds ruling against compensating man injured in car accident

The men had been returning from the "Body & Soul" music festival at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, where they had been working as security personnel
Court of Appeal upholds ruling against compensating man injured in car accident

Michael McAleer

A High Court ruling that the body which compensates victims of uninsured and untraced drivers, is not liable for injuries sustained by a man in a road traffic accident has been upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Janvier Tumusabeyezu, a native of Rwanda with an address at Russell Square, Tallaght in Dublin was injured when the car he was a passenger in went off the road at a bad bend near Mullingar, Co Westmeath and struck a ditch.

The men had been returning from the "Body & Soul" music festival at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, on the June 26th 2017 where they had been working as security personnel, when the accident occurred.

Mr Tumusabeyezu suffered a number of soft tissue injuries, including a perforation injury to the small bowel, a right shoulder injury and an injury to his back. He later underwent surgery for his abdominal injuries.

Driver

He brought a High Court damages claim against the driver of the car, Daniel Muresan, a Romanian native with an address at Mayor's Walk in Waterford, who admitted negligence.

Neither Mr Muresan nor his car, a Mitsubishi Colt, were insured at the time of the accident. Mr Tumusabeyezu also sued the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland MIBI whichcompensates victims of uninsured and untraced drivers.

Last year at the High Court Mr Justice Bernard Barton ruled that the MIBI was not liable for any judgment against Mr Muresan in favour of Mr Tumusabeyezu.

Mr Muresan admitted driving Mr Tumusabeyezu, and two of his friends, to the concert to provide security.

Informed passengers

He said that he had informed his passengers before setting off to work at the festival that he had no insurance, and that he had no driving licence and the car had no NCT and was not taxed.

Mr Tumusabeyezu and the two other passengers who were in the car at the time of the accident, who were friends of the plaintiff, denied they were ever told he had no insurance.

After considering what he said was a conflict of evidence Mr Justice Barton said he accepted Mr Muresan's version of events. The driver's evidence was also substantially corroborated by a garda sergeant who arrived at the scene of the accident, the High Court also ruled.

Appeal

Mr Tumusabeyezu appealed that decision, on grounds including that the High Court had made significant errors in its findings. The MIBI opposed the appeal.

In its judgement the Court of Appeal comprised of Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, Mr Justice Robert Haughton and Mr Justice Maurice Collins dismissed the appeal.

Giving the court's decision Mr Justice Collins said the appellant's claim against the MIBI must fail.

No error had been identified in the High Court's decision that would warrant the COA's intervention, Mr Justice Collins said.

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