Insurance firm added as defendant in Limerick crash case to 'protect interests'

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick Circuit Court was told it is the plaintiff’s case that the vehicle was “rear-ended” by another vehicle at the Dublin Road

Limerick Circuit Court was told it is the plaintiff’s case that the vehicle was “rear-ended” by another vehicle at the Dublin Road

AN insurance company has successfully applied to be added as a defendant in a legal action relating to a car crash in Limerick more than two years ago.

While Bump Insurance was not a party to the court proceedings, it made the unusual application to be added as a defendant in order to “protect its interests”.

While the case has yet to be heard, Judge Gerald Keys was told it involves a young woman who is suing the driver and owner of the car she was a passenger in.

Limerick Circuit Court was told it is the plaintiff’s case that the vehicle was “rear-ended” by another vehicle at Dublin Road Limerick on February 5, 2016.

Making the application on behalf of Bump Insurance, Rebecca May Treacy said her client had “a lot to lose” as it was concerned the defendants in the case “would not put in a robust defence”. 

Ms Treacy said there were concerns in relation to the version of events which had been put forward by the drivers of both cars and that the application was being made to “save costs and time”.

She said both men had stated they did not know each other but that Bump Insurance does not believe this to be the case.

Judge Keys commented that while the insurance company seemed to be suggesting there had been a “ready up” and a possible fraud, it had not formally stated this in sworn affidavits which were submitted in support of the application.

He said the applicant could not “just imply things” and that the plaintiff was entitled to know exactly what defence (if any) would be put forward.

Ms Treacy said her client had a pecuniary interest in the matter and that a full defence would be set out if it was added as a defendant.  

Citing case law, she submitted the full details of any defence did not have to be submitted as part of the application before the court.

While noting the concerns and interests of the insurance company, Pat Barriscale BL said nothing had been put forward to suggest any impropriety on the part of his client.

He submitted that the court did not have the authority to direct his client to sue Bump Insurance and that the court papers were vague and did not meet the necessary threshold.

“They lack openness and transparency,” he said, adding that his client was being put at a disadvantage.

Having considered the matter, Judge Keys granted the application and directed that Bump Insurance be joined as a defendant in the proceedings.

Once the amended paperwork is filed with the court and served on the defendants, details of any defence must be filed and the plaintiff put on notice.

Given the current lists, the case is unlikely to be listed for hearing before the second half of 2019.

Judge Keys made no order regarding the costs of the application saying that was a matter for the judge who ultimately hears the substantial case.