A DRIVER whose car was damaged after a dog ran out in front of it, initiated court proceedings against the owner of the animal over failure to pay the full repair costs.
The defendant claimed that the quote given for the repair costs was excessive and maintained that he had been unable to get access to the car to see the damage caused.
Kilmallock Court heard that Lorraine Hayes, from Bru na nDeise, Bruff was driving at Crean, Athlacca on November 30, 2012 when a dog ran out in front of her.
“I hit him,” said Ms Hayes who told the court that she pulled up and asked people in the area if they knew who owned the dog.
“He was still alive,” she added.
“We put him on a blanket and put him in my car and took him to the vet in Adare.”
The court heard that Ms Hayes got the number of the dog owner, Patrick Keogh, from his neighbour and made him aware of what had happened.
Ms Hayes said that she took the car for an assessment to ascertain the extent of the damage caused.
The court heard the cost of repairs came to €734.50.
Solicitor for Ms Hayes, Robin Lee, put it to Ms Hayes that the substantial cost of the repair was due to the replacement of the bumper.
Ms Hayes agreed and added that a spot light and part of the grill on the bumper were damaged as well.
When Mr Lee asked Ms Hayes if she had received any payment from Mr Keogh, she replied: “I have not.”
Mr Keogh, who was representing himself, pointed out that he had offered to pay €382 but the offer had been refused.
He said he had no way of verifying the damage caused as he had not seen the vehicle.
Mr Keogh said he had given Ms Hayes a date when it would suit him for her to call. Ms Hayes pointed out that she wasn’t available to visit at that time due to an illness in the family. She said she had photographs of the damage caused.
The court heard that in July, Ms Hayes called to Mr Keogh with a quote from an assessor but was travelling in her sister’s car as they take turns driving to work.
“I didn’t think you were going to be there because I called a few times and you weren’t there,” she said to Mr Keogh.
Mr Keogh put it to Ms Hayes that the estimates given were “overvalued”.
Ms Hayes reiterated that there was damage to the bumper, spotlight and grill and “there was labour as well”.
Mr Keogh pointed out that the estimate Ms Hayes has given was for a front bumper, a corner mould, paint and labour.
Ms Hayes said that the assessor was “putting them all in together, because I know him.”
“If I went to someone else it would have been twice as much,” she said.
Ms Hayes told Mr Keogh he could have called to the assessor to view the damage. Mr Keogh said he did call but the car was gone by the time he got there.
Ms Hayes said that soon after the accident she asked Mr Keogh if he wanted to take the car to a garage of his choice to have it looked at “but you were away at that time”.
Mr Keogh said the car had passed his house several times and there were plenty of opportunities for Ms Hayes to call in.
“I’m not going to call when the court case is going on,” said Ms Hayes.
On taking the stand, Mr Keogh said he hadn’t refused to settle and pointed out that his intention was to settle.
Mr Keogh handed in two lower estimates to the court which were for a bumper and a side corner moulding.
Solicitor Robin Lee asked Mr Keogh why he went on the internet to a quote for costs. Mr Keogh said he became aware of the company though a Sunday Independent article on a small successful business.
Judge Larkin said the onus was on Mr Keogh to see the car if he wished to and added that it was open to him to engage with an assessor or garage man to make an appointment to see the car.
Judge Larkin said she hadn’t seen any evidence to suggest that the quote given was excessive.
Judge Larkin made an order for a sum of €834.50 against Mr Keogh plus costs on the suspended scale.
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