Price v. Connors  IEHC 437 (High Court, O Néill J, 30 October 2012)
In this case the High Court awarded €100,579 to a front seat passenger injured in car crash, after a 25% reduction for failure to wear a seatbelt, and 30% reduction on the grounds that she knew that the driver had drunk too much alcohol.
In this Personal Injuries Hearing it was reported that there was a road traffic accident in which the driver was killed. The plaintiff was a front seat passenger who had suffered serious physical injuries and mild Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She had made a claim against the deceased driver and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (the “MIBI”) because the driver was uninsured. The MIBI resisted the claim on the grounds that (1) the plaintiff knew there was no insurance on the car but had travelled willingly, and (2) contributory negligence by plaintiff who failed to wear seatbelt and who knew that driver was not fit to drive due to drunkenness.
On the issue of the state of knowledge of the plaintiff of the lack of insurance by the driver the Court stated that the onus was on MIBI to prove plaintiff knew that driver was not insured. It was not proven that plaintiff was aware that driver was not insured. The Court however did hold that the plaintiff was aware that the driver had consumed excessive alcohol. The Court determined that there was accordingly 30% contributory negligence on the basis of this knowledge and on the finding that the Plaintiff was not wearing a seatbelt determined a further 25% contributory negligence, making an overall contributory negligence finding of 55%. Whereas compensation of €223,500 would have been awarded it was accordingly reduced by 55% to €100,579.