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  • In previous BLOGS I have advised how the High Court has dismissed Accident Claims made by victims in circumstances where they might otherwise have been entitled to compensation, because the Plaintiff victim was deemed to have made an exaggerated and misleading Claim.

    It appears that it will only be in exceptional cases that the Plaintiff`s Claim will not be dismissed.

    In the case of Patrick Higgins –v- Caldark Limited and Michael Quigley [High Court Rec No 2004 1440 P] delivered on the 18th November 2010 Mr Justice Quirke dismissed the Plaintiff`s Claim in circumstances where he would otherwise have been happy on liability to award the Plaintiff 75% of his compensation for his personal injuries. This was because the Plaintiff had failed to disclose earning which he had received after the accident in circumstances where he was claiming Loss of Earnings by way of actuarial evidence in Court over and above his General Damages Claim for his pain and suffering. The Claim was dismissed under Section 26 of the Civil Liability & Courts Act 2004.

    The Plaintiff`s Senior Counsel submitted that that it would be unjust and disproportionately harsh to deprive him of any compensation, even if he has adduced some evidence on affidavit which was materially false and misleading. He stated that such a harsh penalty “would result in injustice being done” within the meaning ascribed to that term by s. 26 of the 2004 Act. Mr Justice Quirke responded that the fact that the dismissal of an action will deprive a plaintiff of damages to which he or she would otherwise be entitled cannot, by itself, be considered unjust. He stated that section 26 of the Act is mandatory and contemplates and requires such a consequence.

    The judge did however acknowledge that evidence in some proceedings may disclose the likelihood of injustice consequent upon a dismissal. For instance, it may be unjust if the claim of a catastrophically injured claimant for the cost of ongoing care is dismissed because he or she has knowingly adduced some (perhaps trivial) misleading evidence in respect of some other of category of damages. Similarly, the dismissal of a fatal injuries claim based upon misleading evidence knowingly adduced by an adult plaintiff, may unjustly penalise infant or incapacitated dependents.

    In this case, dismissal of the plaintiff’s action would have severe consequences for him. It would deprive him of significant compensation for his injuries and their consequences. It would affect his life and lifestyle in the future. However, the judge stated that the court’s discretion is limited. It may not be exercised “simply because the statutory sanction required will have very severe consequences for a hardworking and likeable man who has suffered a serious injury”. He commented that no evidence of exceptional or other circumstances had been adduced which would enable the court to find that dismissal of the action would result in an injustice and accordingly dismissed the Plaintiff`s Claim.