MIBI not liable for injuries as passenger knew driver was uninsured

ireland
Mibi Not Liable For Injuries As Passenger Knew Driver Was Uninsured Mibi Not Liable For Injuries As Passenger Knew Driver Was Uninsured
Mr Muresan told the other occupants he was taking all the risks on the journey, as he had no driver's licence, insurance or tax
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Ann O'Loughlin

The body which compensates victims of uninsured driving will not be liable for any judgment against an uninsured driver whose car crashed into a ditch injuring a passenger, the High Court ruled.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton found the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), which compensates victims of uninsured and untraced drivers, will avoid liability for any judgment made to the passenger, Janvier Tumusabeyezu, originally from Rwanda and now living in Dublin.

Festival lift

That liability will be borne by the driver, Daniel Muresan, originally from Romania and now working as a chef in Waterford, rather than the MIBI which was co-defendant with Mr Muresan in the case brought by Mr Tumusabeyezu.

The judge was satisfied Mr Tumusabeyezu knew Mr Muresan was uninsured when they left the "Body & Soul" concert at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, on the June 26th 2017 having both worked there as security men. The accident happened near the concert site when Mr Muresan lost control of the Mitsubishi Colt car on a bad bend and crashed into a ditch.

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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.

Mr Muresan, who bought and sold cars as a side-line even though he had neither a driving licence or insurance, admitted liability. He bought the Mitsubishi a couple of months before the accident with the intention of selling it on. It had no NCT, tax or insurance.

Prayer

Mr Muresan told the court he had driven Mr Tumusabeyezu, and two of his friends, to the concert to provide security. On that day, Mr Muresan had taken a call from his mother in Waterford and when it ended he got back into the car, said a prayer and blessed himself.

He said this provoked a laugh or snigger from Mr Tumusabeyezu or one of his friends. Mr Muresan reacted by saying he did not see what was so funny especially because he was taking all the risks on the journey, had no driver's licence, insurance or tax. Mr Tumusabeyezu and the two other passengers denied they were ever told he had no insurance.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton said there was a complete conflict of evidence in the case.

He was satisfied however that in all the circumstances of the case, and particularly Mr Muresan's evidence in relation to immediate post-accident events, was also substantially corroborated by a garda sergeant who arrived at the scene of the accident.

Belief in decline

He also considered it improbable that Mr Muresan would concoct a story about how he told them about being uninsured.

He said in a society where religious practice, not to mention belief, is in decline, it is less likely to be a matter of conjecture that saying a prayer and/or blessing oneself in the circumstances outlined might well provoke a reaction of the type he recounted.

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Mr Muresan was taking the risk of being stopped by gardai by travelling to the concert uninsured. This fortified the probability that the comment was made about the risks rather than being an invention from which Mr Muresan stood to derive no interest.

The court accepted Mr Muresan's evidence on this question and found, as a matter of probability, that before setting off for the concert he informed the passengers that he had no driving licence or insurance.

The judge adjourned the making of formal orders in the case.

 

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