Driver whose car ‘rolled nine metres’ into front of other vehicle loses rear-ending claim
Posted on 7th July 2020 at 22:05
A talented soccer player, who skippered his club team to silverware in a major amateur youth league final after telling his doctor he had been sidelined because of injuries he suffered in a rear-ending traffic accident, has lost a €60,000 damages claim in the Circuit Civil Court.
Lee Rogers (27), described as a “high level” footballer with St Kevin’s Soccer Club in Dublin, was also ordered to pay the legal costs of a woman he alleged had run into the back of his car while waiting to join a roundabout near Swords in November 2017.
Judge John O’Connor told Mr Rogers he had no hesitation in accepting the evidence of Tanya Ratcliffe, Casa Da Tanvor, Ballystrahan, St Margarets, Co Dublin, who told the court the soccer player and warehouse worker’s car had rolled back for almost nine metres into the front of her Mercedes Benz.
Mr Rogers, while being cross-examined by barrister Conor Kearney, counsel for Ms Ratcliffe and her husband’s company, Trevor Ratcliffe Deliveries, said he had been driving on a provisional licence without “L” plates and unaccompanied because he “needed to get home from work”.
The court heard he had told a garda following the accident at Loughran Roundabout, Swords, that at the time of the accident, on a wet, dark November evening, he had been accompanied by a co-worker who had been unable to wait at the scene and had left to continue his way home.
He told Mr Kearney, who appeared with Francis Gaughan of BLM Solicitors, he had bought his 2004 Ford car for €1,100 about a year before the accident and had been driving it to and from his work. He said he had been driving it for about five months following the accident before it had been parked up and stolen on him.
Mr Rogers said he had been sitting in his car at the roundabout when Ms Ratcliffe’s Mercedes had driven into the back of his car, injuring him. He denied his car had rolled backwards into her vehicle while they waited to join the roundabout.
Ms Ratcliffe told Mr Kearney she had been stopped about two car lengths from Mr Rogers’s car when it started rolling towards her. She said his car had been sitting with no lights and she had pumped her horn eight or nine times before it collided with her. The impact had been so slight she had suffered no injury.
She said that when she got out to speak to Mr Rogers, only seconds after the accident, he was sitting in his car “talking to his Ma” about the injuries he had received in the accident. She had called the Garda.
Mr Rogers claimed his car had been shunted forward by the Mercedes and he had suffered pain in his lower back area. The following day he had attended the medical centre at the Omni Park Shopping Centre, Santry, and had been assessed by a doctor.
It was felt he had suffered a soft tissue injury and had been prescribed anti-inflammatory tablets and gel and advised to remain active. He had been off work for two days. In a subsequent medical review, he had reported he enjoyed playing soccer three times a week before the accident but had been unable to resume his sporting activities.
Mr Kearney told him he had told a doctor he had been unable to resume football until December 2018 despite having played in the Leinster Senior League in February of that year and having captained his team in the winning final in March 2018.
Judge O’Connor, dismissing Mr Rogers’s claim, said the case all boiled down to credibility and he had no hesitation whatsoever in accepting Ms Ratcliffe’s version of events.
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