NCT worker suing car owner and firm over bonnet collapse
A NATIONAL Car Test (NCT) mechanic is in constant pain from injuries received when the bonnet of a car fell on him due to defective upright supports, the High Court heard.
Charles Coogan (30) of Brackenwood Drive, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, has brought proceedings against the owner of the car, Dermot Delaney, of Riverwood Place, Castleknock, Dublin 15, and his employers, the NCT Service Ltd. The defendants deny the claim.
Mr Coogan told the court that on June 17, 2008, he was testing the car at the NCT centre in Ballymun, Dublin, when the bonnet collapsed on him without warning.
Inspection of bonnet struts did not form part of the test and it was common practice that broom handles were used to keep bonnets upright when these supports were not fit for use, the court heard.
Mr Coogan provided photographs of more than half a dozen different makes of cars which had this defect and he said mops and broom handles were used at the centre to deal with this problem.
He subsequently bought a bonnet support from a motor shop for just under €10 and had informed his employers of this.
Mr Coogan said that as a result of the accident he had suffered neck and back injuries.
Driving home from work that evening the pain in his neck was "killing" him.
Initially he had been out of work for about five weeks but when the headaches and back pain continued over the following weeks he had to take roughly three months off work altogether.
He was still on pain killers up to the present and three and a half years after the accident his personality had changed and he was constantly in pain with only a slight improvement.
In reply to Mr Liam Reidy, for NCT, Mr Coogan said he came in contact with defective struts about twice a week at least.
At the time of the accident he had been under the bonnet for about three minutes when it collapsed on him. After this happened he had lifted the bonnet off himself and put a stick under it.
He denied he might have struck the strut while working under the bonnet, causing the bonnet to fall.
Cross examined by Mr Finbar Fox, for Mr Delaney, the plaintiff insisted that Mr Delaney (the car owner) had told him afterwards that the bonnet had collapsed before. Counsel said his client rejected this allegation.
Mr Fox said Mr Delaney was a school principal and had bought the car new in 2004. He had it serviced regularly and had it serviced just prior to the NCT test. In addition, he had experienced no difficulty in opening the bonnet.
The hearing continues.