NCT tester loses claim after bonnet fell on him
INJURY: Mechanic sued car owner
A NATIONAL Car Test (NCT) mechanic has lost a High Court claim for damages after the bonnet of a car fell on him due to allegedly defective upright supports.
Charles Coogan (30) of Brackenwood Drive, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, sued the owner of the car, Dermot Delaney, a teacher, of Riverwood Place, Castleknock, Dublin 15, and his employers, the NCT Service Ltd.
They denied the claim and argued his injuries were caused or contributed by his failure to take adequate precautions for his own safety.
The court was told the accident occurred on June 17, 2008, about three minutes after Mr Coogan had raised the bonnet of the Seat Ibiza at the NCT Unit, Ballymun, Dublin.
It was contended a bonnet support device should have been provided to him and other mechanics by the NCT centre.
Mr Justice John Quirke ruled that no duty rested upon the NCT in 2008 to provide Mr Coogan or any of the experienced mechanics working as testers with bonnet support devices.
No evidence had been provided suggesting that such a device bought by Mr Coogan after the accident was, or is, considered reasonably necessary for experienced mechanics in this country or within comparable jurisdictions, the judge said.
Evidence had been given that the practice of using broom handles and other similar wooden poles for holding up bonnets was considered reasonable and adequate in 2008, he said.
The judge said the claim of negligence against the owner of the car was confined to the allegation that he was aware the bonnet support was faulty and that he (owner) failed to notify the Mr Coogan or the NCT of this before putting his car in for the test.
Since Mr Coogan, a qualified mechanic, failed to notice any fault, it was unsurprising that the owner, who is a schoolteacher, did not detect any cause for concern either, the judge added.
He dismissed the claim. During the hearing, the judge was told 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.
As a result of the accident, Mr Coogan said he suffered neck and back injuries and had to take roughly three months off work. He was still on painkillers and three-and-a-half years after the accident, he said.