Insurance company fined €300,000 over road tragedy seven years ago

Insurance company Generali has been ordered to pay a total of €300,000 to the families of six teenage victims who died in a horrific road traffic accident seven years ago.

The horror, which killed seven young girls aged between 17 and 19, took place in Penafiel in September, 2009.

The youngsters were all ‘celebrating’ the fact that they had passed the third year of their accountancy course, and were going out to lunch in a two-seater Renault Kangoo.

Two of the girls travelled in the front with seatbelts, while five piled into the back where there were no seats or seatbelts, but a space for cargo.

For reasons not explained, the Kangoo went out of control at a roundabout and collided with another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.

As an eye-witness said at the time: “It was horrible. Everything happened so fast, but they were seconds of terror. When I got out of the car, I didn’t dare look.”

Now, a case taken out by the parents of six of the seven victims has been upheld by Penafiel Court on the basis that Generali had a contract with the Institute of Professional Training where their daughters were studying, and that the accident occurred “because of a habitual journey to and from teaching”.

Generali’s defence that the accident was due to the “grave negligence” of the victims was thrown out by magistrates, on the basis that it was not proven that had the victims been travelling in proper seats with seatbelts they would have survived.

The parents of Fernanda Rocha, 19, Tânia Moreira, 18, Tânia Silva, 18, Carla Calisto, 17, Célia Santos 17 and Andreia Ventura, 18, will now all be receiving payments of €50,000, reports Correio da Manhã.

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