A former bin company worker has withdrawn his High Court action seeking €350,000 in lost earnings due to injuries he allegedly sustained when the refuse truck he was a passenger in drove over a speed ramp.
Krysztof Owsianka, 48, brought a case against the operator of Panda Waste claiming he has been prevented from returning to work due to neck and spinal injuries suffered after being thrust upwards from his seat and hitting his head off a structure on the vehicle’s roof.
The case was heard over two days in the High Court.
When it returned on Thursday Mr Justice Garrett Simons was informed it was being withdrawn. Mr Owsianka’s counsel said the case could be struck out with no order made as to legal costs.
Mr Owsianka’s claims were denied by the defendant, Nurendale Unlimited Company, trading as Panda, which has offices at Beauparc Business Park, Navan, Co Meath,
The former binman alleged that the refuse lorry was travelling at about 50km/h when it went over a ramp on Hanover Quay, in Dublin’s city centre, at about midnight on October 11, 2016. The driver, he claimed, was distracted by a video on his phone at the time.
Previously, the court heard Mr Owsianka, with addresses in Poland and at Monastery Gate Villas, Clondalkin, has not been employed since the incident nearly six years ago, apart from for one month in 2019, which he said was to test if he was fit to return to work.
The father-of-one said he lives primarily in Poland at present as therapies are cheaper there. He said he has spent about €16,000 on various treatments for his injuries and receives just over €200 per week from the Irish authorities in the form of the invalidity pension.
Tom Hogan SC, instructed by solicitor Rory Muldowney, for Nurendale, put it to him on Wednesday that any degenerative changes in his spine between two MRI scans, in 2016 and 2017, were from “wear and tear” and had been symptomatic prior to the alleged incident.
This was denied by Mr Owsianka, who said he had never had any issues with his lumbar spine prior to the disputed event.
Describing the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident, Mr Owsianka, through a Polish interpreter, said he was “motionless” on the vehicle’s floor in “very very severe pain”. An ambulance brought him to St Vincent’s Hospital.
Mr Hogan said the driver of the vehicle would tell the court he was not distracted on his phone and was driving at between 10km/h and 15km/h, to which Mr Owsianka suggested should be proven by presenting data from the driver’s speed recording device.
Counsel said the driver would also say the plaintiff “simply threw” himself onto the floor of the truck and didn’t hit his head. The driver would further say he thought Mr Owsianka was “joking” when he would not get off the floor and kept “screaming” about his back following the alleged incident, the court heard.
Mr Owsianka said such an account was not true and his medical records prove otherwise.
Among Mr Owsianka’s claims is that the refuse truck was driven at speed over a ramp owing to the negligence and breach of duty of Nurendale, its servants or agents.
All of the allegations were denied.
Striking out the action, Mr Justice Simons thanked the lawyers for their work in what he said was a “difficult” case.