Woman’s ‘opportunistic’ €60,000 personal injuries claim thrown out

A 51-year-old Malahide, Co Dublin, woman, whose €60,000 personal injuries claim has been thrown out in the Circuit Civil Court, was described as “opportunistic” by the judge.

Judge James O’Donohoe heard that Lesley Duffy, of Seabury Glen, Malahide, had been involved in what was described by defence barrister Veronica McInerney as a “minor, low-speed, minimal impact collision.”

Duffy said it seemed like a bus had struck the rear of her car and she had suffered a soft tissue injury to her cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine and had a reduced range of movements in her sacral and cervical spine.

In cross-examination she told Ms McInerney, who appeared with Crowley Millar Solicitors for the defendant Christina Dowling and her insurer Allianz, that she had a car accident in 2013 in which she had been later awarded damages of €40,000.

Duffy told the court that on 9th October, 2018 she had been exiting a car park on Ushers Quay, Dublin, and had been rear ended by another car driven by Christina Dowling of The Grove, Milltree Park, Ratoath, Co Meath.

Dowling said in evidence that she had been travelling at four kilometres an hour at the time, got out of her car and apologised and was shocked when she had been sued by Duffy.

Duffy told Judge O’Donohue she had attended her GP, Dr Enda Casey, Donaghmede Shopping Centre, Donaghmede Road, Dublin, nine days after the accident and he had prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxant and pain killers.

He had also recommended exercises and that she undergo physiotherapy treatment and she had attended Ms Mehnaaz Chan, Swords Physiotherapy, Chapel Lane, Swords Demesne, Swords, on several occasions.

The court heard expert evidence that if Dowling’s car had been travelling at only four kilometres an hour it would have been highly unlikely for Duffy to have suffered the injuries, or extent of injuries, she had complained of.

She told Judge O’Donohoe her sister had been in the car with her at the time of the accident but had not been injured and was not in court.

Ms McInerney, who produced covert video coverage of Duffy walking allegedly without difficulty along the Hill of Howth, denied, in a full and detailed defence of her personal injuries claim, that she could have suffered the injuries she complained of in such a low impact collision.

The court heard from an engineer that while there was no obvious exterior damage to the rear bumper of Duffy’s 2008 Renault Megane support bars behind the bumper had been damaged. Duffy said she had received a repair estimate of €677.60 from Statewide Towing, Main Street, Rush, Co Dublin, but did not have her car repaired.

Judge O’Donohoe, dismissing Duffy’s claim, said she appeared to be very agile in the video of her walk along the Hill of Howth. He said the impact had been a minimal one and he felt she was opportunistic and awarded costs against her.

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