Thursday 27 April 2017

Van driver who still suffers neck stiffness four years after minimal impact crash loses €60k claim

Pictured: Darren Byrne and Michelle Byrne pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action Photo: Collins Courts
Pictured: Darren Byrne and Michelle Byrne pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action Photo: Collins Courts
Liffey Valley Shopping Centre Picture: Frank McGrath

Ray Managh

A 36-year-old van driver, who told a court Wednesday that he still suffered neck stiffness four years after a minimal impact collision in a car park, has lost a €60,000 claim for damages.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane told Darren Byrne in the Circuit Civil Court that she found the female driver he sued for personal injuries to be “a more truthful witness.”

The judge said the account of the incident as related by defendant Michelle Byrne, no relation of the plaintiff, was more likely what had happened in the car park at Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Clondalkin, Co Dublin, in November 2013.

Barrister Jennifer O’Connell, counsel for Ms Byrne, of La Touche road, Bluebell, Dublin, told the court she had just reversed out of a parking space when the plaintiff’s Ford Transit van backed out of his space and struck her Nissan Note with his tow bar. He had ignored the beeping of her horn.

Ms O’Connell, who appeared with Lacy Walsh Solicitors, said there was “no damage whatsoever” to the van and only a dent to the rear wheel arch of the Nissan.

Counsel told the court Mr Byrne, of Greenfort Crescent, Clondalkin, had been seen two days after the accident by Dr Jean O’Sullivan, emergency medicine consultant at Tallaght Hospital.  He was complaining of a soft tissue injury to his neck.

He was seen by Dr O’Sullivan a year later and was complaining of a stiff neck.  He saw her again three years after the incident and was still complaining of stiffness in his neck.

Mr Byrne told Ms O’Connell he still suffered neck stiffness now four years after the incident in which both parties accused the other of reversing into their vehicle.

Judge Linnane said Mr Byrne had claimed his van never moved before the Nissan Note struck his tow bar.  She said photographs of the damage to Ms Byrne’s car were not consistent with Mr Byrne’s account of what had occurred.

The judge said a picture Ms Byrne had taken on her phone clearly showed that the van had moved out of its parking space “and not just by a little bit”.

Dismissing Mr Byrne’s claim and awarding costs against him, Judge Linnane said she preferred Ms Byrne’s account of what had happened.

“I find Ms Byrne the more truthful witness,” she said.

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