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Monday 17 June 2019

Backbench TD does himself no favours taking compensation claim for a 'very minor' injury

Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell
Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Predictably, there has been a backlash against the whiplash claim made by Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell. The Dublin Fingal politician was awarded €2,500 in damages following a collision with a rental van that left him with "very minor" injuries, according to the judge.

The taking of the case raises serious questions about Mr Farrell's judgment, given the insurance crisis being faced by motorists, businesses and charities, and Mr Farrell's previous comments condemning the "compo culture" in this country. That explains why many people on social media were quick to question his wisdom.

The TD alleged he suffered neck and shoulder issues that affected him for up to 18 months following the accident in Drumcondra, Dublin, on April 9, 2015. The Public Accounts Committee member sued for €15,000.

The accident occurred when a woman in a Hertz rental van took her foot off the brake when a spider ran across her arm, frightening her while driving and causing her vehicle to roll into the back of his Audi.

Giving evidence to Dublin District Court, the Fine Gael TD told how he was left in pain after being "shunted" as he sat in traffic in his Audi A6. The court was told the driver behind him was at a standstill in traffic when a spider ran across her arm, causing her to panic and take her foot off the brake. Her vehicle then "rolled into" Mr Farrell's car.

In his summons, the TD said he experienced difficulty for six months following the accident, claimed he had to reduce his activities for up to 14 months afterwards, and suffered occasional spasms.

The case was heard before Judge Michael Coghlan who said there were "slightly unusual" aspects to it, including the fact a claim for damages to his car was dropped, according to coverage in 'The Sun' newspaper.

The judge said: "There is little or no notation to back up a claim of significant whiplash." During proceedings, a photograph was shown of Mr Farrell at the top of a ladder with his hands on an election poster, taken four months after the accident. Mr Farrell said the photo was staged.

It is understood that Hertz will have to pay legal costs, estimated at €10,000. Mr Farrell did not return calls, and Fine Gael said it was not commenting.

He has in the past complained about rising insurance costs, and said it was "obscene" that children are being stopped from exercising in some schools due to concerns about insurance.

Mr Farrell would not need to make those kinds of comments if he and others avoided taking cases for "very minor" injuries.

Sunday Indo Business

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