Thursday 18 January 2018

Judge: Woman seeking crash damages 'only used the crutch when attending a medical examination'

Aodhan O'Faolain

A WOMAN deliberately exaggerated the nature of her injuries she sustained in road accident, a judge said.

Mr Justice Michael Peart said housewife Adjoua Salako had "deliberately sought to mislead the High Court by attempting to get her medical experts to give false or misleading evidence to support an exaggerated claim by her."

He made his comments when he dismissed an action for damages by Ms Salako (aged 34) of Hayworth Mews, Ongar, Dublin 15.

She had sued Stephen O'Carroll of Huntstown Rise Blanchardstown Dublin 15 over the road traffic accident at Blanchardstown Corporate Car Park on October 2, 2008.

Ms Salako claimed the defendant had been negligent when his car struck the rear of of her car.

She claimed she suffered injuries to her head neck, jaw shoulder and lower back. As a result, she claimed her life was seriously diminished and was in constant pain.

The claims were denied and lawyers acting for the defendant's insurers, Liberty Insurance, sought to have the case struck out on grounds she had misled the court by giving evidence that was dishonest.

Ms Salako, a native of Togo, had denied misleading the court, and her lawyers had argued that inconsistencies in her evidence were due to factors including depression and stress in her life.

Following the ruling counsel for Ms Salako said that they intended to appeal. The case was heard over 10 days in the High Court.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Peart said that after considering all the evidence he could not absolve Ms Salako from the "accusation of deliberate exaggeration of her symptoms" by any claims that she is "suffering from depression or other psychological infirmity."

She claimed she had used a crutch intermittently due back problems caused by the accident.

Noting that video footage of Ms Salako taken by a private investigator on behalf of Mr O'Carroll's insurers, the judge said that she had only used the crutch when she was attending a medical examination arranged by insurers.

She was not using the crutch in video pictures taken the same morning when she exited her home and when she was out shopping.

Her own GP, the Judge also noted, was unaware that Ms Salako used a crutch on occasions. He was satisfied that the crutch was used to exaggerate her claim.

The Judge also noted that there were inconsistencies with Ms Salako's account of the accident and the account of the defendant and other relevant witnesses.

In all the circumstance he was dismissing her claim and was satisfied that by doing so she was suffering no injustice.

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