Judge dismisses claim for whiplash after ‘very minor impact’

Pensioner says she was shocked when other driver claimed for personal injuries

Judge John O’Connor awarded costs against James Gantley after finding that he had failed to prove his claim for €60,000.

Judge John O’Connor awarded costs against James Gantley after finding that he had failed to prove his claim for €60,000.

 

A judge has accepted the evidence of a 73-year-old Dublin woman who told him she could not believe the extent of injuries a fellow shopper claimed he suffered in a bump between their cars in a shopping mall car park.

Judge John O’Connor in the Circuit Civil court told James Gantley, of Sundrive Road, Dublin, he had failed to prove his €60,000 claim against pensioner Rita Malone and threw it out with costs against him.

Gantley, described as a 6ft 3in fifteen stones muscular man, alleged he had suffered whiplash injuries while sitting in his car at Aldi’s carpark on the Longmile Road, Dublin, two years ago when Malone’s Nissan Micra struck the back of his Toyota Avensis.

He said he had been thrown forward in his car which had had also been shunted forward in the incident. He had afterwards been treated for pain relating to injuries in his neck, shoulders and lower back.

He told Conor Kearney, counsel for Ms Malone and Aviva, her insurance company, that the bumpers on both their vehicles had been damaged in the collision as Ms Malone sought to park her car beside his.

Malone, of Innismore, Crumlin Village, Dublin, admitted she had collided with the rear of Gantley’s car as she misjudged a turn into a parking space alongside him but described it as only a bump.

“I felt nothing in the impact,” she told Judge O’Connor. “I would not have thought that bump could have caused the injuries he claims.”

Ms Malone told Mr Kearney, who appeared with Pádraig Ó Mairtín of Ennis Solicitors, that she had undertaken to pay for repairs and Mr Gantley had told her he would get a good quote for her. He had not come back to her about it and she was shocked when he had made a claim for personal injuries.

Judge O’Connor, dismissing Gantley’s claim and awarding costs against him, said: “This was a very minor impact which happens every day of the week in car parks.”

The court heard that insurance companies write off damaged cars when it would take more than the value of the vehicle to repair it. Gantley had received €1,600 for a replacement car.