Unaccompanied learner driver has €60,000 injury claim thrown out

Gita Aldermane (47) ordered to pay insurance firm’s costs in case over Santry collision

A learner driver, who admitted knowing she was breaking the law by driving unaccompanied when involved in a crash, has had a €60,000 personal injuries claim thrown out. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

A learner driver, who admitted knowing she was breaking the law by driving unaccompanied when involved in a crash, has had a €60,000 personal injuries claim thrown out. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A learner driver, who admitted knowing she was breaking the law by driving unaccompanied when involved in a crash, has had a €60,000 personal injuries claim thrown out and been ordered to pay an insurance company’s legal costs.

Gita Aldermane (47) told defence counsel John Martin she was driving illegally on an ‘L’ plate without the supervision of a qualified licence holder when her car crashed on the Santry flyover across the M1 in Dublin in November 2017.

“I know what I was doing was unlawful,” Ms Aldermane, of College View, Ballymun Road, Dublin, told Mr Martin, who appeared with Hayes McGrath Solicitors for RSA Insurance and its insured driver, Aoife Farmer, of Iona Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

Ms Aldermane, a homemaker and mother of three, denied in the Circuit Court that she was driving negligently when her car collided with Ms Farmer’s vehicle. She told Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin she suffered injuries to her upper and lower back in the collision, but under cross-examination by Mr Martin she said she had suffered with back pain prior to the 2017 accident.

No suggestion

Judge Ó Donnabháin said none of the medical reports handed into court by the parties suggested Ms Aldermane suffered a serious spinal injury in the crash. She was off work for a month.

She told Mr Martin she was in shock after the collision and did not attend her doctor for a number of days, at which point she had “stiffened up”. She agreed that an MRI scan revealed she had degenerative changes in her spine and was born with a hip complaint that still caused her pain.

Ms Aldermane agreed with Mr Martin that while working as a shop assistant before the car collision she had “fallen at speed” at her place of employment.

Ms Farmer told the court her car was stationary on the flyover when Ms Aldermane’s vehicle veered in her direction. Her first reaction to her front-seat passenger was to say, “Oh my God, she is going to hit us”.

Judge Ó Donnabháin, dismissing Ms Aldermane’s claim and awarding costs against her, said the court accepted the cause of the accident was Ms Aldermane’s driving.