Wednesday, 31 March, 2010
Ms Justice Mary Irvine has dismissed a personal injury claim by a student because he “deliberately misled” the court. He was lucky that she just dismissed the claim and did not inflict additional punishment. Alan Danagher, a student aged 22 from County Laois, was claiming against the owners of Mr O’s Nightclub in Templemore, County Tipperary, for assault on December 26th, 2005.
Mr. Danagher claimed that he was knocked to the ground by two third-party individuals and then assaulted while being forcefully removed from the premises by nightclub staff.
There was no doubt that he sustained some level of injuries when hitting his head on the ground and he was injured in a public place with witnesses. There appeared to be questions about contributory negligence and the level of injuries sustained.
There were a number of factors that indicate that Mr. Danagher was going to receive substantial compensation for his level of injuries:
- He attended his GP doctor 50 times, indicating extremely severe problems
- He attended physiotherapy 70 times, indicating a sustained injury problem
- His claim was very well prepared, including both physical and psychological injuries
- The impact on his lifestyle was documented, including being unable to play sports or participate in certain social activities and dropping out of Waterford Institute of Technology due to depression.
However, Mr. Danagher’s case was damaged by his own actions:
- He updated his Facebook page to show his continued sporting activities, including hurling, rugby, and football.
- He also updated his Facebook page to show social activities, as Ms Justice Irvine described as his “apparent enthusiasm for nightclubs, dancing and drinking”.
- He denied participation in a charity parachute jump six months after he sustained his injury, despite photographic evidence, which Ms Justice Irvine described as “an act of dishonesty done to advance his claim”.
A personal injury case is helped if you seek medical attention whenever it is required and damaged by not receiving medical attention when you do actually need medical help. But while the medical records of repeated medical treatments will certainly help build the case for the severity of an injury and therefore the amount of financial compensation, excessive visits for relatively minor injuries will not fool an experienced judge. And there are no inexperienced judges.
Be well-prepared for court and ensure you have all your facts correct. Never under any circumstances try to mislead the court.