herald

Monday 25 September 2017

Bodybuilder abandons €60k claim after court sees his workout video

Relu Gauca
Relu Gauca

A champion bodybuilder and fitness coach who claimed he had difficulty pulling on his socks and lacing his shoes after a car accident last year withdrew his €60,000 personal injury claim against a motorist following video evidence.

Relu Gauca (37), of Old Burrin, Carlow, told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke yesterday that he still has to ease himself out of soft, low chairs because of ongoing pain in his lower back.

He told barrister Shane English that, despite continuing weightlifting and bodybuilding coaching in a local gym, he still suffers pain in his lower back.

When cross-examined by Mr English, Gauca denied lying to the court about the extent of his injuries.

He said neck and shoulder pains resolved about three months after his accident on Dublin's Infirmary Road on January 30 last year, but his lower back pain persists.

Gauca said he had to undergo a regime of stretches each night before going to bed and every morning to ease his pain, which radiated down his right leg.

He still had a restricted range of movement regarding his lower back and found it difficult to pull on his socks or lace his shoes.

He told the court he had to undergo a series of sessions with Conor McGregor's physiotherapist, which had helped him, but "even now in the witness box" he felt pain in his lower back.

Sitting and standing caused him problems and had led to him giving up a job in the security business.

When shown a number of photographic grabs from his Facebook posts and videos of him working out in a gym and participating in national bodybuilding shows, Gauca said he was able to do so because of his stretching regime.

Degenerative

Medical reports revealed he had undergone an MRI scan, which had shown degenerative changes in his lower spine resulting in a bulge of one of his vertebrae.

He said he never had this complaint before the accident.

The judge had been told that liability was conceded in the case, which had become an assessment of damages for injuries suffered in the crash, which happened when a friend's car - in which Gauca was a passenger - rear-ended another vehicle.

He said he had been thrown forwards and immediately felt pain in his lower back.

He had been taken by ambulance and treated at the Mater Hospital.

The judge said he accepted that Gauca had received injuries to his neck and shoulders, as confirmed by his medical team.

However, he was being asked to make a medical finding with regard to Gauca's lower back injury and its association with his continuing gym training.

The judge said the doctors who had provided medical reports on behalf of the defendant had not seen the photos and video evidence presented to the court, and he felt that they should before the court was asked to assess the extent of the overall injuries.

Gauca's claim was put back for completion next month, but following talks between the parties his legal team went back into court just before lunch and withdrew his case with no further order.

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