Saturday 17 August 2019

Van driver loses €60k damages claim over 'stiff neck'

Darren Byrne
Darren Byrne
Michelle Byrne

A van driver who told a court he still suffered stiffness in his neck four years after a minimal impact collision in a car park has lost a €60,000 claim for damages.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane told Darren Byrne in the Circuit Civil Court that she found the woman driver he sued for personal injuries to be "a more truthful witness".

The judge said the account of the incident as related by Michelle Byrne, who is no relation to the plaintiff, was more likely what had happened at Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Clondalkin, in November 2013.

Barrister Jennifer O'Connell, for Ms Byrne, of La Touche Road, Bluebell, told the court she had reversed out of a parking space when the plaintiff's Ford Transit van backed out of his space and hit her Nissan Note with its tow bar. He had ignored the beeping of her horn.

Ms O'Connell said there was "no damage whatsoever" to the van and only a dent to the rear-wheel arch of the Nissan.


Counsel told the court that Mr Byrne (36), of Greenfort Crescent, Clondalkin, was seen two days after the accident by emergency medicine consultant Dr Jean O'Sullivan at Tallaght Hospital. He was complaining of a soft tissue injury to his neck.

He was seen by Dr O'Sullivan a year later and was complaining of a stiff neck. He saw her again three years after the incident and was still complaining of stiffness in his neck.

Mr Byrne told Ms O'Connell that he still suffered neck stiffness, four years after the accident in which both parties accused the other of reversing into their vehicle.

Judge Linnane said Mr Byrne had claimed his van never moved before the Nissan struck his tow bar.

However, she said a picture Ms Byrne had taken on her phone showed the van had moved out of its parking space "and not just by a little bit".

Dismissing Mr Byrne's claim and awarding costs against him, the judge said: "I find Ms Byrne the more truthful witness."

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