Go-kart driver's €60k sore backside case gets bum's rush from judge
A 26-year-old beautician who injured her buttocks and tailbone when she was catapulted from a go-kart has lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim against Kylemore Karting.
Polish national Alicia Mikielewska, who has been in Ireland since she was 18 and owns a beauty salon in Portlaoise, told Judge Terence O'Sullivan in the Circuit Civil Court that she was flung out of the kart when it hit a barrier.
Friends thought she was dead, she said.
Ms Mikielewska, of Mell Street, Kilminchy, Portlaoise, Co Laois, said her helmet had gone one way and a shoe another as she was catapulted on to the Kylemore Karting track at the Kylemore Industrial Estate, Killeen Road, Dublin.
Barrister Peter O'Brien, for Grovepark Services Limited, which trades as Kylemore Karting, told the court that a full defence had been entered to Ms Mikielewska's claims and negligence was denied.
Ms Mikielewska said that her go-kart had been struck by another on the finishing straight as the driver tried to undertake her, spinning her into a barrier.
She said she sustained a significant impact to her buttocks and tailbone and suffered soft tissue injuries which, for two weeks, had made it difficult for her to sit down because of the pain.
She had also complained of pain in the mid-thoracic region of her spine.
Ms Mikielewska told Mr O'Brien that she had undergone an X-ray examination which showed some underlying scoliosis which, in itself, could cause pain.
Her pain was consistent with the type of accident that had happened.
She agreed she had been given a helmet, racing suit and driving gloves, all of which she wore, and had watched a seven-minute safety video about go-karting.
She told Mr O'Brien she had go-karted on several occasions before her accident, and on each occasion the video highlighting the risks and dangers of the activity had been shown.
She was treated at Naas General Hospital and was told to take over-the-counter analgesics and anti-inflammatories. She had also undergone physiotherapy.
Cross-examined by Mr O'Brien, she said she had made three previous damage claims against insurance companies, all of which had been settled for undisclosed amounts.
She said that in the previous accidents she had been a passenger in cars driven by others.
Judge O'Sullivan said there were certain risks and dangers attached to go-karting. Ms Mikielewska had participated in the sport on several previous occasions and he was satisfied she was aware of those risks.
She had been catapulted from the kart which, the court had been told, had not contained seat belts for specific safety reasons.
An expert appearing on behalf of Kylemore Karting said the go-kart was treated like a motorbike or quad bike and that it was safer for a driver to be thrown clear rather than be strapped into the vehicle.
Dismissing Ms Mikielewska's claim, Judge O'Sullivan said she had failed to show negligence on the part of Kylemore Karting, but he found her a genuine plaintiff and refused to grant an order for costs against her.