A judge has thrown a car crash compensation claim from court after Facebook photos revealed the plaintiff to be deceitful.
Rita Milinovic (29) of Citywest, Dublin, was involved in a minor collision with another car in a car park in April 2014. The other driver was found to be at fault. Despite the accident not being a serious one, Rita claimed that it caused her to suffer from a back injury that prevented her from returning to her job as a waitress, as she had difficulty carrying objects for prolonged periods of time.
Rita sought legal counsel, and made a claim for €60,000 in compensation against Paul Ferris (the driver of the van) and his employer-O'Dwyer Property Management Limited. The defendants contested the value of the compensation, and due to this dispute, the case was brought to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.
Rita winced in the witness stand as she gave a testimony as to how the accident had negatively affected her quality of life and disrupted her ability to make a living. However, the case collapsed before her when the defendants presented photographs they had taken from Rita's Facebook page to the court.
The photographs included Rita doing various physically demanding activities, such as working out in a gym in Dublin or at the top of Bray Head a mere six weeks after her accident. The barristers representing the defendants suggested that Rita's claim for car crash in a car park compensation was a lie from start to finish.
Judge Groarke accepted that the photographs of Rita competing in a body sculptor competition would not have required much physical effort, but those of her in the gym depicted a scenario "which somebody with a bad back would certainly not be engaging in." The judge added: "Trying to be as politically correct as one can be in this situation, it doesn't look like a person with such a fine physical physique as Ms Milinovic could have been suffering a great deal of pain."
The judge further commented that the law demands that people come to court in total honesty and while Rita may have sustained some injury from the car park incident, she had certainly been deceitful in court. The judge dismissed Rita´s injury claim for a crash in a car park and ordered that she pay the defendants legal fees and court costs.