A case for back injury compensation has been dismissed from court after the defendants produced evidence in the form of Facebook photos.
In April 2014, Rita Milinovic (29) of Citywest, Dublin, was searching for a car parking space when a van reversed into her. Rita claimed that she had suffered from a back injury that prevented her from working as a waitress for six months following the incident, despite the fact it was described as a “minor collision”.
Ms Milinovic made a claim compensation of €60,000 for the back injury that she sustained against the van driver-Paul Ferris-and his employer-O’Dwyer Property Management Limited. The defendants contested the value of the claim, and as no agreement was reached, the case was brought to the Circuit Civil Court.
The case was heard by Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. When brought to the witness stand, Rita winced as she recounted the extent of the injury that she had suffered. However, when the defendant’s legal team presented photos that they had obtained from Rita’s Facebook page to the court, her case quickly collapsed.
The pictures presented to the court included images of Rita at the top of Bray Head, with the photo dating to six weeks after the incident in the car park. The pictures also showed Rita working out in a gym, and Rita competing at an international body sculptor competition. The barristers informed the court that Rita’s claim for a back injury in a car park was entirely a lie.
Judge Groarke said: “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”. He accepted that some of the pictures may have taken at photo-shoots, but others showed her doing physical exercises “which somebody with a bad back would certainly not be engaging in”.
Rita’s claim for compensation for back injury was dismissed. The judge made an order for costs against her, and in summing up, he commented that while Rita may have suffered some degree of injury, the law demanded that people came to court in total honest. The failure to do so would attract the penalty of dismissal.