Surgeon tells court injuries in low-impact crashes are a ‘social disease’
A consultant orthopaedic surgeon has said people involved in low-impact accidents expected to have an injury whether they had one or not.
Garry Fenelon told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that in his view such “injuries” had become a social disease.
Mr Fenelon was giving evidence in a case involving young Peamount soccer star Lauren Keeler.
In awarding the 20-year-old €11,350 damages for back and neck injuries, Judge John O’Connor said he did not believe her injuries were still ongoing following the January 2016 accident when she was a sixth-year student.
He heard she was an up-and-coming and promising young footballer and had seen a video of her scoring a goal for her team shortly after the accident.
He was told she had undergone physiotherapy both before and after the match in which she had scored.
Judge O’Connor told Ms Keeler’s barrister, Mark J Byrne, that although the incident had been a very low-impact one, he was satisfied an accident had occurred and that Ms Keeler had been injured.
The court had been told that Ms Keeler, of Cleggan Avenue, Ballyfermot, Dublin, had been a front-seat passenger in her mother’s car on January 22, 2016, when it was rear-ended at Station Road, Clondalkin, Dublin.
Ms Keeler, who claimed her football training and playing had been put on hold for a period after the accident, had sued Axa-insured Mark Sheridan, the owner of the car that had rear-ended her.
She had undergone an MRI scan of her lumbar spine, which had proved normal, and had afterwards been treated by way of a lumbar spinal rehabilitation therapy programme comprised of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Judge O’Connor refused an application by counsel for Axa to dismiss Ms Keeler’s claim should the court consider that she had given false evidence.
The judge said he did not believe Ms Keeler had given false evidence to the court.
During the hearing, Mr Fenelon, who had been called by Axa to give evidence, said Ms Keeler had suffered a soft-tissue strain to her lower back in January 2016.
He said it was difficult to account for her claim that she still had ongoing symptoms almost three years after the accident.
Whatever ongoing complaints she might have were not in his view related to the 2016 road traffic accident, the court heard.
He said people involved in low-impact accidents expected to have an injury whether they had or had not. In his view, such “injuries” had become a social disease.