An award-winning balloon artist, who suffered whiplash and lower back injuries in a rear-ending crash, has been awarded more than €22,500 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Raquel Reynolds, aged 48, a native of Columbia who has been living in Ireland for the past 13 years, told Judge John Hannan her car had been rear-ended while stationary at traffic lights in Santry, Dublin, just under two years ago.

Justin McQuade, counsel for mother of two Ms Reynolds, said the former trained accountant had won an award for balloon art, which she now specialises in, at an international convention in Denver, Colerado, two years ago.

Mr McQuade, who appeared with Hussey Fraser Solicitors, told Judge Hannan that Ms Reynolds, of St Bridget’s Road, Artane, Dublin 5, had been removed in a head brace and on a spinal board from her car in July 2014.

He said her work as a balloon artist, for which she employs two part-time assistants, was affected by injuries to her neck, left hand, and lower back.

She still complained of pain to her lower back.

Mr McQuade said his client had been recalled to the emergency department of Beaumont Hospital for exploratory x-ray examination following continued pain in her back but no acute bony injury had been found.

Insurers for the other motorist and defendant Rachel Marrinan, Rialto Drive, Rialto, Dublin, had conceded liability and Judge Hannan had been asked to assess damages for personal injury.

The judge said €2,500 of damage to the rear of Ms Reynolds’ car was indicative of the force of the impact. That bill had already been met by Ms Marrinan’s insurers.

“Balloon art is a very important part of her life and it is clear there is a significant amount of manual dexterity required in relation to that work,” Judge Hannan said.

“I have seen evidence on her iPhone of her beautiful artwork, which requires a high degree of physical mobility.”

He awarded Ms Reynolds damages of €22,546 and, on indication of a possible appeal against the amount, directed the defendant’s insurers to make a pay-out of €17,500 with costs.


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