Bodybuilder withdraws injury claim due to Facebook images

A champion bodybuilder and fitness coach who claimed he has had difficulty pulling on his socks and lacing his shoes since a car accident last year, and who sued a motorist for €60,000 personal injury damages, dramatically withdrew his claim following video evidence.

Relu Gauca, aged 37, of Old Burrin, Carlow, told Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke he still has to ease himself out of soft low chairs because of ongoing lower back pain.

He told barrister Shane English, counsel for the insurers of David Naughton, Millford Park, Ballinabranna, Co Carlow, that despite continuing weight lifting and bodybuilding coaching in a local gym, he still suffered pain in his lower back.

When cross-examined by Mr English, who appeared with Hayes McGrath Solicitors, Mr Gauca denied lying to the court about the extent of his injuries.

He said that the neck and shoulder pains resolved about three months after his accident on January 30, 2016, on Dublin’s Infirmary Rd but that his lower back pain persists to this day.

Mr Gauca said he had to undergo a regime of stretches each night before going to bed and every morning when he rises to ease his pain, which radiated down his right leg. He still had a restricted range of movement regarding his lower back and found it difficult to pull on his socks or lace his shoes.

He said he had to undergo a series of physio sessions with MMA fighter Conor McGregor’s physiotherapist which had helped him but, “even now, in the witness box”, he felt pain in his lower back. Sitting and standing caused him problems and had led to him giving up a job in the security business.

When shown a number of images from his Facebook page and a video of him working out in a gym since the accident and participating in and presenting national bodybuilding shows as well as coaching activities, Mr Gauca said he was able to do so because of his stretching regime and in a way that protected his lower back.

Medical reports presented to the court revealed Mr Gauca had undergone an MRI scan which had shown degenerative changes in his lower spine resulting in a bulge of one of his vertebrae. He said he did not have this complaint before the crash.

Following oral and video evidence in court Judge Groarke said he accepted that Mr Gauca had received injuries to his neck and shoulders as confirmed by his medical team. However,

the doctors who had provided medical reports on behalf of the defendant had not seen the photographs and video evidence presented to the court and he felt that they should before the court was asked to assess the extent of the overall injuries and what figure of compensation he should award.

Mr Gauca’s claim was put back for completion in June following the Whit holiday which begins at the end of May but, after talks between the parties, Mr Gauca’s legal team went back into court just before lunch and withdrew his case.


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