Facebook pictures end €60k claim for personal injuries

Facebook pictures posted online by “a very fine human specimen of fitness,” demolished a woman’s €60,000 damages claim in the Circuit Civil Court for personal injuries.

A 29-year-old waitress was told by a judge that she had not been honest with the court in a case that highlighted the dangers of what some people depict and say about themselves on the social networking website.

Rita Milinovic, a Lithuanian who has been living in Ireland for almost 10 years, “winced in agony” in the witness box as she related how her life had been dramatically changed by what was described as a minor collision in a car park.

Her case collapsed when barrister Shane English brought her through a collection of pictures which the stunning beauty had posted of herself on Facebook since the accident.

She was unaware that Mr English and Newmans Allianz solicitors, the legal team acting for defending van driver Paul Ferris and O’Dwyer Property Management Limited, had downloaded them from her Facebook page.

They included a picture of her after having climbed to the top of Bray Head as well as bikini-clad shots of her posing at international body sculpture competitions and others exercising in a gym since the accident.

Ms Milinovic, of Belfry Hall, Citywest, Dublin, told the court she had been driving her boyfriend’s car on April 5 last year, looking for a space in a car park, when Ferris, a driver for O’Dwyer Property Management, Sandyford Industrial Estate, had reversed into her.

She claimed she had suffered severe personal injuries and had to give up her waitressing work for six months before having to abandon her work altogether because she had been in such pain she could not even carry plates.

When Mr English asked the court to dismiss her case before any further evidence was allowed, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, said the case was “worrying.”

“Trying to be as politically correct as one can be in this situation it does not look like a person with such a fine physical physique as Ms Milinovic has could have been suffering a great deal of pain,” the judge said.

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