A CITY man who cycled into a pothole in Ballybeg in 2014 was awarded €12,000 in Waterford Circuit Court last week.
Jason Waters (34) from Ardmore Terrace took an action against Waterford City and County Council over an incident, which happened outside his house on September 9, 2014.
Mr Waters told the court that he was cycling home on his pushbike when he saw Owen Byard a friend he “hadn’t seen in a long time”. He said he then waved at his friend but “doesn’t remember much after that”.
Mr Waters went on to say that he remembered getting carried into his house and then getting sick in the bathroom. He didn’t immediately seek medical attention but he “felt a tweak” in his back the following day so he went to Caredoc, where he was prescribed pain relief. He said he was also referred to a physiotherapist, whom he visited once.
Mr Waters said that he had never noticed the pothole before until he cycled into it and went “head over heels”.
Counsel for Waterford City and County Council, Mr Mark Walsh, questioned the extent of Mr Waters’ injuries and told the court that he never told the GPs he visited that he had become ill or lost consciousness. Mr Walsh told the court there was no record of any bruises in Mr Waters’ clinical notes and that the last time he sought medical help was “20 days after the accident”. Mr Waters said that he “wasn’t one for going to the doctor”.
Mr Walsh outlined a number of incidents to the court where Mr Waters had to attend a GP, including an injury to his neck from a baseball bat, cuts to his hand after grabbing a knife that was intended to stab him, and multiple injuries to his right knee after an assault.
“It’s evident that when you went to the doctor in June 2015, you attempted to attribute a right knee pain to a fall from your bicycle in 2014,” Mr Walsh said.
“However, according to your clinical notes you had two separate knee injuries, one in January 2015 and one in December 2013, which would suggest that you’re trying to exaggerate a right knee problem which had occurred in two completely unrelated incidents.”
Mr Waters said that “that wasn’t right”, and said that he wanted to get his right knee checked because he “didn’t know what (had) happened to it.”
Mr Waters’ friend, Owen Byard testified that on the day of the accident he saw him giving him a salute and then “went head over heels”.
Another witness, Daniel Scott, said that he “knew of Mr Waters” but they “were not friends”. He said that he was outside his house on Ardmore Terrace when he saw Mr Waters passing and all of a sudden he went “over the handlebars”. He said that he “fell hard” and “went in and out of consciousness”.
Judge Kathryn Hutton said that she accepted the plaintiff’s version of events and was satisfied that he received soft tissue damage to his back.
She said that there were “inconsistencies which can’t be explained” due to the plaintiff’s frequent recourse to medical treatment.
She considered an amount of €16,000 in damages because of the injuries received but reduced that to €12,000 for contributory negligence because Mr Waters should have been looking where he was going.