Ex-garbage collector withdraws €350,000 claim against Panda Waste

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A former worker at a rubbish collection company has withdrawn his action in the High Court claiming €350,000 in lost profits due to injuries he allegedly suffered when the refuse lorry he was a passenger in rolled over a speed ramp.

Krysztof Owsianka, 48, has filed a lawsuit against the Panda Waste operator, claiming he was prevented from returning to work due to neck and spinal injuries sustained after being pushed up his seat and hitting his head against a structure on the roof of the vehicle.

The case was heard over two days in the High Court. When he returned Thursday, Judge Garrett Simons was told he was retired. Mr Owsianka’s lawyer said the case could be struck out without any order being made as to court costs.

Mr Owsianka’s claims were rejected by the defendant, Nurendale Unlimited Company, which has offices in Beauparc Business Park, Navan, Co. Meath.

The former garbage collector alleged the garbage truck was traveling at around 50mph when it came over a ramp on Hanover Quay in Dublin city center around midnight on October 11, 2016. The driver, said he claimed, was distracted by a video on his phone at the time.

Earlier the court heard Mr Owsianka, with addresses in Poland and at Monastery Gate Villas, Clondalkin, has not been employed since the incident nearly six years ago, apart from a month in 2019, which he said was to test whether he was fit. to return to work.

The father-of-one said he currently lives mainly in Poland because therapies are cheaper there. He said he spent around €16,000 on various treatments for his injuries and received just over €200 a week from the Irish authorities in the form of a disability pension.

Tom Hogan SC, appointed by lawyer Rory Muldowney, for Nurendale, told him on Wednesday that any degenerative changes in his spine between MRIs, in 2016 and 2017, were due to “wear and tear” and had been symptomatic before the alleged incident.

This was denied by Mr Owsianka, who said he had never had problems with his lumbar spine before the disputed event.

Describing the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident, Mr Owsianka, through a Polish interpreter, said he was “immobile” on the floor of the vehicle in “very, very severe pain”. An ambulance took him to St Vincent’s Hospital.

Mr Hogan said the driver of the vehicle would tell the court that he was not distracted on his phone and that he was driving between 10 km/h and 15 km/h, which Mr Owsianka suggested to prove by presenting data from the driver’s speed recorder.

The attorney said the driver also allegedly said the plaintiff “just threw himself” onto the floor of the truck and did not hit his head. The driver would further say he thought Mr Owsianka was ‘joking’ when he didn’t get up and kept ‘screaming’ at his back after the alleged incident, the court heard.

Mr Owsianka said such an account was not true and his medical records prove otherwise. Among Mr Owsianka’s claims is that the garbage truck was driven at high speed down a ramp due to negligence and dereliction of duty by Nurendale, its attendants or agents.

All allegations have been denied. Scratching the action, Judge Simons thanked the lawyers for their work in what he called a “difficult” case.

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