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'Unlawful' Unaccompanied learner driver loses €60,000 injuries claim after accident

Gita Aldermane (47) was ordered to pay insurance company’s costs as she admits she knew she was breaking law by driving unaccompanied

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Gita Aldermane who lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim in the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin today

Gita Aldermane who lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim in the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin today

Gita Aldermane who lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim in the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin today

A learner driver who told a judge she knew she was breaking the law by driving unaccompanied when involved in a traffic accident, had a €60,000 damages claim for personal injuries thrown out in the Circuit Civil Court today and was ordered to pay an insurance company’s legal costs.

Gita Aldermane (47) told defence counsel John Martin she had been driving illegally on ‘L’ plates and without the supervision of a qualified licence holder when her car crashed on the Santry flyover across the M1 in November 2017.

“I know what I was doing was unlawful,” Ms Aldermane, of College View, Ballymun Road, Dublin, told Mr Martin, who appeared with Hayes McGrath Solicitors for RSA Insurance and the other car’s insured driver, Aoife Farmer, of Iona Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

Ms Aldermane, a homemaker and mother of three, denied it was she who had been driving negligently when her car collided with Ms Farmer’s vehicle on the flyover.

She told Judge John O’Donobhan she had suffered injuries to her upper and lower back in the collision but in cross-examination by Mr Martin she said she had suffered back pain prior to the 2017 accident.

Judge O’Donobhan said none of the medical reports handed into court by both parties suggested she had suffered a serious spinal injury. She had been off work for a month.

Ms Aldermane told Mr Martin she had been shocked in the collision and had not attended her doctor for a number of days after the accident when she had “stiffened up”. She agreed an MRI scan had revealed she had degenerative changes in her spine and had been born with a hip complaint that still caused her pain.

Ms Aldermane agreed with Mr Martin that while working as a shop assistant before the car collision she had “fallen at speed” at her place of employment.

Ms Farmer told the court her car had been stationary on the flyover when Ms Aldermane’s vehicle had veered in her direction.

Her first reaction to her front-seat passenger and partner had been: “Oh my God. She is going to hit us.”

Judge O’Donobhan dismissed Ms Aldermane’s claim and awarded costs against her.

He said the court accepted the cause of the accident had been Ms Aldermane’s inadvertent driving.

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