A balloon artist from Dublin has been awarded €22,546 compensation for a back injury in a car accident after a hearing for the assessment of damages.

In July 2014, Raquel Reynolds (48) from Artane in Dublin was sitting in her car at a junction in Santry, waiting for the traffic lights to change to green, when she was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Rachel Marrinan. The impact of the collision was so strong that Raquel was removed from her car on a spinal board with her head in a brace.

Raquel was taken to the Beaumont Hospital, where she was diagnosed with severe whiplash injuries and injuries to her neck, left hand and lower back. Despite undergoing almost two years of physical therapy, Raquel still suffers from chronic pain in her lower back. Her concerned doctors have conducted an exploratory X-ray examination to identify the cause of the ongoing back pain.

Raquel applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a back injury in a car accident and, although Marrinan´s insurance company consented to the assessment, the two parties did not agree on the Injuries Board´s calculations. The Injuries Board subsequently issued Raquel with an authorisation to resolve her claim through the court system.

At a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court for the assessment of damages, Judge John Hannan was told that, prior to the rear-end accident, Raquel had won an award for her balloon art at an international convention in Colorado. The judge also heard that Raquel´s ongoing back pain inhibits her dexterity and limits the amount of balloon art she is able to produce.

After seeing evidence of her balloon artistry and agreeing it required a considerable amount of physical mobility, Judge Hannah awarded Raquel €22,546 compensation for a back injury in a car accident, commenting: “Balloon art is a very important part of her life and it is clear there is a significant amount of manual dexterity required in relation to that work.”