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Mom loses $820,000 injuries claim after she was pictured tossing a Christmas tree

Kamila Grabska had claimed a car accident in 2017 left her with “debilitating pain.”
A mum who tried to claim £700,000 for injuries she suffered in a car crash has lost her case – after she was pictured winning a Christmas tree throwing competition.
Kamila Grabska's six-figure insurance claim was partly scuppered by this picture.  Eamon Ward / SWNS

Her case was felled by a Christmas tree throwing competition.

A court in Ireland dismissed a mother’s $820,000 insurance claim after a picture emerged of her winning a contest to see who could toss a tree the farthest.

Kamila Grabska, 36, had claimed that a car accident in 2017 left her with “debilitating pain,” leaving her unable to lift heavy bags and keeping her in bed on bad days, according to disclosures made at Ireland's High Court and reported by the Irish Independent newspaper.

The constant pain in her back, neck and thoracic spine left her unable to lift groceries, do chores or play with her two children, the newspaper reported the disclosures, made to the court sitting in Limerick, as saying.

She sued RSA Insurance on the basis that she could not work for over five years, claiming past and future loss of earnings that amounted to around $542,000 of her total claim, according to the Irish Independent.

Her case came unstuck when a photo published in the newspaper almost a year after her accident showed Grabska winning a Christmas tree throwing contest.

The picture, taken in January 2018, shows Grabska, wearing a yellow jacket, forcefully throwing the tree in the town of Ennis in western Ireland, where the championship, based on an old lumberjack competition, takes place. The winner is the person who throws it the farthest.

A second picture published the day shows her smiling as she holds a mounted certificate declaring her the champion.

When she was cross-examined in court, Grabska said she still felt pain when she threw the Christmas tree and was smiling in photos because she was trying to “live a normal life,” the Irish Independent reported.

But Judge Carmel Stewart, who presided over the case, said she had no choice but to dismiss the claim because of the “very graphic picture” of Grabska’s throwing the Christmas tree, which was “at odds” with the medical evidence provided. “I’m afraid I cannot but conclude the claims were entirely exaggerated,” she said.

She also took into consideration video from last November, played to the court, showing Grabska play-wrestling with a big Dalmatian dog for up to 1.5 hours, according to the paper.  

An entry on the Courts Service of Ireland says Grabska’s case was dismissed last week. It did not include any further details.

A spokesperson for RSA Insurance said in a statement that "the significant majority of claims that we handle are genuine." They added that the firm was "very pleased with the outcome of this case and it sends out a clear message that we will robustly challenge any attempt to pursue claims that are not genuine." 

Grabska’s legal representatives not immediately respond to requests for comment.