A woman lost her $823,000 injury claim after lawyers found a photo of her winning a Christmas-tree-throwing competition

  • A woman in Ireland lost her $823,000 injury claim due to a photo of her throwing a Christmas tree.

  • Kamila Grabska, 36, won a 2018 tree-throwing contest after she told doctors of back and neck pains.

  • She'd been in a car accident in 2017 that she said left her unable to work for years.

A woman in Ireland who sued an insurance company for $823,000 had her injury claim tossed out after the court saw a photo of her taking part in a Christmas-tree-throwing competition.

Kamila Grabska, 36, sued RSA Insurance over what she said were back and neck pains from a car crash in 2017, the Irish Independent reported.

The accident rendered her unable to work for more than five years, she said.

Grabska also said she could not carry her children, finish basic chores, or lift a heavy bag and that, at times, she needed her medication to be brought to her in bed due to the pain, the outlet reported.

But a photo shown to the Irish High Court in Limerick featured Grabska chucking a Christmas tree in January 2018, the report said.

Grabska, a resident of the town of Ennis, was one of the people photographed tossing 5-foot spruce trees at the local tree-throwing competition, as seen in this BBC article. Contestants compete to see who can hurl a tree the farthest.

The Irish Independent reported that Grabska admitted to Judge Carmel Stewart that she won the competition.

A 2018 article from the outlet named her as the victor in the ladies' event. Grabska is featured in the article's lead image in a yellow jacket and work gloves and appears to be flinging a tree.

Just days before the competition, Grabska had informed doctors of constant pains in her spine, back, and neck, the Irish Independent reported.

"It is a very large, natural Christmas tree, and it is being thrown by her in a very agile movement," the outlet quoted Stewart, the presiding judge, as saying. "I'm afraid I cannot but conclude the claims were entirely exaggerated."

The court was also shown footage of Grabska playing with a dalmatian in a park for about 90 minutes, the Irish Independent reported.

The footage was taken in November 2023, The Telegraph reported.

Her hearing was dismissed on Thursday, court records show.

The law firm representing Grabska didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Louise Smith of RDJ LLP, acting for RSA Insurance in the defense, told BI by email that after they became suspicious about Grabska's claims, an open-source intelligence report was procured.

The report, as well as a simple search of Google, showed her involvement in the tree-throwing competition, including a photograph of the event, Smith said.

"Certainly a photograph as graphic as the one found in this case is unusual," she added. "However, RDJ's Insurance Fraud team would always thoroughly investigate every claimant online in advance of every case and at this stage we are never too surprised of what we find online."

Smith also said that even though the court made no recommendation that the case be sent to public prosecutors, her team does not believe this is necessary for it to be investigated by the police.

February 27, 2024 — This story has been updated to include a response from Louise Smith, the solicitor acting for RSA Insurance.

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