Harrison v Barnett, a case that began in 2002, has finally been deliberated as of earlier this month: the judgement fell in favour of the plaintiff, who was awarded a sum of over $270,000. The case was very complex and long-lasting for a variety of reasons.
In August of 2002, plaintiff Tulasi Harrison's vehicle was hit by that of the defendant, Kellie Barnett. Harrison was 40 weeks pregnant at the time, and although her ankle suffered two breaks during the collision, surgery couldn't be performed until after she had given birth. The next day, she had a cesarean section and was consequently separated from her daughter for a number of days. The anxiety of this separation, as well as the fact that she hadn't been able to feel the baby kicking after the accident, led her to include psychological and emotional trauma in her compensation claim.
Defendant's insurer accuses plaintiff of fraud
According to extensive medical and psychological reports, the plaintiff suffered injury to her left ankle, left fibula and lumbar spine, as well as severe trauma to her psyche. However, the defendant's insurer made a number of allegations against the plaintiff and her family, accusing them of forging medical invoices as well as an employment contract in order to mislead the insurer.
These claims were taken quite seriously by the courts, playing a large role in the length of the collective case as the allegations of fraud needed to be addressed in separate court proceedings. Since its beginnings, the case has gone through the Claims Assessment and Resolution Service (CARS), the Supreme Court and finally the District Court where it has been ultimately put to rest.
After much investigation, the court decided that the allegations of fraud were likely to be untrue. This occurred after the insurer neglected to bring up the allegations in the most recent court proceedings, despite the gravity of them and the implications such fraud would have on their ability to win the case.
The final decision
After reviewing the evidence a final time, the judge decided in favour of the plaintiff, asserting that she is owed compensation for the physical and psychological trauma caused by the accident.
If you've been injured in an accident, you could potentially deserve a payout as substantial as the one the plaintiff in this case received. Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers has decades of experience resolving motor vehicle accident cases. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our no-win, no-fee services.