Client sues unidentified vehicle after being blinded by oncoming headlights and crashing

Published 10 Dec 2012

We acted for a client who was injured on 18 November 2010 when as he was driving home he was blinded by the high beams of an oncoming vehicle. As a result he lost control of his own vehicle, mounted the median strip and jolted several times as his vehicle bounced on the concrete median strip.

As a result of this action, the steering wheel turned several times and as our client tried to correct it he suffered significant tears in his left and right shoulders.

Our client was not aware that he was entitled to make a compenstion claim nor was he aware that he was required to report the car accident to Police.

After several weeks, his condition did not improve and he became very concerned for his well being. He decided, after receiving advice from his family and friends that he should contact solicitors for advice. He contacted the offices of Gerard Malouf and Partners in January 2011 and he was advised that even though there was no collision and the other vehicle could not be identified, he was still entitled to make a claim for personal injuries against the Nominal Defendant. A case can be lodged against the Nominal Defendant in circumstances where there is an uninsured, unregistered or unidentified vehicle that has caused the collision. You are still required by law to show that the unregistered, uninsured or unidentified vehicle drove in a negligent manner to cause the collision.

A claim for was lodged against NRMA Insurance Australia Limited who denied the claim and requested that the claimant undertake due search and enquiry. Our client was asked to go back to the scene of the accident and do a door knock of the residence that live in the immediate vicinity of where the accident occurred and question whether or not anyone witnessed the accident. Our client also prepared posters which he placed in the letterboxes of the residence in the area. We placed advertisements in the Daily Telegraph and the Parramatta Advertiser calling on witnesses that may have seen the collision to come forward. The client also reported the collision to the Police who gave him an event number.

NRMA Insurance Australia Limited refused to accept that the client had effected due search and enquiry stating that there was more that he could have done to try and locate the vehicle.

Issues in Dispute

There is was an issue of whether the accident actually occurred or whether our client was telling the truth. Secondly there was an issue about whether or not the other vehicle was negligent by keeping its headlights on having known that there was other vehicles travelling in the opposite direction and that finally there was an issue of failing to report the matter to Police and complying with due search and enquiry. All of these matters had to be determined by a Court.

Conclusion

Whilst at Court, the NRMA Insurance invited our client to discuss settlement. After extensive settlement negotiations, the claim settled for $100,000.00 inclusive of legal costs.

The settlement covered our client’s damages including past and future medical expenses, past and future care. There was no claim for wage loss as our client was not working at the time of the car accident and was in fact a pensioner.

Given the difficulties in the case and the lateness of the claim that was made on behalf of the client, we achieved an excellent result and our client was happy with the outcome and our professional expert advice and service.

Our client was not aware that he was entitled to make a claim and effectively the money that we had recovered on his behalf from the insurer was going to be used to enable him to treat his sore shoulders and possibly have surgery in the future.

We are a highly specialised and focused firm of lawyers who are small enough to care intimately for our clients, but large enough to have solid financial, medical and expert resources our clients needs to match the big insurers we fight everyday.