Ballandis v Sweebs – The importance of early identification of your injuries

Published 31 Aug 2017

Ballandis v Sweebs [2014] was a trial heard by Justice Smith as to the quantum of a motor vehicle accident claim. On 18 May 2010, the plaintiff was a passenger in a utility vehicle which rolled over when two lanes merged into one and his vehicle was cut off.

As a result of the accident the plaintiff sustained a broken nose and injuries to his ribs. The plaintiff claimed that the injury to his nose specifically was affecting his employment, earning capacity and life in general.

 As his honour was wading through the medical evidence he noticed that there was some confusion between when the plaintiff sustained injuries to his ribs. 

The defendant pointed out that on 13 May 2010, some five days before the subject motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff sustained an injury where he fell from the roof.  It was accepted by all medical professionals that this fall would have caused fractures to the plaintiff’s ribs.

The defendant further pointed out that after the motor vehicle accident plaintiff return to work and worked a 39 hour week and a 29 hour week the following week. They submitted that the rib fracture therefore could not be related to the motor vehicle accident and that it was in fact related to the earlier accident.

The plaintiff was unable to provide any ambulance or hospital records which showed him complaining of rib pain, but made submissions that due to the fright of the accident he was more concerned with other areas of pain which presented themselves.

While his honour accepted that adrenaline and “fright” might lead to explanation he noted that three separate occasions while attending upon a GP no comment was made as to chest or rib injuries.

Ultimately his honour found while the plaintiff may have aggravated pre-existing soft tissue chest injuries he did not sustain fractures to his ribs.

Luckily for plaintiff’s nasal injuries were his major reasons for being unable to continue in his employment.  He was ultimately provided $32,000.00 which contained $15,000 to put towards future required operation expenses for his nose.

The takeaway message of this proceeding is to ensure that all injuries or potential injuries which are sustained in your accidents are identified early to your treatment professionals. In this way you can ensure the best outcome to your compensation claim and maximise the compensation due to you.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners we are not a giant publicly listed law company, but a highly specialised and focused personal injury specialist law firm.  To protect your interests we recommend early legal advice and legal action to ensure that you obtain the best outcome following your injuries.