Driver awarded substantial compensation as a result of being hit by an out of control vehicle travelling onto the incorrect side of the roadway

Published 30 Jan 2018

Our client was driving on his way home to Mortdale which is a suburb in Southern Sydney in NSW, and is part of the St George Area.

As our client was a driver of his own vehicle passing an intersection when another vehicle from the side street coming up to the went spinning out of control and went crashing into the driver side of our client’s vehicle causing substantial damage to his vehicle and causing him to suffer serious injuries, particularly to his neck.

The accident was reported to the police. Our client attending to St George Hospital for treatment. The major symptoms that he was having was in relation to his neck. The impact into our client’s vehicle was quite substantial at the time.

The accident occurred after Christmas during the holiday period. Due to the ongoing symptoms with his neck and shoulders, our client attended to his family doctor who referred him for physiotherapy and x-rays. After undergoing the initial x-rays, they revealed that he had suffered a disc injury in his neck. It was pressing on the nerves and this explained the basis for the ongoing severity of his neck symptoms. Physiotherapy was immediately ceased and our client was referred to a neurosurgeon for an urgent opinion.

Our client saw us in January following Christmas and it was clear that we needed to make sure that he lodged the claim form as soon as possible. The claim form was completed and lodged with the insurer for the other vehicle at fault for the accident in order that investigations could begin with respect of the accident.

During this period, our client had consulted the neurosurgeon at St George Private Hospital. He informed him that the x-ray scans revealed the seriousness of his injury and the reason why he was suffering from unrelenting neck pain which had restricted all aspects of his lifestyle.  He was suffering from disc protrusion in his neck which were compressing on the nerve. This is why he had pins and needles in his hands and weakness in his reflexes. He was on high dosages of mediation because of the severity of his pain.

It was the opinion of the neurosurgeon that given the x-ray results and the severity of his pain and the significant compression on his nerve, the only option was for him to undertake urgent spinal surgery to his neck before the condition became worse. Certainly there were risks with the surgery however in the event that the surgery was not undertaken, it was more likely than not that his condition will deteriorate further.

The documents and the medical reports were forwarded to the insurer for their consideration. Even though they were still investigating the accident. It was clear that our client was not at fault with respect to the said accident. The police report revealed that the other driver was at fault for the accident. The insurer was able to review the documentary and statement evidence from our client and their insured driver and allowed our client to have the urgent surgery having regard to the urgency of his deteriorating condition with his neck since the accident.

Our client was urgently admitted into St George Private Hospital where he underwent the surgery to his neck. As he was a school teacher, he was unable to work for a number of months as part of his recovery and rehabilitation.

After a number of months of rehabilitation and post-operative surgery treating including physiotherapy and specialist review, he was able to return to work on light duties. Our client was a high school teacher and therefore it was important for him to be able to return to work to look after his students. It took our client a significant time period to stabilise before the full extent of the outcome of the surgery would become apparent. He still had to take medication and see his family doctor when necessary.

Our client’s main complaints were the ongoing left sided pain in his neck. He was not able to sleep on his left side or use his left arm for heavy lifting or reaching up into high shelves or cupboards. He was not able to do the outside maintenance work at home. The pain was not as bad as it was prior to the surgery. He still had difficulty driving and there are times when he has had to turn his whole body if he wants to look from one side to the other.

Once his condition stabilised, we arranged for him to be independently medically assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon. The medical report from the orthopaedic surgeon had indicated that he made a reasonable recovery from such a major procedure but he has been left with permanent impairment in relation to his neck as a result of the motor vehicle accident. The doctor also said that he was permanently unfit to use his left upper arm in a heavy repetitive or impact fashion that would place strain on the neck. He was unfit to hold his neck in a fixed awkward position for long periods or rotate his neck constantly.

The specialist also gave the opinion that he was fit for his current work environment but he needed to respect the issue of any deterioration in his neck condition. If there was a deterioration in his neck condition then he may require further surgery in the form of a fusion operation to his neck.

Our client would also need assistance around the house and undertaking heavy physical work and would need to see his family doctor from time to time to review his condition. The specialist provided him with a very high percentage of permanent impairment in relation to his neck as a result of the motor vehicle accident.

The insurer had paid for all of his treatment expenses that he had incurred as a result of the operation. They arranged for him to be independently medically examined and assessed. Their doctors also found that our client had suffered permanent impairment to his neck as a result of the motor vehicle accident but they disputed the nature and extend and the percentage of the permanent impairment.

As a result of this, our client was referred to the government doctor for the assessment of his permanent impairment. The government doctor provided our client with a significant percentage of permanent impairment in relation to his neck and left shoulder arising from the motor vehicle accident. This assessment was not contested by the insurer and was therefore binding on the parties.

After we provided further particulars to the insurer as to all of the heads of damages in relation to our clients claim, the insurer agreed to participate in an informal settlement conference for the purposes of resolving the matter. Our client attended that settlement conference. After significant lengthy discussions, the matter was resolved on the basis that our client was awarded a substantial award in damages of compensation for his injuries, losses and damages arising from the accident. The insurer was ordered to pay our client substantial damages in compensation due to the negligence of their insured driver in causing the accident. Our client was very pleased with the outcome of the claim and the settlement of his claim.

Conclusion:-

If you are a driver or passenger who is involved in a motor vehicle accident for which you are not at fault and in which you have suffered a serious injury, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries due to the other driver’s negligence.

In this case, our client was a driver whose vehicle was struck by another vehicle which had went out of control and collided head on into the driver’s side of our client’s vehicle. It caused substantial damage to our client’s vehicle and resulted in our client suffering from serious injuries which necessitated him requiring neck surgery a few months later. After his condition had stabilised and he was assessed, he was referred to the government medical doctor who determined that he was suffering from significant permanent impairment in relation to this neck and left shoulder as a result of the motor vehicle accident.

Once the insurer had received the government medical doctors medical binding assessment on the parties, the insurer had indicated that they were willing to participate in an informal settlement conference to finalise our clients claim. Our client attended that settlement conference and after a number of hours the insurer was ordered to pay our client a substantial award in damages for compensation as a result of the negligence of their driver causing him significant injuries, losses and damages. It was a very good outcome for our client and he was very pleased with his interest being protected for an accident he was not at fault for at the time.

For a free no obligation consultation, please contact our toll free number, 1800 004 878 so that an appointment can be arranged for you to attend our office to protect your legal rights that you may have arising from any motor vehicle accident in which you are injured and not at fault for due to the negligence or fault of another driver.