Court of Appeal allows man’s car accident injury claim to proceed

Date: Jul 15, 2015

A man who was seriously injured in a car accident has been allowed to commence proceedings even though the deadline for making a claim has passed.

The individual suffered both physical and psychological damage in the incident, which occurred in 2009. His neck, left shoulder, back and knees continued to cause him problems, and he also reported ongoing depressive episodes.

According to court documents, the man consulted his lawyers following the accident to discuss proceeding with his case. However, after signing a personal injury claim form, he failed to attend medical appointments arranged to assess his level of impairment.

In fact, his legal team were unable to contact him for nearly a year after the crash. The man eventually got in contact to say he wanted to proceed, but again failed to respond to calls and letters for a further six months.

Eventually, in June 2011, more than 18 months after the accident occurred, the plaintiff attended a conference to discuss his case. He then visited various doctors between July and October of that year.

Unfortunately, it was decided that the man did not reach the 10 per cent whole person impairment threshold to receive damages for pain and suffering.

Delays in injury compensation claim

By the time the man’s case made it to court, he was required to make an application for an extension, as the three-year deadline on making a claim had passed.

The original judge ruled that the claimant had not given “full and satisfactory” reasoning for the delay in pursuing his claim. As such, the judge refused the application for leave.

However, the man appealed the decision and urged the appellate judges to consider his psychological condition in the year following the accident. He argued that his emotional state was extremely fragile at the time, which made it difficult for him to cope with complexities of a claim.

The plaintiff’s psychiatrist also diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder and a phobic anxiety disorder, further emphasising his inability to handle challenging situations such as a court case. The appellate judges agreed with the man’s appeal and he will now be allowed to pursue injury compensation for the 2009 accident.

They also said the claimant’s total damages are likely to exceed $97,500, as he is now unable to return to the workplace due to ongoing physical and psychological problems stemming from the accident.

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