A plaintiff who claimed $673,000 of lost income following a car accident has received far less in compensation after the judge ruled the man had been dishonest with his evidence.
The plaintiff was involved in a head-on collision, which he said caused him significant psychological distress and injuries to his neck, left shoulder and back.
At the time of the accident, the man was unemployed and had been for eight years due to an anal fistula that required multiple operations. However, he submitted a full-time job offer into evidence that he claimed to have received a few weeks before the crash as proof of his future earning potential.
But this evidence and other testimony were called into question at the trial, causing substantial harm to the plaintiff's car accident compensation claim.
The job offer was provided by a man with whom the plaintiff had previously worked as a joiner part-time for approximately 11 days. While the pair denied they were friends, it was later revealed that the employer had bought several cars for his family members from the plaintiff.
Furthermore, the job offer was written on letterhead paper with the employer's company name at the top. However, the organisation had not existed at the time the offer was made.
Phone records between the plaintiff and the employer did not align with their testimonies, and the employer's written submission showed a number of inconsistencies with his spoken evidence.
District Court Judge Robert Montgomery said, in his opinion, the two had reconstructed events with a view to helping the plaintiff secure a more favourable settlement for his car accident injuries.
The judge also had misgivings about the plaintiff's evidence regarding his psychological injuries. While the claimant suggested the accident had led to depression, forgetfulness and anxiety, Judge Montgomery ruled these conditions were not a result of the crash.
A psychiatrist who evaluated the plaintiff a few months after the crash made no mention of a car accident as the cause of the man's depression. Instead, the plaintiff had said his mood was due to his marriage breakdown and the fact his wife had moved out with their children.
Ultimately, the judge found the claimant's evidence unreliable in a number of areas, making it difficult to evaluate the extent of the injuries the man had actually sustained.
Judge Montgomery awarded $39,105 in damages for the plaintiff's physical injuries. But the man could have received far more if the court had been able to lend weight to his testimony, emphasising the importance of giving a full and frank disclosure when pursuing car accident compensation.
Have you recently been injured in a crash? Please contact a member of our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to learn more about how to proceed with a claim.