Man awarded over $1 million after motorcycle collision

Date: Feb 07, 2017

A judge has awarded a young man more than $1 million in compensation after the plaintiff experienced life-changing injuries and a permanent disability when his motorcycle collided with another.

The man, who was 25 years old at the time of the accident in 2013, suffered injuries to his left leg, which was amputated below the knee, as well as problems with his left arm, chest, pelvis, bowel and bladder.

On the day before the incident, the plaintiff had been drinking with a friend, who he had recently met at a domestic violence course they had both attended.

The acquaintance discovered during the day that his wife was pregnant, leading to him and the plaintiff celebrating the occasion by drinking alcohol together. It was in the early hours of the following day that the accident occurred.

Details of the incident

Both the plaintiff and his friend claimed to have poor recollections of the lead-up to the accident, but witness accounts helped piece together what likely happened.

District Court documents of the case suggest that the pair decided to ride their motorbikes at approximately 5am in the morning from the plaintiff’s house. It is believed the plaintiff’s friend set off first, with the plaintiff following about half a minute behind.

The friend allegedly performed a U-turn at some point in the journey, possibly realising that the plaintiff wasn’t behind him, and began travelling in the opposite direction. At this point, he swerved into the wrong side of the road and collided with the plaintiff, who was riding the other way.

When deciding damages, the judge had to consider various factors, including the inebriation of both men, issues of liability, contributory negligence and the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Motor accident compensation damages

District Court Judge Garry Neilson noted that the plaintiff’s friend was liable for the accident, having swerved onto the wrong side of the road in the lead-up to the crash.

However, he claimed the plaintiff’s alcohol consumption and decision to ride without headlights on had contributed to the accident. He therefore reduced the plaintiff’s damages by 33 per cent due to contributory negligence.

Nevertheless, the claimant’s injuries were severe, and at such a young age they have a significant impact on his future earning potential and medical care needs. As such, Judge Neilson awarded the man $1.14 million in damages.

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