A man who was injured in a car accident in 2013 is attempting to receive compensation by claiming his de-facto partner was driving the vehicle when it crashed. However, he originally told emergency responders and doctors that he was behind the wheel when the accident occurred.
The couple were travelling along Burley Griffin Way at Binalong when the car slid off the roadway while taking a left turn. The vehicle rolled over and ended up in a ditch, resting partly on its roof and the driver’s side.
In NSW, the Motor Accident Compensation Act 1999 provides personal injury damages to people who were not at fault or only partly at fault for an incident. As such, the motorist in this particular case would struggle to receive compensation, as the accident was due to driver error.
The plaintiff and his de-facto partner said he was driving at the time of the accident when emergency responders and medical experts first treated them. Both subsequently claimed she was behind the wheel when the crash happened.
According to the plaintiff’s testimony, his recollection at the time of the accident was incorrect and he only began to truly remember the incident in a series of flashbacks and nightmares several days afterwards.
His wife, who told her doctors she had no memory of the crash when she was first treated, later corroborated her partner’s version of events. She said her contemporaneous comments about her husband driving were likely due to shock.
Her insurer, which would need to pay compensation if the plaintiff’s claim succeeded, argued the couple were making a deliberately false account of the accident in order to receive a payout.
Judge Leonard Levy ruled in favour of the insurance firm, although he did not believe the couple had willingly falsified their evidence. Instead, he said the pair had likely reconstructed a new version of events based on faulty memories.
Given that both the plaintiff and the insurer had agreed before proceedings that the driver of the accident had driven negligently, the man will now unlikely be able to pursue compensation for his injuries.
But if you are not to blame for a car accident in NSW, you may be entitled to damages. Compensation can cover a range of costs related to the incident, including medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses and lost income. Please contact a member of the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to find out what damages you could be awarded.