There are several different types of injury compensation available, and some people may be eligible for further damages if their accident covers various claims.
This situation recently arose in a case that went before the NSW Supreme Court, with a man pursuing both car accident compensation and medical negligence damages due to injuries following a crash.
He won $350,000 plus costs when another car reversed onto the road and collided with his vehicle. The incident resulted in him suffering injuries to his neck, as well as right arm, shoulder and foot.
However, the man developed an injury to his left leg 18 months later, which doctors believed was due to him favouring this leg while the right one was recovering.
The man alleged he was misdiagnosed as having deep vein thrombosis, and the resulting treatment led to massive internal bleeding that required fasciotomy surgery. It later transpired the original injury was merely a muscle tear in the left calf.
In a motion for summary dismissal, the defendants’ lawyers attempted to have the medical negligence claim thrown out by arguing that damages had already been settled for the man’s injuries in the previous compensation case.
The judge was therefore asked to rule whether the man could legitimately claim for left leg injuries in the medical negligence claim.
Supreme Court ruling
The defendants’ claim hinged on the fact that one of the original defendants in the car accident compensation trial was the Health Administration Corporation (HAC). In the current proceedings, the man was claiming against the South Western Sydney Health District (SWSHD).
According to the defendants, both organisations are agents of the crown, meaning the ruling in favour of the plaintiff in the first case should prevent him from claiming damages for the same injuries in the current case.
The plaintiff’s lawyer disputed this point, noting that HAC is governed by the Health Administration Act 1982, which stipulates that statutory bodies represent the crown. However, the SWSHD instead follows the Health Services Act 1997 and is not classified as a crown body.
Justice Peter Hidden sided with the plaintiff, meaning the man will be allowed to pursue his medical negligence claim against the defendants, although the date for a new trial has not been set.
Nevertheless, this case highlights the complexities that can surround injury compensation cases. If you are considering pursuing damages for accidents you’ve suffered, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners today.