A woman who suffered a severe car accident injury in a WA crash has been awarded $606,473 at NSW Supreme Court.
The plaintiff sustained a significant brain injury and other problems following a collision with a prime mover at a T-intersection. At a previous hearing, the 41-year-old was awarded over $3 million in damages, plus fund management costs.
Instead, NSW Supreme Court was deciding on the issue of liability and whether or not the prime mover driver, the defendant, breached a duty of care when he struck the woman’s vehicle.
The accident occurred in September 2009, after the woman stopped at a give way line at the intersection. She claimed she then moved slowly into the intersection in an effort to turn right onto the southbound lane, which was when the defendant collided with her vehicle.
Contributory negligence claim
While the woman argued that the prime mover driver failed to anticipate her manoeuvre and didn’t act in a timely fashion to the presence of another vehicle, the defendant claimed the plaintiff was partially or wholly to blame.
He said this was because the woman, who was driving a Toyota Camry, drove into the intersection when it was unsafe to do so, wasn’t looking to her right and had been using a mobile phone in the lead-up to the crash. The prime mover also had right of way.
Although the courts were unable to confirm whether or not the plaintiff had been using her phone, it was acknowledged that the remainder of the defendant’s comments were true.
The woman’s legal representation admitted that a contributory negligence reduction of at least 50 per cent should occur, while the defendant’s lawyer argued for an assessment closer to 85 per cent.
According to the judge, the woman was primarily responsible for the accident due to a standard lack of care while behind the wheel.
“In these circumstances, by proceeding onto the highway, the plaintiff was grossly negligent and endangered the driver of the prime mover and the drivers on the highway who were travelling south,” Justice Derek Price said.
“I give little weight to the fact that the defendant was driving the heavier vehicle. A reasonable driver in the position of the plaintiff would not have proceeded onto the highway and would have remained at the give way line.”
However, despite assessing her contributory negligence at 80 per cent, Justice Price ruled for the plaintiff to the sum of $606,473.