In Australia, the top four causes of fatal car accidents in 2016 were speeding, alcohol consumption, driver fatigue and inattention/distraction while driving, according to data from Budget Direct. While not as prevalent, there are times where crashes arise out of mechanical issues.
Getting to the bottom of such crashes isn't always an easy feat, as outlined in the below case.
Background of the motor vehicle accident
On May 2, 2015, the plaintiff was a front seat passenger in a car which was being driven back to Sydney from Wollongong late in the afternoon. The car was driven by the defendant, a friend of the plaintiff.
At a point along Heathcote Road, close to the intersection with the Princess Highway, the defendant lost control of the vehicle and the car collided with rocks on the opposite side of the carriageway.
As a result of the motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff claimed damages for personal injuries against the defendant. On the first day of the trial, the defendant admitted liability, on the sole basis that it was a blameless accident. Under the Motor Accident Compensation Act 1999 (NSW), a blameless accident is defined as a motor accident not caused by the fault of the driver of any vehicle involved in the incident. Common examples of blameless accidents include when the driver of a car has a sudden medical emergency such as a stroke or the vehicle has unexplained mechanical failure.
The defendant didn't think that the plaintiff suffered injury or was entitled to any damages.
What did the court decide?
The court learned that the plaintiff worked at a local kebab store, with duties that required heavy manual and labouring tasks. The man's injuries restricted his ability to carry out such duties. Furthermore, the court felt satisfied that the plaintiff had taken other methods of work to ensure his injuries didn't leave him in financial trouble. As such, the court believed the man was not exaggerating his injuries for financial gain and felt the accident had left him with ongoing issues. The court ruled in the plaintiff's favour, awarding a total of $107,224 in damages.
If you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident of any kind, it's important you're aware of your options. For more information, get in touch with the legal team at Gerard Malouf & Partners today.