Over the 12 month period ending June 2018 there were 11,180 serious injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents in NSW alone, according to Transport for NSW data.
While such accidents are common, it’s very rare for a person to be involved in a second crash shortly after the initial accident. However, as the below case states, the District Court of NSW is often required to deal with uncommon circumstances relating to motor vehicle accidents.
Events leading up to the hearing
The plaintiff, a 47-year old Chinese woman was involved in a motor vehicle accident which occurred on August 22, 2013 in Queensland. The woman alleged that at the time of the accident, she was driving her car in the opposite direction of the defendant. Without warning, the other vehicle travelled onto the incorrect side of the road and collided head on with the plaintiff’s car. The defendant (the other driver) admitted liability.
On October 16, 2013, the woman was involved in a second motor vehicle accident. This was however, a blameless accident.
The plaintiff’s injuries
In regards to the first accident, the plaintiff informed the ambulance that she was in a lot of pain and couldn’t move her neck and right shoulder. She also felt discomfort to her lower back.
The second motor vehicle accident was more serious in the sense that it involved a brain injury. However, at the time of the hearing, the plaintiff had fully recovered from the effects of the second accident, including any cognitive defects. Therefore, the plaintiff’s case was that the first accident left her with more long-term serious injuries to her back, neck and shoulder, along with psychosocial issues – all of which remained with her since the initial collision.
What did the defendant argue?
The defendant argued that he should not be liable for the woman’s injuries as a consequence of the second accident. He was sceptical of the severity of her injuries and felt that the only damages she was entitled to were those relating to minor soft tissue injury to the cervical spine.
When reviewing all medical reports, the court set out a Scale Value of 5 to 15. It concluded that, after considering her age, likely prognosis and suffering, she was at the top end of the spectrum. She was awarded a total of $30,300.
Motor vehicle accidents of any scale can cause issues in court. This is why it pays to have the security and knowledge of expert lawyers on hand to guide you through what can be a tricky process. Get in touch with the motor vehicle accident lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners to find out how we can help.