Plaintiff ordered to pay 40 per cent of damages

Date: Sep 06, 2018

What lengths would you go to clear your name? In a recent NSW motor collision, one defendant hired investigators nearly four years after the event took place. But did his hard work pay off?

Version of events: the plaintiff

On 31 January 2011, the 61-year old plaintiff was struck by a taxi when walking across Potter Street, Waterloo on his way to work. As a result of the collision, he suffered multiple injuries including grazes to both knees, thighs and the right elbow, along with very restricted right shoulder movements, painful knees, neck and lower back pain.

The injuries caused from the collision led the plaintiff to claim for the following heads of damage:

  • Past economic loss.
  • Past loss of superannuation.
  • Past out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Past domestic assistance.
  • Fox v Wood damages.
  • Future loss of earning capacity.
  • Future domestic assistance.
  • Future treatment expenses.

The plaintiff calculated such costs to total $1,299,223.10. However, the defendant – the taxi driver – disagreed with the plaintiff’s entitlement to damages and instead pleaded that the damages should be assessed at $82,848.76. His explanation for such a dramatic difference was put down to the fact that he believed the plaintiff to have deliberately exaggerated his claim for compensation and the true effects the accident had on him.

Version of events: the defendant

In efforts to prove his claim, the defendant hired a group of investigators to monitor the movements of the plaintiff in the years following the initial accident and hearing. Furthermore, he relied on the commentaries of medical professionals once footage had been collected in order to bolster his claim in the district court.

Despite his best efforts, the judge concluded that the material did not damage the plaintiff’s original evidence or his credibility, whether viewed alone or with the expert commentary.

What was decided?

The judge decided that the plaintiff’s damages totaled $487,512.70. However, the court also concluded that the plaintiff was responsible for 40 per cent of such costs due to his own contributory negligence ($292,507.62). The defendant was therefore still responsible for more than half the plaintiff’s costs and would pay these alongside his legal proceedings.

Cases like the above prove that legal battles are tough to win, no matter how strong you believe your evidence to be. This is why it pays to enlist the help of the experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers. If you’re in the midst of a tricky legal situation, call us today to find out how we can help you reach success.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.