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Motorcyclist awarded $350K in damages for driver’s illegal u-turn on a country highway

Case Overview
  • As a result of a reckless driver performing an illegal u-turn and causing a collision, our client suffered serious injuries including extensive fractures across his shoulder and clavicle, which required treatment by surgery.
  • We arranged for our client to be independently medically examined and assessed. Once the insurer received our assessments, they conceded that our client exceeded the relevant threshold to be entitled to permanent impairment and pain and suffering as a result of the accident.
  • As a result of our claim and our lawyers expertise, we were able to ensure our client received a substantial award in damages in compensation.

Our client was a country-folk driving his motorcycle in a southeasterly direction on a country highway in a town in north-eastern New South Wales when another driver ahead of our client’s motorcycle and on the side of the roadway pulled out in front of our client’s motorcycle to undertake an illegal u-turn into oncoming traffic.

As a result of the other driver performing an illegal u-turn in front of him he was unable to stop his motorcycle and there was a collision in which our client suffered serious injuries.

Police attended the scene of the accident and the other driver was charged with negligent driving.

Our client suffered serious orthopaedic fractures to various parts of his body and was taken by ambulance to hospital. His primary injuries were amnesia for three days, compound fracture of the left tibia and fibula which were treated by surgery. He had extensive fractures to the left shoulder, a comminuted fracture of the left scapula, clavicle and shoulder which also was treated by surgery.

He had multiple operations for what he described as infection in relation to the compound fracture of the left tibia and fibula.

He was undertaking work of farm maintenance and was looking for more work at the time of the accident but he found it difficult to kneel or lift anything heavy. He was unable to participate in housework for at least 12 months essentially because of the extent of the additional surgical procedures to control the infection.

The basis of our client’s claim and the heads of damages was for non-economic loss for permanent impairment, pain and suffering, past out of pocket expenses, future treatment expenses, past and future loss of wages and loss of Superannuation and past and future care having regard to the severity of his injuries.

Nassir Bechara
Our Approach

We lodged a claim form with the relevant insurer and after they undertook an investigation of liability they accepted that their driver was negligent in causing the accident. They paid for our client’s ongoing treatment requirements.

There was some period of time before our client’s condition was stabilised.

We arranged for him to be independently medically examined and assessed. Our orthopaedic medico-legal specialist provided a diagnosis that our client sustained an open fracture of the left tibia complicated by osteomyelitis, left knee cruciate ligament laxity, left ankle, post-traumatic stiffness, partial damage to the nerve of the left leg, left shoulder weakness and impairment and left-hand fractures.

He was left with restrictions on lifting capacity and he was advised to avoid kneeling and squatting. His injuries would lead to osteoarthritis in the knee, ankle and left shoulder and this would limit his working capacity.

In relation to the left shoulder injury, it was opined by the orthopaedic surgeon that if the left shoulder developed arthritis in the future then he may be subjected to a left shoulder replacement operation in the next 15-20 years.

Our specialist assessed his injuries to the left shoulder, left knee, left ankle, left femur and the scarring for severe bodily disfigurement at 31% whole person impairment under AMA 4.

Our client attended to be medically examined and assessed by the insurer’s doctors in respect of his permanent impairment. Once they received his assessments the insurer conceded that our client exceeded the relevant threshold to be entitled to permanent impairment and pain and suffering as a result of the accident.

The basis of our client’s car accident claim and the heads of damages was for non-economic loss for permanent impairment, pain and suffering, past out of pocket expenses, future treatment expenses, past and future loss of wages and loss of Superannuation and past and future care having regard to the severity of his injuries.

The insurer accepted the totality of the medical evidence that our client had suffered significant injuries in the motorcycle accident which had left him permanently impaired and reduced his ability to participate in normal social, domestic, recreational, sporting and employment activities.

The Result

The insurer was ordered to pay our client a substantial award in damages in compensation of $350,000.00 Our client was very happy with the outcome of the matter.

Nassir Bechara Lawyer

Nassir Bechara

Senior Associate
It means a lot to me to defend clients who have been significantly disabled by injuries which have been caused by the negligence of others and to be able to help them receive fair and proper compensation which in most cases will assist in changing their lives
Frequently Asked Questions

More Information

All drivers have a duty to other road users to take reasonable care. If it can be determined that anyone involved in the accident was not taking reasonable care, they can be found negligent and at fault. The top identifiers of negligence consist of:

  • Speeding
  • Failing to obey traffic lights or signage
  • Driving while intoxicated or otherwise under the influence
  • Failing to “keep a proper lookout”

If you are hit by another driver and they are found at fault, you can make a claim against them for damages. This can include any losses resulting from the accident, including damage to your vehicle.

However, if your actions also played a part in the accident, both drivers may be found at fault. This is called ‘contributory negligence’, and may be apportioned between you and the other driver in any percentage split. In such a case, you may be responsible for bearing part of the cost of the damages.

There are several steps you should take following a motor accident before worrying about liability. First and foremost is ensuring that you, the other driver and any passengers you both have are safe. Immediately call 000 for emergency services if necessary, and apply first aid care if you know how. Move the vehicles off the shoulder if the accident is blocking the roadway and it’s possible to do so.
 

Compensation can provide vital financial support for people who have suffered serious injuries in a road traffic accident. But are there limitations on how much money someone can receive?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including:

  • Who was to blame for the accident?
  • How severe were your injuries?
  • Is there permanent damage?
  • Are you entitled to damages for non-economic losses?

Let’s break down some scenarios and explore what compensation amounts could be available.

 

The terms ‘plaintiff’ and ‘defendant’ are used in car accident compensation cases – and other civil law matters – to represent the individual pursuing the claim and the people or organisations being accused, respectively.

As a plaintiff, you may encounter another phrase: the Nominal Defendant. But what does this mean? And how could it affect your Australian Capital Territory motor vehicle accident damages?

 

Explore

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 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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