We acted for Mrs S who was employed as a bartender. She received news that her mother was struck as she attempted to cross the road and as a result of the collision with the vehicle she did not survive and ultimately died. That news resulted in Mrs S suffering nervous shock and developing a psychiatric injury which continued to affect her ability to perform her job and function on a day to day basis.
Mrs S consulted a counsellor and her General Practitioner and she was put on anti-depressant medication.
Mrs S found out that she may be entitled to compensation and contacted our offices for advice on that issue. She was unsure because she was not involved in the accident herself and she came in for a no obligation consultation.
Advice given and action taken:-
Mrs S was advised that she was entitled to claim for her losses on the basis that her mother’s death had caused her a nervous shock and a subsequently development of a psychiatric condition which has been recognised by the doctors. A claim form was served on behalf of Mrs S even though she was not involved in the accident and the insurer denied the case on the basis that her mother was at fault in the collision. If her mother was at fault in the collision then that liability decision would flow on to her case and her case was therefore denied.
Instructions were sought from Mrs S and proceedings were commenced in the Sydney District Court. An expert report was obtained on liability commenting on the nature of the accident and the reaction times of the driver and the vision of the driver and when the driver ought to have seen her mother. Medical reports were also obtained from a psychiatrist and Mrs S’ treating doctors.
The insurer contacted our offices prior to any hearing and invited Mrs S to a settlement conference and she accepted the invitation. After extensive negotiations, Mrs S’ claim resolved for the sum of $30,000.00.
Mrs S was very pleased with the result noting that she initially did not think that she would have a claim as she was not involved in the accident herself. Secondly, the insurer denied liability and there was a possibility that the matter had to proceed to court. Mrs S was not keen on going to court and was not prepared to take the risk having received an offer from the insurer that she thought was appropriate and she was given advice in that respect. Mrs S therefore accepted the settlement and was able to rebuild her business and part of her life and move on.
If you have lost a family member in an accident, you also may be entitled to lodge a claim for compensation under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act for nervous shock if you have suffered or developed a psychiatric condition. If you aren’t sure then please contact our offices for advice or a free no obligation consultation with one of our accredited specialists on our toll free number 1800 004 878.