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Driver sued Local Council in unsafe road accident and awarded substantial compensation

Our client was driving her vehicle along a roadway in the mid north coast region of New South Wales. Her mother was riding her motor cycle in front of her vehicle. The local council was the authority responsible for the roadway and they had the care, control and management of the roadway and were vicariously liable and/or omissions of its employees, servants and/or agents undertaking work on the roadway.

As our client was driving in an easterly directly along the roadway with her mother riding her motor cycle in front of her, the roadway was uneven with broken pieces of asphalt. While driving along a straight section of the roadway, our client’s mother’s motor cycle impacted with some uneven paths of the roadway causing her to lose control of her motor cycle and slide along the roadway suffering serious injury. Our client’s mother landed heavily on the ground.

Our client who was driving her motor vehicle behind her mother’s motor cycle had to take evasive action by braking heavily in her car to keep her from running over her mother. Our client’s mother remained motionless for some time. Our client thought that she had just witnessed her mother dying. As a result of witnessing the accident, our client suffered serious psychological injuries and damages as a result of the accident. She suffered severe nervous shock arising from the whole ordeal.

We launched legal proceedings in negligence against the local council on the basis that as an authority responsible for the roadway and having the care, control and management of the roadway, they owed our client a duty of care to take reasonable care for the safety of all road users. It was alleged that the local council knew or ought to have known that the roadway was uneven, failed to repair the roadway properly or in a timely manner and/or advised road users of the existence of the dangers created by the uneven surface.

We submitted that the local council breached their duty of care in that the risk of injury to our client was foreseeable, the risk of injury was serious and not insignificant, the risk of harm was likely to cause serious injury, the burden of repairing the uneven surface was minimal and was required of the local council as the authority having the care, control and/or management of the roadway, the risk of harm should have been avoided, and there was no social utility in failing to repair the roadway. As a result of the breach of the local council’s duty of care our client suffered a serious psychological and nervous shock injury from witnessing her mum being involved in the accident.

It was further submitted that a reasonable person in the position of the local council would have taken reasonable precautions against the risk of harm. The local council filed a defence denying our client’s nervous shock injury and that it owned no duty of care to warn our client of that risk of injury and that her mother was responsible for not keeping a lookout as to where she was riding on the roadway.

We obtained medical reports from our client’s treating doctors and specialists and that she had suffered a psychological injury and nervous shock in addition to an adjustment disorder with depression and an anxious mood. She had been suffering from a major depressive disorder and a psychological injury which required treatment. Our client was receiving psychological treatment from her family doctor and also her treating psychologist on an ongoing basis to address her psychological injury disorder arising from the accident.

The matter was listed for hearing and the local council’s legal representatives arranged for an informal settlement conference for the purposes of discussing a resolution of the liability and medical issues in the matter. After a number of hours of discussion canvassing and reviewing the liability and medical issues, the local council was ordered to pay our client a substantial award in damages in compensation for her injuries and permanent impairment arising from the accident. Our client was pleased with the outcome of the matter considering the liability and medical issues in major dispute from the local council.


If you are a driver, passenger or pedestrian and suffer injuries as a result of the negligence of the local council, you may be able to pursue a claim in damages for compensation for your injuries, losses and damages arising from the negligence of the local council.

In this case our client had suffered a serious psychological injury and nervous shock as a result of witnessing her mother suffer an injury on the roadway due to the negligence of the local council. As a result of the liability and medical evidence, the local council was ordered to pay our client a substantial award in damages in compensation for her nervous shock injuries arising from the accident.

For a free no obligation consultation, please contact our toll free number on 1300 768 780 so that an appointment can be arranged for you to attend our office to protect your legal rights arising you’re your accident.

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Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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