We recently acted on behalf of a “Long haul” Interstate Truck Driver who sustained an injury in a motor cycle accident.
Our client was riding a motor cycle, when without warning a vehicle turned across his path.
Our client was thrown in the air and sustained fractures to his spine. Fortunately he was wearing safety gear and he sustained no head injuries.
The injury to the spine was such that the fracture showed a loss of disc height of over twenty five percent.
As in all motor vehicle injury claims, in accordance with the current law, it was necessary to show that the injury would exceed ten percent Whole Person Impairment, so as to enable our client to .gain an award for his General Damages, Pain and Suffering – now referred to as Non Economic Loss.
A fracture to the lumbar spine, where the disc had been compressed, ie., loss of height of more than twenty five percent resulted in the category being listed under DRE Category 3 and above, which confirmed that the injury was greater than ten percent Whole Person Impairment.
We quickly obtained evidence of his earnings for the previous two years, which were quite significant, bearing in mind that as a truck driver he did extended hours driving interstate and especially driving the large double wheel based trucks, which are often referred to as “Road Trains”.
We then prepared submissions to show that he would never be able to return to working as a truck driver as the injuries would prevent him from sitting for any long period of time. He would have difficulty getting in and out of trucks, tying down loads and carrying out any activities requiring repetitive bending and lifting.
At the very best our client was able to perform light duties or even light parcel courier type work, which did not require extensive periods of driving.
We were able to show that our client was going to sustain a significant economic loss, well in excess of $400,000.00, which equated to a fifty percent loss of his future earnings.
We arranged for our client to be seen by one of our specialist doctors and asked the doctor to specifically comment on our client’s earning capacity in the future and what treatment and/or assistance he may need in the future.
The medical report obtained from our specialist doctor confirmed that our client would have difficulty carrying out full time duties and would only be fit for light duties. The report also confirmed our client’s need for future treatment which would include regular physiotherapy, attendance upon his general practitioner, review by a specialist orthopaedic surgeon every twelve to eighteen months and continuing need for pain relieving medication.
We were able to also show that these injuries were of a nature that confirmed that the Claimant would have difficulty carrying out general gardening and handyman work around the home, eg., going up and down ladders to clean gutters, painting of the house, carrying out general repairs, pruning of trees and doing the edging and weeding.
Accordingly, a claim was also made for the commercial cost of hiring a gardener or general handyman.
We were able to obtain all this information within a relatively short period of time and invited the CTP Insurer to a settlement conference.
Negotiations started at the settlement conference where we conveyed an Offer for in excess of $800,000.00.
Whilst the matter was not able to be settled at the initial conference the Insurer was provided with all the evidence in support of our claim and detailed submissions as prepared by the writer.
Those detailed submissions confirmed and showed the Insurer that a reasonable claim was being made with regard to future economic loss, future medical and treatment expenses and future assistant care.
Shortly after those submissions were able to be examined by the CTP Insurer further settlement negotiations continued and we were able to settle the claim.
All in all, from the time of the accident until the time of settlement it was less than eighteen months for a settlement of well over $750,000.00.
A great result obtained by virtue of the pro-active measures and systems utilised and adopted by all compensation lawyers of Gerard Malouf and Partners.
This has the added benefit of ensuring the best possible results in a timely manner for our clients.