Car accident lawyers have been enlisted by a young skateboarder, who suffered a head injury after ‘skitching’ a ride on his friend’s car. The incident occurred in January 2007 when the boy held on to the boot latch on the back of the vehicle while riding his skateboard.
The car was travelling at around 10 to 15 kilometres per hour and was being driven by the father of one of the boys’ friends, who agreed to travel up the hill with three boys holding onto the boot
His son provided a commentary on what was going on as he travelled up the hill, but after travelling just a couple of hundred metres, one of the boys was seen “wobbling”. He then let go of the vehicle and fell backwards, hitting his head on the road’s bitumen surface.
As a result, he suffered a hairline fracture to the occipital region of his skill, which also caused damage to the frontal lobes of his brain.
Court action was brought in line with the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW) Act, as the plaintiff argued that contributory negligence had come into play. This led to a claim for damages being brought against the driver.
At the first hearing, the plaintiff sought to claim damages for his loss of capacity to earn an income using his trade qualifications as a joiner or carpenter. This, he believed, would equate to around $765,000. This was made on the basis that it was very likely that the claimant would have become a well-qualified tradesperson in the future.
The judge at the Court of Appeal ordered that the respondent should pay 90 per cent of the costs resulting from the appeal. The verdict and judgment for the plaintiff against the defendant amounted to the sum of $1.68 million.
At the initial hearing, the judge indicated that the ruling may have erred slightly in apportioning all the responsibility to the driver of the car. Questions were also called over the use of expert witnesses, and how the behaviour of children was analysed at the time.
Furthermore, the primary judge rejected the contributory negligence defence that had been put forward by the appelant. This was mainly because he had failed to show reasonable care for his own safety. Consideration was also given to the face that if the plaintiff had been wearing a protective helmet, the damages to his frontal lobe may have been less severe.