A crash involving two heavy vehicles will result in injury compensation for one of the drivers after he sustained serious leg trauma in the accident.
The plaintiff argued that the incident was caused when the other driver lost control of his truck and jack-knifed at an intersection as the two vehicles travelled in opposite directions. According to the defendant, who coincidentally worked for the same company as the injured party, the accident was due to a combination of wet weather conditions and the presence of an oil-like substance on the road.
He said that upon noticing the fluid, he took his foot off the accelerator and slowly applied the brake in an effort to manoeuvre the intersection at a slower speed. However, the driver lost control and slammed into the approaching vehicle.
The plaintiff made claims against the defendant, the company at which they were both employed and the Nominal Defendant for the unidentified vehicle that was thought to be responsible for the alleged oil slick. There were also a number of competing cross-claims, with the Nominal Defendant and the defendant both attributing liability to one another.
Motor vehicle injury compensation decision
The judge stated in court documents that liability would either rest with the defendant, the Nominal Defendant or a combination of both depending on contributory factors.
Whether or not there was an oil slick on the road was a primary issue in the case, with evidence from several witnesses at the scene and crash investigation units confirming its presence. Crucially, another driver working for the company had sent a message to colleagues over his radio warning about the oily substance before the accident occurred.
However, District Court Judge Phillip Mahony said the defendant was also approaching the intersection at a speed in excess of what road signs advised. It was estimated he was travelling at approximately 30 kilometres per hour (kph) on a corner that was signposted at 25 kph.
The judge drew attention to the fact that 25 kph was the recommended limit in good conditions, whereas there had been significant rainfall at the time of the crash. Therefore, Judge Mahony ruled that the defendant was 40 per cent liable for the accident based on his reckless driving, while the Nominal Defendant was accountable for 60 per cent of damages.
The compensation amount was not specified in the District Court documents relating to the proceedings.