Two plaintiffs make motor accident compensation claims

Date: Aug 25, 2018

In a recent case, two plaintiffs – a seven year old and her mother – made claims against the child’s father, who is also the woman’s husband, for negligence that led to a motor vehicle accident.
The accident
On 26 August 2014, the two plaintiffs were involved in a crash in which the defendant was driving. It was raining, and the man collided with the car in front after failing to engage the brakes in time.

The two plaintiffs allege that they suffered many injuries that resulted from the accident. The mother claims that she continues to suffer from debilitating pain.

However, neither plaintiff is claiming they suffered non-economic loss greater than 10 per cent, which is the threshold for awards of damages under the Motor Accident Compensation Act 1999 (NSW).

The insurance company of the defendant alleged in 2016 that the two plaintiffs had fabricated the incident and that neither one of them was actually in the vehicle when the accident took place. This denial was later withdrawn, however. The defendant in the case claimed that the accident did not take place the way the plaintiffs related the occurrence.

The driver denies claims

The plaintiffs claimed that the accident and subsequent injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence. He had failed to:

  • Keep proper lookout.
  • Travel at a safe distance behind the vehicle in front.
  • Brake, steer or otherwise try to avoid the collision.

The seven year old child sustained several injuries, including to her left shoulder, legs and back, and suffered from urinary incontinence and psychological issues.

In his defence, the man denied that the injuries were caused by his negligence and that the plaintiffs were entitled to the relief they were seeking. He did not admit that his daughter or wife were passengers on that day or that the accident occurred the way the plaintiffs described it.

The judge found that there was breach in duty of care from the defendant, and that he could have avoided the accident and thus the injuries that followed. However, he also rejected the plaintiffs’ medical evidence that their injuries would have weight on the future activities of either one of them.

The parties were ordered to bring in agreed short minutes of order consistent with the judge’s reasoning within seven days. The question of costs was reserved.

Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident? Our experienced team of lawyers may be able to help. Get in touch with us at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for a free consultation.

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