A woman injured in a motor vehicle accident while driving south along the Pacific Motorway in Queensland in 2015, alleged that, as a result of the accident, she suffered personal injuries and claimed damages. The defendants (including the driver of the car that hit the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s insurer) admitted liability, but disputed the extent of the injury and disability claimed by the plaintiff.
Physical and mental damage
The plaintiff claimed she suffered both a soft tissue injury to the cervical spine and an injury to the thoracic spine, as well as a psychiatric injury. The defendants admitted that she suffered the soft-tissue injury, but denied any other injury was sustained as a result of the accident.
The plaintiff did have two psychiatrists who formed the view that she suffered from a psychiatric disorder, yet the nature, timing and cause of her disorder were the subjects of much dispute. She claimed that she now suffered panic attacks while driving, and severe lasting back pain, preventing her from working as she would normally be driving herself to attain daily tasks. Sadly, her claims were met with strong push back from the defendants, who insisted she had not mentioned the other injuries promptly and therefore seemed to be exaggerating.
The plaintiff had also had a child since her accident, which the defendants pointed to as further proof that her life was not unduly affected negatively, yet the plaintiff explained how difficult it was to care for a child when in a state of ongoing pain, and unable to work as she had been accustomed. She experienced chronic back and neck pain as well as constant headaches, but the defendants claimed her health issues must be caused by her later diagnosis of Graves’ disease (a thyroid condition.)
The Court’s judgment
Ultimately, the plaintiff was seeking compensation for past and future medical expenses and gratuitous care of her child. The Court partially accepted her claim and ordered compensation for her anxiety, which was adjudged to have arisen from the accident, but did not accept her claim of physical disability related to the accident, acceding to the defendant’s claim that she had exaggerated her physical pain levels. The diagnosis of Graves’ disease played a part in determining a cut-off date for damages to be calculated, and the anxiety was the primary area in which the plaintiff was found believable.
In the end, the plaintiff, who claimed damages of nearly $500,000, was awarded only a little more than $35,000. If you have suffered a motor vehicle accident, you may find that good representation can yield higher financial compensation. Get in touch with the legal experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to find out more.