Woman wins $94,380 in motor accident claim against daughter

Date: Sep 25, 2017

NSW Supreme Court has awarded a woman $94,380 in motor accident compensation after she suffered serious injuries as a passenger in a crash when her daughter was driving.

The plaintiff’s impairment didn’t meet the 10 per cent threshold required for non-economic losses in car accident claims, so the case was limited to out-of-pocket expenses and care costs.

Nevertheless, the woman said her daughter drove negligently, leading to a collision with a tree that resulted in injuries to her neck, shoulders, chest, lower back and knees. The plaintiff also suffered shock after the incident, although she made no claim for psychological injuries.

The daughter admitted liability for the crash but strongly contested the claim for damages, arguing that her mother should be rejected as a truthful witness due to discrepancies in her testimony about her pre-accident health.

Car accident injuries under the spotlight

The accident occurred in 2013 when the plaintiff was 51 years old.

She claimed her daughter drove into a tree with a considerable degree of impact, causing the plaintiff to strike her knees on the underside of the dashboard.

The woman reported pain in her neck, arms and back immediately after the accident, which left her unable to get out of the car herself. The accident also caused fractures to her ribs, although these weren’t diagnosed until one month after the accident during a bone scan.

However, medical notes showed the woman had complained to her doctor of several health problems in the past, some of which crossed over with her injuries following the crash. These included:

  • Pain in her knees;
  • Slight discomfort in her lower back;
  • Severe Type 2 diabetes.

The plaintiff claimed that she had been able to perform household chores until the accident, but now found these tasks difficult and required help from family members.

The judge’s decision

Despite the daughter questioning her mother’s veracity, District Court Judge Matthew Dicker ruled in favour of the plaintiff.

While acknowledging inconsistencies in the woman’s memory regarding her medical history, he believed she was largely truthful and was not attempting to misdirect the court.

He awarded the plaintiff nearly $25,000 for out-of-pocket expenses, as well as approximately $24,000 and $45,300 in past and future care costs, respectively.

Would you like to discuss car accident injury compensation? Get in touch with a member of our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.