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Serious Injury Claims Case Studies 2017-06-22T10:48:31+00:00

Serious Injury Compensation Case Studies

PASSENGER INJURED IN AIRBORNE CAR

Michael and his friend were drinking together from 10am all day until early evening. The plaintiff had a blood alcohol level of blood of 0.091 and his friend had a blood
alcohol level of 0.239. The owner of the local pub provided his car to his friend 
to drive home. Our client was a front seat passenger in a vehicle when the his friend 
lost control of the vehicle causing it to leave the roadway and after hitting a 
steel guardrail the vehicle became airborne, spinning in the air before coming to 
a stop. As a result the friend that was driving was killed. Our client sustained
 severe injures to the head, resulting in traumatic brain injury.

Allegations of
contributory negligence were raised on the grounds that both the driver and the
 passenger were intoxicated. This case was settled out of court on very favourable 
terms.


PASSENGER SUFFERS SERIOUS SPINAL INJURY

Our client, a 50-year old pensioner in the country suffered a serious spinal injury when the car in which she was a passenger, left the road and hit a tree. She was accepted into Lifetime Care and Support which will cover all her medical, equipment and other costs for the rest of her life.
In order to preserve her Centrelink payments our client’s claim was restricted to damages for pain and suffering. Whist our client’s injuries were shocking they could have been more serious. The claim was settled with the insurer for almost the maximum sum available to our client.

SPINAL INJURY

 Our client, a young lady, was injured in a motor vehicle accident which resulted in her undergoing spinal surgery. She fortunately made a successful recovery and was able to resume her normal work as an occupational therapist tending to the needs of children. She was however restricted by ongoing back pain and had difficulty carrying her equipment, particularly when she had to negotiate stairs and steps.

Liability was admitted by the insurer. However, and unfortunately, our client’s whole person impairment was assessed at being less than the threshold required for entitlement to damages for pain and suffering and accordingly her claim was restricted to loss of income and the cost of future paid care.

After somewhat protracted efforts to have our client’s whole person impairment assessed at over the required threshold the claim was settled for a satisfactory sum, thus avoiding the possibility of disappointment at a CARS hearing.


CATASTROPHIC INJURIES

Our client was an elite sportswoman who had just completed her Higher School Certificate and was about to commence a Science Degree course specialising in exercise physiology, at university, when she suffered a catastrophic brain injury in a head-on collision.

The insurer ultimately admitted liability. Our client is a lifetime participant in Lifetime Care and Support. Accordingly her claim excluded claims for medical expenses, care, home modifications etc because these items are paid and will continue to be paid by Lifetime Care and Support.

Accordingly our client’s claim was restricted to a claim for non-economic loss (pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life and past and future loss of earnings.

Our client managed to commence her university studies a year after the accident through sheer determination and guts but has found learning and coping with the stresses of university life and study to be very exacting and draining. One of our client’s main complaints was that she suffered from severe cognitive fatigue, which is a common consequence of traumatic brain injury.

The general medical consensus is that our client may complete her university degree course, although it will take 2 or 3 times longer than it would have done, had she not been injured. However our client’s employment prospects, even if she graduates with a degree, will always be problematic, because of her ongoing cognitive and physical deficits.

As our client lacked the cognitive ability to give instructions and to manage a significant sum of money her mother was appointed as “Tutor” for the purpose of giving instructions.

After protracted negotiations with the insurer and its lawyers the claim was settled for a very significant sum, subject to obtaining the court’s approval. That application will be made to the court for a funds manager to be appointed to invest our client’s settlement monies on her behalf and to provide her with the requisite protection to ensure that her funds are properly invested and secured.


CAR HIT AT HIGH SPEED

 As our client was driving her son to an aquatic centre in Sydney her car was struck violently from behind by a heavy vehicle travelling at very high speed. The outcome was disastrous for our client, who suffered serious orthopaedic injuries and for her young son, who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury.

Our client eventually recovered sufficiently to be able to resume work as a nurse, but only on a part-time basis. Our client also was unable to undertake her normal household chores and required assistance from her husband.

Her claim was settled for a large sum at a settlement conference with the insurer’s lawyer.


CHILD SUFFERS BRAIN INJURY

 When our client was only 8 year old he suffered a traumatic brain injury when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a car. Our client was admitted into Lifetime Care and Support which will cover all his medical, rehabilitation and care costs for the rest of his life. Our client, on instructions from his mother, made a claim against the CTP insurer of the car for common law damages including “pain and suffering”, loss of income earning opportunity and the costs of Funds Management.

The insurer admitted liability but alleged 50% contributory negligence by our infant client, arguing that had our client been wearing a bicycle helmet the brain damage would not have been as severe.

The claim was settled at a settlement conference with the insurer’s lawyer, with very little discount for contributory negligence. The settlement was subsequently approved by the District Court.


FRONT SEAT PASSENGER SUFFERS BRAIN INJURY

Sarah was 21 when she suffered serious neck injuries and a traumatic brain injury in a one vehicle roll-over accident.

The major issue was whether she was a passenger or a driver. There were no witnesses to the accident, and because of her brain injuries Sarah couldn’t remember where she had been seated in the car. Her boyfriend was with her in the car and initially said he was driving but later changed his story. It was vital that we prove that Sarah had been a passenger rather than the driver because if she had been driving she would not have been entitled to any compensation.

We were able to prove, through forensic investigation, that Sarah was in fact a passenger. Her claim was very successfully settled.


DRIVER RUN OFF ROAD BY IDENTIFIED VEHICLE

Our client alleged that he was forced off the road by an unidentified motor vehicle and suffered back and brain injuries.

He brought a claim against the Nominal Defendant (which is the body that a claim is brought against in cases involved unidentified 
or unregistered vehicles). There were no witnesses to the accident who could verify that there had been another vehicle involved, and the insurer denied liability for the claim. After protracted litigation the matter was successfully settled.


DRIVER IN PERIL

Jonathan was a 60 year old invalid pensioner who suffered a leg amputation in an unusual road accident. He had gone to a hardware store and loaded his trailer with planks of wood. As he drove home, in the dark, a piece of timber, which obviously hadn’t been properly secured, fell out of the trailer and onto the road. Jonathan pulled over to the left hand side of the 3 lane main road, next to the median strip, switched on the trailer’s hazard lights and retrieved the timber from the road. As he was re-securing the load a following car ran into the back of the trailer which speared into Jonathan, causing severe leg injuries which resulted in his injured leg being amputated in hospital.

The insurance company denied liability saying the accident was our client’s fault as he had put himself in a position of peril. The case went to mediation where it was eventually settled for a large sum.


BIKE RIDER BECOMES PARAPLEGIC

Our client, a highly successful businessman in his mid-fifties, was on a weekend bike ride near Manly when a car suddenly pulled out of a driveway onto the road in front of him, and stopped.  He client couldn’t stop in time and hit the car, landing on the road. Tragically he broke his back and is a paraplegic and will always be in a wheelchair, and in a lot of pain.

The insurer for the driver flatly denied all liability saying it was all our client’s fault for going too fast and not keeping a better watch.

We went to the Supreme Court to have the issue of liability decided by a judge.

After a 4-day court hearing, during which time witnesses and traffic engineers gave evidence, as well as our client and the driver, the judge entered a verdict in our client’s favour, finding that the driver was 75% to blame for the accident. The amount of compensation our client will receive has not yet been decided.


WEEKEND BIKE RIDE TURNS TO TRAGEDY

Our client was riding his bicycle in the county side near Canberra on a quiet and sunny Sunday morning with a group of friends when he was knocked off his bicycle by a car which had roared up behind him.

The driver said it was our client’s fault for having suddenly swerved across the middle of the narrow road.

Our client, who suffered serious injuries, had no memory of the accident. The police action against the driver was unsuccessful. The insurer denied liability.

We brought our client’s compensation claim to the District Court in Sydney. After a four day hearing the judge found that the driver was 90% to blame for the accident and our client’s injuries, and awarded our client a large amount of money as compensation.

Footnote
In each of these cases we went to the scene of the accident to see it for ourselves. That was invaluable. It’s interesting that apparently our opponents did not go out to the scenes. We believe that made difference to the outcomes.


STUDENT SUFFERS BRAIN INJURY

Ben was in year 11 and was destined to become an architect or some other high earning professional when his hopes were dashed when he suffered a traumatic brain injury when the bicycle he was riding was hit by a car.

The insurer alleged he was 50% to blame for not wearing a helmet and for suddenly swerving into the path of the car.

Ben made a remarkable recovery, finished his HSC and was accepted into university.

Unfortunately he could no longer undertake the extremely intellectually challenging architecture degree because of his ongoing and permanent intellectual deficits. Rather he opted to study to be a teacher.

His claim was settled for a considerable sum with a slight discount for his own negligence for not wearing a bicycle helmet.


MAJOR TRUCK ACCIDENT

GM is 54 years of age.  He was driving his truck for work when the driver of a Ford motor vehicle with 5 occupants, travelling in the opposite direction, crossed into his lane and the vehicles collided.

Tragically, three of the occupants of the Ford vehicle were killed.  The driver sustained catastrophic brain damage and is now in a vegetive state.  The accident was caused by the other driver.

GM sustained serious orthopaedic injuries, but more significantly he developed significant psychiatric injures.

Because of his psychiatric injuries he will never drive truck.

His claim was settled for a considerable sum.


TEEN SUFFERS BRAIN DAMAGE

Isabelle sustained catastrophic injuries when she was just 19 years old. She was
 a passenger, not wearing a seat belt, in car driven by intoxicated driver, left 
the roadway and struck a tree.

Isabelle sustained very severe brain damage, leaving her in a wheelchair, and totally 
and permanently disabled and dependent. The insurer alleged that she contributed 
to the accident by not wearing a seat belt and by travelling in a car with an intoxicated 
driver. The case was litigated and finally settled, with Court approval, for many
millions of dollars.


18 YEAR OLD SUFFERS SPINAL INJURY

On her 18th birthday RM went out drinking with some friends in a NSW country town.

Tragically RM suffered a catastrophic spinal injury, rendering her a paraplegic, when the car in which she was a front seat passenger, left the road and hit a tree. RM, who was not wearing a seat belt was thrown out of the car. The young driver was convicted with driving under the influence of alcohol and was sent to gaol.

The insurer claimed RM was 100% to blame for her injuries because she failed to wear a seat belt and she travelled in the car knowing the driver was drunk.

The claim was settled for a large sum with RM accepting a 50% discount because of her own negligent conduct.


CHILD SUFFERS BRAIN INJURY

Justin, 5 years old, suffered a catastrophic brain injury when the car in which he was 
travelling as a passenger and which was being driven by his father, left the roadway
 and collided with a barbecue and then a tree.

Justin’s injuries were appalling and resulted in him requiring lifelong care,
 home modifications, transport modifications and an array of aids and equipment.

Justin’s claim was brought against the Third Party insurer of his father’s car. 
The insurer denied liability on the basis that the driver was not at fault because
he had had an unexpected epileptic fit, which could not have been foreseen.

It was alleged, on Justin’s behalf, that the accident occurred because his father 
was tired and fell asleep.

Both parties obtained forensic evidence to try and support their positions. It became 
clear that on the balance of probabilities the driver had indeed fallen asleep and
 that he had not suffered an epileptic fit. The claim was settled out of Court.


CAR HITS COW

Karen, a 35 year old manager of a hardware store in Sydney, suffered catastrophic 
brain injury with serious hemiparesis, when the car in which she was travelling
 as a passenger, which was being driven by her husband, collided with a cow which 
had strayed onto the road.

As the owner of the cow was unknown, we brought Karen’s claim against the Third 
Party insurer of her husband’s car. Liability was admitted by the insurer on the 
basis that Karen’s husband had been driving too fast in the circumstances and had 
failed to keep a proper lookout.


INTOXICATED DRIVER KILLED IN ACCIDENT

We acted for a 22 year old man who was injured when travelling as the front seat 
passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend. The accident happened at about 3:00am.
 Our client, the driver and 2 other friends were on a night out and all had consumed 
large amounts of alcohol. The accident happened on their journey home.

The driver lost control of the vehicle, which veered off the road and slammed into 
a tree. He was killed in the accident. Our client suffered several injuries including
a ruptured aorta, fractures to his back and other parts of his body as well as injuries 
to a lung and kidney.

The insurance company denied fault for the accident on the basis that the driver
 of the vehicle was affected by alcohol and that our client should have been aware 
of this, as he had been drinking with the driver all evening and thus should not 
have travelled with the driver. The two other friends had refused to travel with the 
driver and had tried to persuade our client not to go in the car with the driver
 due to his level of intoxication, which was powerful evidence in the insurer’s favour.

Despite the insurance company’s denial of liability and the difficulties in our
 client’s case, a good out of court settlement was reached.


PASSENGER INJURED IN AIRBORNE CAR

Michael and his friend were drinking together from 10am all day until early evening. The plaintiff had a blood alcohol level of blood of 0.091 and his friend had a blood 
alcohol level of 0.239. The owner of the local pub provided his car to his friend 
to drive home. Our client was a front seat passenger in a vehicle when the his friend 
lost control of the vehicle causing it to leave the roadway and after hitting a 
steel guardrail the vehicle became airborne, spinning in the air before coming to 
a stop. As a result the friend that was driving was killed. Our client sustained
 severe injures to the head, resulting in traumatic brain injury.

Allegations of
 contributory negligence were raised on the grounds that both the driver and the 
passenger were intoxicated. This case was settled out of court on very favourable 
terms.


DRIVER COLLIDES WITH TREE

Elliott was severely injured in a motor vehicle accident when he was 26 years old.

Elliott was a passenger in a car driven by a friend. The driver drove the car onto 
the wrong side of the road colliding with a large tree.

The insurer originally denied their insured driver was at fault for the accident. After further investigation, the insurer admitted liability for the accident.

As a consequence of the accident, Elliott sustained both psychological and physical 
injuries. His physical injuries were extensive and included a traumatic brain injury,
 soft tissue injury to the lumbar spine, bilateral traumatic optic neuropathy, right 
posterior patellar chrondal damage, as well as fractures to the nose, sternum, and 
right femoral neck.

Elliott’s claim was complicated by reason of a pre-existing back injury that he 
had sustained at work several years prior to the motor accident. Evidence indicated
that at the time of the motor accident his back injury still affected his ability
to work and perform basic daily activities.

To determine Elliott’s entitlement to compensation, we bore the onus of proving
the effect his injuries from the motor vehicle accident had on his daily activities and
 ability to work. We had to take into account the fact that Elliott’s ability to 
perform these activities was already restricted due to his previous back injury.

We obtained expert medical evidence, as well as lay evidence, that proved Elliott’s
 injuries from the motor accident had not only resulted in a diminution of his earning 
capacity, but had also resulted in a need for lifelong treatment and care.

By obtaining extensive evidence, we maximised the outcome for Elliott and negotiated
 a very favourable settlement with the insurer that took into account his pain and 
suffering, economic loss, as well as his need for treatment and care.


SCIENTIST’S CAR OVERTURNS

Ben, a University scientist aged 60 years, was travelling along the Federal Highway, 
towards Goulburn, when a car, which dangerously attempted to overtake him, lost
 control and slammed into his car.

The impact forced Ben’s car off the road, where it rolled 5 times before coming
to a stop. Ben and his fellow passengers were lucky to have escaped with their lives.

The driver was charged with dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.

In addition to severe physical injuries, including damage to his thoracic spine 
and multiple lacerations, Ben sustained psychological injuries as a result of the
 accident.

The CTP insurer initially disagreed that Ben’s injuries entitled him to damages 
for his pain and suffering. However, after extensive preparation of an application 
to the Medical Assessment Services, the insurer was prepared to concede that his 
injuries were over 10% Whole Person Impairment, which therefore entitled him to
 damages for non economic loss

A fantastic settlement was reach out of court.


HEAD ON COLLISION

Jessica was an up and coming wedding planner in one of NSW’s most popular wedding 
destination towns when she was involved in a head-on collision at the age of 30. She 
suffered a severed carotid artery leading to significant blood loss and hypoxic 
brain injury, in turn resulting in significant physical and cognitive deficits.

We were able to prove that had she not been injured Jessica would have been a successful
and highly paid wedding planner. She made a remarkable recovery, but was never able
 to return to the sort of demanding work that she did prior to the accident. The
 claim settled, with Court approval, for a substantial sum.


PASSENGER BRAIN DAMAGED

Peter, 30 years, suffered frontal lobe damage when the car in which he was travelling 
as a passenger left the roadway and went down an embankment.

The consequences of his frontal lobe damage included inappropriate behaviour, impulsiveness
 and reduced temper control. It also shortened his attention span and made his short
 term memory unreliable.

Whilst he did not need any domestic assistance or other care his future employment 
was problematic.

His claim was brought against the Third Party insurer of the car in which he was
 travelling. Liability was admitted and the case was settled out of court.


MIRACULOUS RECOVERY

Rachael, 18 years, was driving to her place of work when a ladder fell from a truck 
in front of her causing her to instinctively swerve to her right which resulted in
 a head-on collision with a car coming in the opposite direction.

She suffered a severe brain injury which left her in a coma for several weeks. 
Fortunately, she made a miraculous recovery and was discharged to her family home
 where she required only minimal care. She later became independent.

She was able to return to her work as a shop assistant on a part-time basis. She 
continued to have some difficulties with fatigue and short term memory.

The Third Party insurer, whilst admitting that the driver of the truck was at fault,
 alleged that she contributed to the accident for not having kept a proper lookout
 and failing to exercise proper care. The matter was settled out of court for a sizeable 
amount, with no discount for contributory negligence.


POLICE OFFICER RENDERED PARAPLEGIC

An off duty Police officer on a motor cycle was struck by a car doing a U-turn.
 Liability was hotly contested by the insurer and it was necessary to engage several
 reconstruction and biomechanical experts to give evidence in relation to the circumstances 
of the accident. Our client was rendered a paraplegic but was able to resume work 
with re-training to be a Police Prosecutor. The case settled for several million 
dollars.


MOTOR CYCLIST SUFFERS BRAIN INJURY

Luke, 40, suffered catastrophic brain injury when his motor cycle left the roadway 
and struck a pole. It was alleged on his behalf that he was forced off the road
by an unidentified car which had strayed onto his side of the road.

Accordingly his claim for compensation was made against the Nominal Defendant.

Luke remained profoundly disabled and required assistance with all aspects of daily 
life. He was confined to a wheelchair.

Liability was denied on behalf of the Nominal Defendant on the basis that there 
was no car and that the reason Luke’s motorcycle left the road was because he had 
an epileptic episode. Medical records revealed that Luke had been an epileptic for
 many years and had a history of being non-compliant with his medication.


PILLION PASSENGER INJURED

We acted for a 44 year old man who suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of
 a motorcycle accident. Our client was travelling as a pillion passenger on his own 
motorcycle when the rider of the motorcycle lost control while going around a bend.
Our client’s injuries included serious spinal injuries resulting in paraplegia as 
well as several fractures and head injuries.

The insurer for the rider of the motorcycle denied liability claiming that our client
 caused the accident because he did not lean with the motorcycle as it went around 
the bend. At the scene our client had told witnesses that he caused the accident.

The claim was successfully settled at mediation with a modest deduction for client’s
 contribution to the accident.


ELDERLY PEDESTRIAN SUFFERS BRAIN INJURY

Our client, an 80 year old, stony deaf, pensioner, was attempting to cross a busy road in Sydney, and was about to step onto the footpath on the other side of the road, when he was struck in the head by the left wing mirror of a passing truck.

As a consequence our client, who had been living independently before the accident, suffered a traumatic brain injury and has since had to reside in a nursing home.

Our client had suffered a brain injury many years before the road accident following an assault.  However the brain injury suffered in the road accident made his cognitive deficits much worse.

The insurer, not surprisingly, denied liability on the basis that our client was the author of his own misfortune by crossing a busy road in a dangerous place, and not crossing at a marked pedestrian crossing.

The case went to court and the driver and witnesses gave evidence.  Our client couldn’t give evidence because of his brain injury and his stone deafness.

After 3 days of court hearing the judge found the driver to be 80% at fault and awarded our client a significant sum for his pain and suffering.


PEDESTRIAN LEFT UNEMPLOYABLE

Richard, 40, suffered catastrophic brain injury when he was struck by a car whilst
he was trying to cross a quiet Canberra road on a dark wet night. He was intoxicated
but nevertheless almost made it across the road when he was struck.

His claim was brought against the Third Party insurer of the car which hit him.
 The insurance company, whilst admitting liability, alleged that Richard was a major
 contributor to the accident and sought a hefty discount for contributory negligence.

Richard’s brain injury resulted in him requiring a high degree of care and rendering
 him unemployable. He received a multi million dollar settlement.