Compensation Awards (an example – Justice North, Queensland Supreme Court – 18 December 2019)

The purpose of this series of articles is to provide examples of various awards of compensation (otherwise referred to as ‘damages’) made by courts in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

In Griffin v Burleigh Marr Distributions Pty Ltd & Anor [2019] QSC 321 (18 December 2019) a long-haul truck driver succeeded in establishing negligence on the part of his employer. The case turned on the employer’s failure to replace or properly repair a defective seat.

The plaintiff sustained an acute disc prolapse in his spine requiring surgery. A sustained a secondary condition of an adjustment disorder with depressed mood that was found to be in partial remission by the time the matter reached trial. The Plaintiff was 33 when he initially sustained injury. He was 38 years old when the Judgment was handed down.

Justice North gave judgment for the Plaintiff against the Defendant with the following award for damages:

General damages for pain and suffering

This figure was agreed between the parties

Award: $29,920.

Past economic loss

Justice North assessed the Plaintiff’s total potential earnings at $294,000. The Plaintiff’s actual net earnings were $69,932.11. There was some rounding of the figure to allow for earnings post trial.

Award: $215,000

Interest on past economic loss

Award: $9,598.13

Past loss of superannuation

It was agreed between the parties that the loss would be calculated at a rate of 9.25% per annum.

Award: $19,887.50

Past special damages

The amount for past expenses incurred as a result of the injury by the Plaintiff were agreed between the parties.

Award: $39,644.29

Interest on past special damages

Agreed between the parties.

Award: $143.06

Future medical and out of pocket expenses

Agreed between the parties.

Award: $13,000

Fox v Wood component

Agreed between the parties

Award: $7,808

Refund to Workcover Qld

Agreed between the parties.

Award: $76,335.46

Future economic loss

Justice North accepted the Plaintiff’s submission of a notional retirement at age 70. Based on the historical earnings of truck drivers in the Townsville area and the Plaintiff’s background and circumstances, he concluded notional future earnings of $1,000 net per week were appropriate. Compared with the Plaintiff’s current weekly earnings, the difference came to $370 per week. Justice North allowed a reduction of 15% for vicissitudes of life and other contingencies.

Award: $265,750.

Future superannuation benefits

It was agreed between the parties that the loss would be calculated at a rate of 11.265 per annum.

Award: $29,937

How do I get in touch with you?

For more information, and to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make an online enquiry.

Written by Alexander Morrison

Alexander Morrison is a Practice Group Leader specialising in motor vehicle claims and public liability claims that occur both within Australia and overseas.