“Sam”, our client in a recent claim, was ten years of age when his mother was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident when her car was hit by a vehicle being driven by an intoxicated driver.

A claim for compensation under the NSW Compensation to Relatives legislation was litigated on behalf of the four children of the deceased, against the CTP Insurer for the driver at fault in the accident. Settlement was reached with the Insurer and the children were subsequently compensated for the loss of economic support that their mother would have provided to them. Sam, being the youngest, received the greatest amount of compensation.

In addition, a claim form was lodged by this firm on behalf of Sam with the CTP Insurer for the driver at fault in the accident within six months of the date of the accident, putting the Insurer on notice that Sam had suffered nervous shock from the circumstances of the death of his mother.

Subsequently, and over time, it was realized by his father that Sam had suffered significant psychological damage as a result of the shock he sustained at the death of his mother. Now in his teens, he was diagnosed as suffering from a persistent depressive disorder with low mood, sleep disturbance, feelings of hopelessness inadequacy and suicidal thinking. He also developed a phobia about travelling in any form of motor vehicle. The Insurer agreed that Sam’s level of impairment was so severe as to entitle Sam to general damages under the Motor Accident Compensation Act 1999, and as his condition was likely to impact on his earning capacity in the future Sam was also compensated for future economic loss.

Settlement was reached with the Insurer, and the settlement approved by the Court. The proceeds of both settlements have been paid to the NSW Trustee and Guardian, to be held until Sam attains the age of 18 years.

If a member of your family has been killed in a car accident that was not their fault, you could be entitled to compensation. You can contact Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 45 8142 or by making an online enquiry, to obtain friendly advice about your circumstances from one of our compensation experts.

Written by Sue Owen.

Sue Owen is a solicitor in Ian Chipchase’s practice group. Sue works with Ian on a variety of compensation claims including accidents on the road.