Can I get compensation for personal injuries?

Background

In the early hours of the morning, Mr Hawkins was cycling along the Pacific Highway at St Leonards when a car vehicle approached him from behind with its lights flashing and its horn beeping. The driver pulled alongside Mr Hawkins, so he moved from the road to the footpath to avoid the harassing driving. The car continued to drive alongside Mr Hawkins with music blaring. Suddenly, he was struck by an object thrown from the car and the car sped away. Mr Hawkins lost control of his bike, and ran into a piece of metal which was lying on the footpath. His tyres blew out, and he collided with a telegraph pole, sustaining personal injuries.

The primary judge found that the object was thrown from the vehicle, the driver drove in a manner which allowed the object to be thrown, and the action of throwing an object was likely to injure Mr Hawkins. As a result, the injury was caused by the fault of the driver.

The CTP insurer appealed the decision. In dismissing the appeal, the NSW Court of Appeal held that there was driving fault in harassing Mr Hawkins, and the throwing of the object could be properly considered as part of harassing driving of the vehicle. It was impossible to separate the driving of the vehicle from the particular act in the circumstances. The NSW Court of Appeal confirmed that harassing driving causing personal injury will result in compensation.

Similarly…

In Queensland recently, Monique Harris was riding along a bikeway to work one morning when she hit her head on a plank of wood sticking out of Andre Montaigne’s vehicle. Monique was knocked from her bicycle and suffered personal injury.

Decision

The court found in Monique’s favour because the accident was caused by the fault of Andre Montaigne, who had failed to ensure that his load was secured safely.

Lessons

These cases broaden the traditional definition of a motor vehicle accident. They indicate that so long as an accident is caused by the fault of the driver of the motor vehicle, the CTP insurer will compensate for any personal injury.  It appears that the motor vehicle itself does not have to be involved in the actual accident.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

For more information, please contact:
Matthew Bridger | e: mbridger@elringtons.com.au | p: 02 6206 1300 http://elringtons.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Specialist-accreditaion.jpg