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Plumbridge v Pandelis [2022] SADC 42

Injured cyclist awarded $270,000 in damages, lay witness evidence the key

Case Background

A 25-year-old female was injured in a motor vehicle accident whilst riding her bike to work. The cyclist sued the driver of the vehicle who caused the collision and claimed compensation as a result of her physical and mental injuries sustained as a result of the accident.  

What injuries did the cyclist sustain?

The cyclist had multiple injuries with the dominant injury being to her right shoulder. The applicant also sustained considerable mental injury including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The injuries required ongoing medical treatment and impacted the injured cyclist's ability to perform work duties on an unrestricted basis.

 

What damages were awarded by the Court?

The Court found that the injured cyclist suffered physical and mental injuries as a result of the accident. The injured cyclist received an award of $271,864 in damages.

 

In coming to this assessment, the Court considered multiple factors which led to this award, including the loss of wages that the injured cyclist was likely to suffer in the future, past and future medical expenses to be incurred, and the level of her pain and suffering as a result of the accident.

Judge Thomas accepted that it was “unlikely” that the applicant would be able to fulfil the requirements of her pre-accident role as a permanent team leader, or to progress to any more senior and higher remunerated position involving people management, as a result of her accident-related PTSD.

In this case, the Court calculated the award for future economic loss by reference to the difference between the injured cyclist's current salary as a credit assessor, compared to what she would have earned as a permanent team leader. 

What are some of the key takeaways from this case?

A very important aspect of this case was that a significant allowance for future economic loss was awarded by the Court, after placing considerable emphasis on the witness evidence given at Trial by the injured cyclist's employers. 

 

The evidence given by the injured cyclist’s employers included that she had an inability to regulate her emotions in dealing with conflict with subordinates and her superior in the workplace thereby adversely affecting her functional capacity to meet the basic requirements of the position of team leader. This demonstrates that lay witness evidence can become crucial at Trial. 

What does this case mean?

 

This case shows the potential entitlement to compensation of an injured road user in South Australia. 

This case is one of only a handful of motor vehicle accident cases that have progressed to Trial in South Australia since the implementation of the Civil Liability Regulations 2013 (SA) in South Australia.  

It is crucial to know what your entitlements to compensation are before accepting any amounts for compensation from any insurance company, after having been injured in a motor vehicle accident. It is equally important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible regarding your potential entitlements.

 

Contact us today if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident to discuss what your potential entitlements are, so that you are fully informed. Our first consult is free.   

Personal Injury Lawyers Adelaide

ADDRESS

2/60 HUTT STREET

ADELAIDE SA 5000

E: ADMIN@NDMLAWYERS.COM.AU | TEL (08) 7081 7557

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