We were recently successful in proceedings before the NSW Court of Appeal acting for the father of a young person who suffered a severe brain injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
Our client, the young boy’s father, had parked his car with a boat attached outside his home with the intention of opening the gate and backing it into the driveway. He asked his son to get out of the car to open the gate. The decision to ask him turned out be tragic.
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As so often happens, the young man dashed out from the front of the vehicle into the path of an oncoming car, the driver of which really had no chance to see him and stop.
He took action against his father claiming that he was negligent relating to the manner in which he had stopped the vehicle and asked his son to get out to open the gate.
Our client, the father, did not have enough money to meet what was certain to be substantial amounts of compensation but claimed that he should be covered by his compulsory third party insurance (Greenslip) because the accident occurred in the use and operation of a motor vehicle.
Unfortunately for our client his insurance company disagreed and said that the insurance policy did not cover the damage to his son. When he came and saw us he was devastated. Not only did he need to deal with the horrible guilty and trauma relating to his son’s injuries but now confronted an insurer who denied liability.
We took the matter up on his behalf before the District Court and were successful. The insurer was not satisfied and decided to appeal to the New South Wales Court of Appeal. The matter was then heard before three Judges of the Court of Appeal who agreed with the District Court Judge and decided in our client’s favour.
We hoped it would stop there. He was at least able to content himself with the fact that an insurer would at least pay for his son’s future needs for medical and other care.
Unfortunately, the insurer was not content to stop there. The insurer sought leave to appeal the matter to the High Court and the matter was listed for preliminary argument before three Judges of the High Court of Australia. The insurer tried to convince the High Court that the matter was one that the High Court should consider and that the decision of both the original Judge in the District Court and the Court of Appeal should be overturned.
We are happy to announce that the High Court refused the insurer’s argument. It has been a long and traumatic journey for our client, but at least he now knows that his son will be entitled to a substantial sum of compensation that will help ease the financial burden for the family in the future.