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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
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Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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Regarding an accident. Recently a friend was knocked over in

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Regarding an accident. Recently a friend was knocked over in a car park by another person who came rushing out from between two cars - no vehicles involved just person to person. My friend ended up being taken to hospital - they needed two procedures to try to relocated their elbow and then she was taken to the city hospital where she underwent further surgery to have shattered bone removed - (in all they lost around 20% of the elbow bones - obviously leaving them unable to have full mobility for the rest of their life).
They could not work or drive for 6 weeks and the injury also impinged on them assisting an elderly parent who they care for. They have paid for physio and have also had physio through the hospital. Since returning to their doctor for a check up they have been informed that the bones have dropped and that they need immediate surgery to correct the problem further. They are now in a position of losing their job as they will now need a further 6 weeks sick leave and are still working off the last 6 weeks leave.
What is their position regarding trying to sue the person that knocked them over or the shopping centre?
Again they may be left without a job and they can no longer care for the elderly parent.
Can they identify this other person and what do they know about them?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They think that they work at the shopping centre. They also had a feeling the other person was on their mobile phone at the time they came rushing from between the cars. Obviously they can follow up and check if they do work at the centre.

Sounds like they might have a case.

Just leaving the office now but will have a full answer later today.


Hello again,

If the person who collided with your friend can be shown to have been negligent in some way so as to cause the collision then legally they are liable to compensate your friend for any losses they may have suffered, through medical expenses or if it affects their employment, and may further be obliged to compensate them for pain and suffering depending on how serious the injuries are.

A court will normally find negligence if a person is not watching where they are going or otherwise walks or runs in a way which poses a foreseeable risk to other persons. Being on a mobile phone is not itself negligent, but may suggest that they were distracted and not watching where they were going as carefully as they ought. So on balance it does appear this person may have been negligent and should therefore be liable for your friend's injuries.

To proceed with such a claim your friend will need to engage a personal injury lawyer as cases of this involve the preparation and assessment of quite complex documents, including affidavits, court pleadings, medico-legal expert reports on the injuries and their long term prognosis. They are not matters which parties should attempt to litigate on their own.

If legal expense is a problem then some lawyers may be willing to take claims of this sort on the basis that payment will be contingent on achieving a settlement of some sort and payment can largely be deferred till after compensation is received (though generally this can only apply to the lawyers fees, not court fees, or other expert witness fees, so it is important to read and understand any costs agreement proposed by the lawyer before engaging them.

Finally, also be aware that there is always the question as to whether the person you are paying will be able to meet any compensation claim. If they have no money and are uninsured, then likely you won't be able to recover much from them regardless of how much compensation the court orders paid. The court can't make people pay money they don't have. Fortunately, many people, even those who own few assets are actually covered by public liability insurance. This is because public liability coverage is usually attached to all home and/or contents policies and usually covers all members of the household against claims of this sort. So even if the individual in question has no money, if he lives in a home covered by such a policy he likely will be entitled to coverage, so your friend, if successful in her claim, would ultimately be paid by an insurer and could be very confident the insurer will be able to pay. Whether this person is insured or otherwise has assets is, however, something your friend's solicitor should try to investigate early so as not to waste time and money chasing a claim from someone who won't be able to pay.

If your friend needs assistance locating a suitable lawyer she should contact the Western Australian Law Society as they can refer her to suitable personal injury lawyers in her area.

I trust the above assists.

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Thank you and good luck.


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