Truck driver wins appeal for compensation claim

Removalist company potentially faces a significant compensation bill after injured truck driver wins appeal to have his payout reviewed

By Brad Gardner | April 21, 2010

A removalist company potentially faces a significant compensation bill after its former truck driver won an appeal to have his payout reviewed.

The NSW Supreme Court ordered the District Court to take another look at its decision to award Daniel McKay $234, 867.75 for future economic loss from injuries he sustained while lifting a marble table top.

District Court Judge Judith Gibson decided the payout on the basis McKay would have stayed working as a heavy rigid truck driver in the removalist sector.

But in their written judgement, judges Margaret Beazley and Anthony Whealy ruled the District Court failed to consider McKay’s desire to work as an interstate B-double driver – an occupation which pays significantly more.

"Accordingly, her Honour’s assessment of future economic loss miscarried," the judgement reads.

McKay argued the payout should be based on the likelihood he would become an interstate truck driver because he obtained a multiple combination licence prior to the accident and had worked for JMA Brothers and Scotts Car Carriers before his injuries forced him to stop.

He injured his neck, arms and back while he and another removalist tried to carry the 100kg table top while working for Palmers Removalists and Storage.

In the original matter, Gibson ruled that Palmers acted negligently because the table top required four people to carry it.

As well as compensation for future economic loss, Gibson awarded $124,987.58 for past economic loss.

McKay was eventually admitted to hospital for his injuries and underwent surgery.

He was unable to continue as a truck driver because he was restricted to lifting 15kg.

"That restriction would not allow him to drive any form of heavy vehicle, or perform any form of work associated with such vehicles, including driving vehicles that were not as heavy as a B-double," the judgement says.

During a psychological assessment, McKay said his "vocational aspiration" had been to work as a truck driver since his schooldays.

Palmers was ordered to cover McKay’s appeal costs and to enter into mediation with the driver before the case was reviewed by the District Court.

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