'Ludicrous' claim against Toll thrown out

Motorist who cut off a B-double tries to seek $6,000 in damages after the truck collided with his vehicle

'Ludicrous' claim against Toll thrown out
'Ludicrous' claim against Toll thrown out
By Brad Gardner | June 2, 2011

The Victorian Supreme Court has thrown out a "ludicrous" claim from a motorist who cut off a B-double and then tried to seek damages when the truck collided with him.

Alen Tomasevic claimed he was denied natural justice when the Moorabbin Magistrates Court rejected his bid for $6,000 in damages from Toll Holdings after his car was written off in the incident.

Tomasevic was driving in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh on June 20 last year when he cut in front of the Toll-owned B-double and slammed on his brakes to turn right, leaving the rig only about 20 to 30 metres to stop.

Moorabbin Magistrate Rodney Crisp found Tomasevic was at fault and awarded a counterclaim of $5,972 with interest of $252 and court costs of $2,347.

Tomasevic’s father, who spoke for his son during the Supreme Court appeal, claimed the magistrate was biased and only accepted one side of the story.

He also accused Toll’s lawyer of putting words in his son’s mouth, before stating: "The magistrate ignored the public interest in letting off a dangerous truck driver."

"This is ludicrous," Supreme Court Justice Nemeer Mukhtar ruled.

"The proceedings were conducted in an orderly and fair fashion and the plaintiff was given every opportunity to give his explanation for how the accident occurred, and did so."

The court was told the Toll driver with 35 years of experience did not have enough time to stop when Tomasevic cut in front of him.

"He said that he quickly applied the brakes which works on both sets of trailers but could not avoid the impact," Mukhtar says.

In his written judgement, the justice says the driver approached Tomasevic after the incident demanding to know why he cut in front of him.

The 24-year-old university student responded: "I gave you 20 metres; you should have been able to stop."

Mukhtar upheld Crisp’s finding that Tomasevic did not give the truck enough time to stop.

"He concluded the plaintiff was negligent in moving around the truck and giving the truck no room to stop," Mukhtar says.

"As for the load speed impact, the magistrate put that down to the driver’s quick reaction and his good brakes."

Tomasevic’s passenger, Amy Lee, gave evidence during initial proceedings that it was the first time the pair were travelling in the area and had to turn around because they took the wrong direction at an intersection.

Mukhtar says Tomasevic was preoccupied with turning right rather than giving the truck enough time to stop.

Despite protestations from the driver’s father, Mukhtar found that Crisp conducted a fair trial.

"I think I have said enough in this case to state, resolutely, that there is not a particle of evidence that there was denial of natural justice," he says.

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