Severely injured truck driver receives $1.1m in compensation

Court awards more than $1 million to a truck driver who suffered severe injuries in a head-on collision

Severely injured truck driver receives $1.1m in compensation
Severely injured truck driver receives $1.1m in compensation
By Brad Gardner | November 20, 2013

A truck driver who suffered extensive injuries in a head-on collision and who still requires ongoing medical treatment has received $1.1 million in compensation.

The District Court of New South Wales ordered NRMA Insurance to pay Kenneth Caterson the sum after a crash in June 2008 that left him with chest, neck, shoulder and spinal injuries and depression.

A Chubb armoured security van, which NRMA was the insurer of, crossed onto the wrong side of the road and into the path of the then 55-year-old Caterson at Mt Keira in NSW. The driver of the van died, while Caterson was left with lasting injuries.

"In addition to the physical injuries, the plaintiff suffered a substantial psychological shock in the events of the accident," District Court Judge Leonard Levy says in his ruling.

"Inter-mixed with that shock was his upset on learning that the driver of the other vehicle had been killed in the collision. The combination of those events has continued to have an emotional effect on the plaintiff."

Caterson has undergone multiple scans, examinations, treatments, injections and ongoing specialist consultations between June 2008 and this year due to the crash.

Levy says Caterson continues to suffer from ongoing pain in his neck and spine, has feelings of pins and needles in his left hand, suffers from dizziness and has difficulty standing and walking for extended periods.

"He has reduced mobility, strength and dexterity. This interferes with his leisure activities and with his capacity to work," the judge says.

"The plaintiff’s ongoing physical disabilities preclude him from engaging in sustained physical activities of the kind he undertook before his injury. This includes a wide range of domestic and home maintenance tasks."

Levy says prior to the accident Caterson would wash clothes, clean and take care of all the outdoor gardening, lawns and maintenance around the home.

"Since the accident, he has only been able to carry out minor tasks, such as dusting. His wife and one of his sons do the domestic work he used to do," Levy says.

He says the accident has left Caterson with disturbed sleep, nightmares, chronic depression, anxiety, mood swings and irritability.

"These matters relate not only to the restrictive effects his physical disabilities have upon him, but they also relate to the times when he thinks about the accident and the death of the driver," Levy says.

The judge adds that Caterson is unlikely to resume his career as a truck driver. The court was told he intended to work until the age of 70.

"He is suited for little else in the way of work at his age," Levy adds.

"The plaintiff still requires ongoing medical review and treatment, including medication for pain relief. He is also continuing to have physiotherapy for his left shoulder problems."

The damages awarded to Caterson cover past and future economic losses, out-of-pocket expenses and future loss of superannuation. NRMA was also ordered to pay the truck driver’s court costs.

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