Injured electrician awarded a record $1.28m after accident

FOR the past five years, Joshua Martin's life has been a constant series of unfortunate events - until now.

On July 1, 2011, the 44-year-old former Dululu electrician was involved in a motor vehicle accident on the Peak Downs Hwy north of Clermont - his stationary vehicle was struck from behind at speed and shunted forward into another vehicle.

Due to the back injuries he suffered in the crash, Mr Martin has since been unable to work as an electrician, has struggled to find other employment, has had to shut down his business, sell his family farm and all possessions, has lost all his savings and superannuation to bills and has been living between caravan parks and sleeping rough in a swag under a tarp or tent.

Mr Martin's life last week took a turn for the better when he was awarded in excess of $1.28 million in damages in the Queensland Supreme Court at Rockhampton for the injuries he sustained in the 2011 crash.

The judgment, by Justice Duncan Meekin, is considered to be the highest in any jurisdiction in Australia for a non-catastrophically injured electrician.

The decision highlights the importance of ensuring injured people are not restricted in being able to pursue recovery of adequate compensation caused by the negligence of others; in this case, the driver of the other vehicle involved in Mr Martin's accident.

Cale Fryer, Senior Associate with Hall Payne Lawyers, acted for Mr Martin.

Mr Fryer noted that if Queensland had thresholds in place similar to those in other states then Mr Martin would have most probably been denied his right to seek compensation.

"This seemingly moderate injury has had a very significant adverse impact upon his ability to earn income in his chosen trade," Mr Fryer said.

"Even a 5% threshold (if it was in place) would most probably have meant that my client would not have been able to pursue his right to seek compensation due to the negligence of the other driver."

"We have a well funded compulsory-third-party (motor vehicle) insurance scheme in place in Queensland, which is fair, and this case highlights the importance of keeping it that way.

"My client can now get on with trying to get his life back together.

"While this award won't relieve him of the many challenges he will continue to face going forward, it will allow him to obtain a reasonable quality of life.

"A reasonable quality of life which has been denied him since the accident."

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