Worker's $456k payday four years after Sunshine Coast crash
A former construction worker seriously injured when a car crashed into the back of the car he was driving as he waited at a Coast intersection has been awarded $456,000 in damages.
Union delegate Beau Seiffert was driving his partner's Toyota Yaris which was stopped on Razorback Road at Montville when the life-changing crash happened.
A Maroochydore District Court judgment published this week said the couple were in the hinterland celebrating Mr Seiffert's birthday.
They had checked out of their accommodation, grabbed some coffees and were waiting at the intersection of Main Street when a Toyota Camry being driven by Joshua Burton Chadwick crashed into the back of the car they were in about 8.30am on October 7, 2016.
Mr Seiffert's partner was in the front passenger seat.
The court heard the impact was sufficient to "shunt" their car into the intersection.
Mr Seiffert, 37, claimed damages for injuries to his spine and shoulder as well as the impacts those injuries had on his life.
They included a loss of capacity to do many former activities such as weight training and long distance driving.
His claim sought damages for past and future income loss.
He had a lengthy work history in construction including as a fly-in, fly-out labourer and crane operator and before the accident had been working in high rise construction for international company Multiplex on two Brisbane projects.
His claim was disputed by the Victorian State Government's Transport Accident Commission, which was Mr Chadwick's third party insurer and the second defendant in the case.
The commission argued Mr Seiffert either did not sustain any injury as a consequence of the crash or if he did, it was minor, transitory and long since resolved.
Among its reasons the commission said Mr Seiffert's allegations were untrue and he had only seen a doctor after reporting the accident to police and consulting a solicitor.
The court heard Mr Seiffert was in pain when he returned to construction work three days after the crash and pushed through pain for weeks as he was concerned he might lose his job.
He continued his role while receiving massages and taking pain relief until an opportunity arose in August 2017 to take a permanent position with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.
The court heard Mr Seiffert had taken the lower paid role and missed out on an opportunity to work on the Queens Wharf project in Brisbane as he thought continuing in construction would aggravate his crash injuries.
Judge Gary Long heard evidence from an occupational therapist, two orthopaedic surgeons and Mr Seiffert.
He said Mr Seiffert "impressed as a frank witness without any indication of tendency to embellish or overstate the situation".
Judge Long awarded Mr Seiffert a total of $456,640.30 in damages, which included $77,348 for past economic loss and $309,300 for future economic loss.
The legal representatives of Mr Seiffert and Mr Chadwick were reached for comment but declined.