Matthew Garling of Garling & Co Lawyers recently represented Ronald Dowedeit in a motor vehicle accident case against the nominal defendant.
A person is able to sue the ‘Nominal Defendant’ when the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident is uninsured or unknown.
In this case Mr Dowedeit was found by his neighbours in front of his first floor apartment lying on the footpath in a pool of his own blood, with extensive
orthopaedic injuries. It was unclear whether the extensive injuries suffered by Mr Dowedeit were the result of a hit and run, or if he had instead
fallen from his balcony.
However, on the afternoon of the accident Mr Dowedeit remembered standing on his balcony and then going downstairs and outside. Once outside Mr Dowedeit
recalled beginning to cross the road when he was jolted backwards.
At the trial, the Judge was open to make the finding that Mr Dowedeit had either been hit by a car, fallen from his balcony, or any other probable cause.
After examining the expert evidence and the evidence of Mr Dowedeit the Judge found that it was more probable that Mr Dowedeit had been hit by a car
rather than suffering the injuries from a fall.
Mr Dowedeits’ damages were reduced to account for contributory negligence as he gave evidence that he sometimes did not look when crossing the road. Mr Dowedeit was awarded damages in the amount of $175,000.
The Nominal Defendant appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal. The Court found the trial judge had made no error and confirmed the decision.
Read the Judgement of the Court of Appeal http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nsw/NSWCA/2016/332.html
GARLING & CO 2017