A 2011 case in front of the New South Wales courts has highlighted the duty of care that an owner of a vehicle has towards the driver.

car condition
Driving in New South Wales can be a dangerous endeavour. This is compounded when a vehicle is not in a road worthy state. In cases like these it is essential you talk to a compensation lawyer, who can help you meet the costs of your medical bills that arise from a crash involving a poorly maintained vehicle.

But who is responsible for a crash if you are not the owner of the car you are driving? A 2011 case before the New South Wales Court of Appeal can help people understand the obligations of car owners when someone else is driving their vehicle.

Driving crashes increasing in New South Wales

With so many people on the road, New South Wales drivers face a number of hazards that sit outside of their control.

Figures released by the state government show there was a 21 per cent increase in road deaths between February 2015 and 2016 – rising by 61.

This comes off the back of a report from the ABC that used figures from the New South Wale government to highlight 2015 had the highest road toll in three years.

“There’s an increasing number of people who are distracted and texting,” said NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay, according to the article.

With the ever increasing risks posed by hazardous drivers, you need to be on your toes. But if something does go wrong, it is important to contact an injury lawyer who can advise you on your options.

But other drivers are not the only issue that can lead to a crash and serious injury. In some instances, the mechanical condition of the car can have a major impact on a driver’s ability.

Bald tyres lead to major crash

A 2011 case that was taken to the New South Wales Court of Appeal highlighted the responsibilities and obligations a driver and owner in relation to one another.

The Judge considered whether it was the responsibility of the driver to check the condition of a car before driving it. The plaintiff was asked by the defendant to drive his vehicle because the defendant was too intoxicated.

While the plaintiff was driving through a roundabout, he lost control and crashed into a telegraph pole. The reason for the loss of control was blamed on the condition of the tyres, which were bald at the time.

The Court of Appeal decided the owner had a responsibility to ensure the defective vehicle was not driven. This is due to the owner having the best knowledge of the condition of the car, while the driver was unaware that the tyres were in need of replacing.

Defective car can lead to owner liability

In cases where a owner is aware that aspects of the vehicle are faulty, they have a duty of care towards the driver. While the defendant did warn the driver that the tyres were bald, he failed to satisfy the obligation of care by preventing the driver from operating the vehicle.

Additionally, the court found that if the driver did not have reasonable cause to doubt the integrity of the vehicle, they are not required to ask the owner whether the care is roadworthy, thus avoiding liability for any accidents.

What can we learn from the case?

The accident is noteworthy because it highlights that vehicle owners have a duty of care to drivers and any issues around road worthiness are their responsibility not that of the drivers.

In cases like these, it is essential that drivers seek assistance of an experienced compensation lawyer. With serious injury and associated medical costs, a car accident can lead to physical, emotional and financial loss.

At PK Simpson, we offer a no win, no fee policy that can ensure you are properly compensated for your injury, with our costs deducted from a winning settlement. If you would like to know more, contact PK Simpson today.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: If you’ve had a motor car accident, stop your vehicle and turn on your hazard lights. Make sure nobody is injured, and if so, call emergency 000 and remain at the scene of the accident. If it’s a minor incident you don’t need to call the police, but move the damaged cars if possible. Never admit responsibility even if you think you were at fault. Collect name, address, registration number and insurance details from the other parties and get witness details if possible.
A: Motor accident compensation claims are normally finalised after you’ve recovered, or your injuries have stabilised. It can take some people longer to recover than others – from days to years – which determines the length of time it can take to finalise a claim. Also, your injuries may not always appear immediately after the accident and can take some time to appear, in some cases, years.

A: In a carpark, anyone driving in the lanes has the right of way, so if you’re the one pulling out of the car space and hit another motor vehicle, you are likely to be the majority at fault in the accident. However, since both cars are moving, both drivers might hold some responsibility. But if you hit a parked car, you are likely at fault.

A: When lodging a claim for compensation after a motor vehicle accident it’s best to do it as soon as possible. However, it isn’t always feasible if you were severely injured and couldn’t file a claim straight away. There are time limits, however, so get someone to call a lawyer at PK Simpson for you to lodge a claim at least within six months of the crash.

A: The length of time you have to make your claim depends on the jurisdiction.

For instance:

  • TPD claims – these may be commenced up to 10 years after you’ve stopped work. TPD claims are very technical and you may have more than one TPD claim.
  • Car accident claims – A personal injury claim form should be filled in and sent to your CTP insurer as early as possible, but must be no later than six months from the date of your accident. HOWEVER, out of time claims may be made. New NSW CTP laws have made it difficult for injured people and many law firms still do not understand how to run new claims under these laws – so call us at PK Simpson Sydney as soon as possible.
  • Workers compensation claims – You should contact a lawyer within six months of the accident. But remember, out of time claims can be handled by PK Simpson Sydney. We can help you get the treatment required to build your claim.
  • Slip ‘n’ fall/occupiers liability claims – Your claim must be lodged usually within three years of the date of your accident.

Medical Negligence – within three years of the date of when the cause of action was discoverable to our client OR 12 years from the time of the act or omission which caused the injury through negligence.

A: At PK Simpson compensation lawyers we operate on a no-win, no-fee basis. However, for detailed information on the legal costs that can be charged for statutory benefits CTP Insurance car accident claims in NSW click on this link.