Driver found negligent – 9 million in damages

Monday , 11, July 2016 Leave a comment

CASE : Hendricks v El Dik (No 4) [2016] ACTSC 160


In this negligence case a person was was riding bicycle fitted with electric motor.  As he was riding along he collided with car as it exited driveway.

The plaintiff was riding his electric bicycle home from work on 20 January 2012.  He travelled along a bicycle path from his workplace in Belconnen to his home in Macgregor.  A portion of that path travelled along the footpath of Milford Street in Latham.  A number of driveways crossed that footpath including the driveway of the property owned by the first defendant.  The first defendant was reversing his Jeep Wrangler out of his driveway when the plaintiff collided with the left hand side of the vehicle.  As a result of the collision the plaintiff was rendered a quadriplegic.  The plaintiff has claimed damages.  Subject to determination of the issues of liability and contributory negligence, damages have been agreed at $12 million.

HELD – It is not reasonable for defendant to reverse out of driveway at 8.8 km//h where his visibility ‘extremely limited’ and where he was crossing path he knew to be regularly used by cyclists and where and there were ‘reasonably safe alternatives available to him at minimal cost’.

When reversing out of your driveway, you are also obliged to give way to pedestrians and vehicles on shared path by Australian Road Rules.  In this case the illegality of the electric bicycle was no basis to reduce damages.  Judgment for plaintiff in sum of 9 million dollars.



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