4 August 2022

Driver 'over the moon' with $200,000 appeal win after injury in Clyde Mountain crash

| Albert McKnight
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Road near Clyde Mountain

A woman has won her appeal over a crash near Clyde Mountain (pictured) in 2014. Photo: Alex Rea.

A woman who was injured after being forced to take evasive action at an accident site near Clyde Mountain has been awarded $200,000 by the NSW Court of Appeal.

Lisa Maree Collins is reportedly “over the moon” by the court’s decision, which ordered Insurance Australia Ltd to fork out the payment on Tuesday (2 August).

The Crookwell resident was driving along Kings Highway at Monga in August 2014 when, after a long blind bend, she suddenly came upon a queue of stationary vehicles.

About half an hour before, a driver had driven onto the wrong side of the road and collided with another vehicle and the line of motorists had pulled up in front of the accident.

To avoid crashing into the queued vehicles, Ms Collins drove her car up an embankment on the side of the road, causing it to overturn. She suffered injuries.

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The driver who caused the crash had died by the time she began proceedings in the NSW District Court and her claim was brought against the driver’s compulsory third-party insurer, Insurance Australia.

In August 2021, the NSW District Court’s Judge Alistair Abadee ruled that the insurer was not liable for Ms Collins’ injuries, finding the insurance policy did not cover the claim because the injuries were not the result of a “dangerous situation caused by the driving of the vehicle”.

However Ms Collins appealed the decision and the Court of Appeal ruled in her favour, also ordering the insurer to pay her court costs.

The Court of Appeal’s Justice Anthony Meagher, Justice Jeremy Kirk and Acting Justice John Basten found there were several reasons why the insured driver did create a “dangerous situation”.

Stacks Law Firm managing director Justin Stack

Stacks Law Firm managing director Justin Stack has welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision. Photo: Supplied.

The queue of vehicles was not visible to a driver until about 60 metres away, the existence of the queue could not have been anticipated by a reasonable driver, it was not necessary for a driver to drive at less than 60 km/h where the speed limit was 90 km/h, and a car driving at 60 km/h could not stop in time without difficulty.

The appeal court also said the insured driver owed a duty of care to Ms Collins.

“A negligent driver who causes a collision on a regional highway creates a risk of injury to other road users who were not involved in the initial collision,” Acting Justice Basten and Justice Meagher said.

But the court did find that Ms Collins was 20 per cent contributorily negligent.

“The driver of the rear-most vehicle in the queue and the vehicle behind the plaintiff were able to avoid a collision and injury,” the three said.

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Stacks Law Firm, who represented Ms Collins in her successful appeal, said their client was happy with the outcome.

“The silk for the insurer called this an adventurous claim in the Court of Appeal, but at Stacks Law Firm we’re prepared to take on the tough cases and win them and our client is over the moon,” the firm’s managing director Justin Stack said.

A spokesperson for Insurance Australia said they were reviewing the judgement.

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