In this Nominal Defendant inquiry, we were instructed to investigate liability, the crash circumstances, details of any charges laid, BAC and vehicle registration details (amongst other details).
This crash (involving two vehicles), had occurred on the Old Stuart Highway near Monash, South Australia. Due to the speeds involved, the resulting injuries were severe and thus this matter was deemed a Major Claim.
Our initial inquiries with Police indicated that the Uninsured Driver was at fault. The Police had found him to be unlicensed and with a BAC of 0.115 at the time of the crash.
Additional information seemed sketchy from the Police, who seemed intent on attributing the crash to the Uninsured Driver (who we found was known to them from previous unrelated matters).
Nevertheless, we were persistent and through close questioning of the attending Police Officer, examinations of the scene and locating and inspecting the damage caused to both vehicles, we were able to determine the following facts indicating that the Plaintiff (whose vehicle had interstate registration), had failed to give way to the Uninsured (and thus possibly at fault for the crash):
- The attending Police officer admitted that the Plaintiff had reported that he had been driving at some distance ahead of the Uninsured’s vehicle when he inadvertently missed a turn, pulled over momentarily before attempting a U-turn (evidently, across the path of the Uninsured’s vehicle), leading to the collision.
- Evidence was found at the scene which indicated that the subject point of impact had occurred in the centre of the road.
- The damage to the Plaintiff’s vehicle was equal across the two driver’s side doors and spread equally across the front of the Uninsured vehicle – suggesting that the vehicles were at right angles at the point of impact.
There was also some contention as to who the actual driver of the Uninsured vehicle was but we were able to find medical records which showed that the person who initially claimed they were the driver had seatbelt bruising consistent with them being on the passenger side of the vehicle (and no head injuries), while the actual driver had no seatbelt bruising but a head injury which seemed consistent with damage to the windscreen in line with the driver’s seat.
So, as a result of persistent questioning of the given ‘facts’ of this case despite the initial Police response, evidence was established which not only demonstrated that the Plaintiff was the party at fault but also that they were not covered under the State legislation (because their vehicle was registered in another State).
Further to that, our inquiry confirmed that the seemingly ‘not at fault’ Uninsured Driver was unlicensed, driving an unregistered vehicle, DUI and unrestrained by a seatbelt.