Assessing Damages for Injuries Sustained as a 7-Year Old 14 Years Later

The decision of Vincent v Atkinson [2017] WADC 155 handed down by the District Court involved the assessment of damages in relation to a claim where the 22-year old plaintiff had sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident at the age of 7. The injuries sustained in the accident had an ongoing effect on the plaintiff.

Liability for the accident had been admitted by the Defendant so the judgment only dealt with the assessment of the damages.

The decision by Stavranou DCJ sets out the reasoning behind the contested heads of damages and although the case turned on its facts the approach adopted by His Honour especially in relation to assessing the plaintiff’s past loss of income, past and future gratuitous services and future medical expenses, it provides guidance on how to approach the assessment of these heads in cases involving infant plaintiffs.

Of interest is that in assessing the plaintiff’s damages, His Honour appears to have taken into account the plaintiff’s history of school absence linked to bullying relating to her crash-related scarring.

The information published in this paper is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.