Suing over motorcycle crash too costly

Melting tar claims first crash victim Mt Glorious costly engineers events steal reservations bitumen

A rider who crashed on a badly repaired road has rejected suing the authority that knew of the problem because it would be too costly.

Sydney rider Stephen Thomas, 69, crashed his 2011 Honda VFR800X Crossrunner at 50km/h on the shoddy roadworks on Mt Glorious in Brisbane’s hinterland on October 10, 2017.

Transport and Main Roads (TMR) knew about the slippery molten tar surface after being alerted to the problem by riders and a report on this website.

Even on mild days, the surface had molten tar and was treacherous for riders.

Melting tar claims first crash victim Mt Glorious costly
Sub-par roadworks at Mt Glorious a sticky mess of tar

TMR responded to the complaints by placing an electronic 50km/h warning sign on the corner, but it didn’t help Stephen.

His bike low-sided into a guardrail and fell over, breaking his leg.

Stephen didn’t realise and rode home 1000km to Sydney where he later found the extent of his injuries.

The shoddy roadworks have now been repaired and the electronic 50km/h and temporary 60km/h signs removed.Costly sign Mt Glorious roadworks crash accident

Costly case

Despite TMR admitting it knew about the problem, Stephen is reticent to sue for his costly medical bills expected to total about $5000.

“I investigated lodging a claim with TMR, but I could see how it could end up costing me more money,” he says.

1000km ride home with broken leg ostly
Stephen with his Honda before the crash

“I am aware there is the no-win, no-fee option, but that does not include the specialist medical report, costing me about $2000-$2500 and a road expert report for about the same amount.

“So I’m required to spend another $5000 even before we lodge a claim.

“I can’t claim damages for the motorcycle as that is insured with Shannons, so the only claim I have are my medical expenses, and they’re about $5000.”

Stephen says TMR requires having legal representation for any claim, so he could face their costly legal fees as well.

“The problem with no-win, no-fee, as I understand it, is even if TMR settle, the lawyers’ fees, currently at $600/hour, come out first, so if the TMR settle for, say, just my medical expenses, that may not be enough to cover the lawyers’ fees,” he says.

“I have decided to just accept it happened and get on with recovery.”Stephen Thomas says suing after his crash on Mt Glorious is too costly

Stephen says he has been a “model patient” and will get clearance from his surgeon shortly to start rehab.

“It looks like it will be a three-month process,” he says.

“I am going a little stir crazy, but my wife tries to ensure I either get out for a while every day, or someone comes to visit.

“Apparently I won’t be back on my motorcycle until April and my newly restored 1985 Yamaha SRX600 with only a kick start will have to wait until mid next year.

“Fortunately I love walking, walks of 20km are ideal, so I will be building myself back up to those again.”

8 Comments

  1. I know how you feel Steven, I am recuperating from a incident when I was clipped by a driver who failed to give way to me. I counter steered to avoid him and my left foot hit the post of the guard rail. Only significant damage to the bike was a broken left foot peg, I got a plate and 5 screws.
    All the best for you recovery,

    1. They’re still a LOT better than the wire rope “cheese grater” barriers that are unfortunately so prevalent. If the authorities have the sense to add under-run protection to them then that’s about as good as we can currently get i reckon.

  2. Sadly I think Stephen has made the best economical decision. Even if a case was successful, it could drag out over a couple of years. I have experienced winning a case and losing $30,000

  3. If Stephen needs funds then why aren’t we all helping? I’ll admit we’d be going up against an impossible judicial system who would never want to set that precedent, but the knock-on effects of this have repercussions for all of us.
    TMR can’t just price themselves above the law – even if it was a contractor, isn’t there a duty of care somewhere?

    Does someone have expertise/experience with the different internet funding scenarios?
    I’m sure we could all afford the cost of a pub lunch to see that there are some knuckles rapped over this and that it doesn’t happen again….
    the next time might be a death …of someone you care for!

  4. This is nothing short of atrocity!
    Why can’t he sue for medical costs, and mental anguish, for rising home with pain for over 1000kms?
    Surely this is the lawyers duty to make it worth his while.
    Especially since they have admittance to negligence.

  5. Lawyers can only claim upto 50% of payout figure, there is a claimable pain and suffering element as well. Not to mention thr precedent it woyld set in TMR liability forcing them to be more responsive to dangerous roads and save others thr same fate. Might be worth an obligation free chat with a lawyer I recon. Good luck with the recovery Stephen.

  6. It would be easier to ascertain who the contractor was and lodge an insurance claim via their Contract Works policy. In this case it could have been RPQ as the contractor but this would need to be confirmed.

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