Golf professional fails to include claim of $4 million for injury compensation
A good example why it is so important that you engage The Personal Injury Lawyers as experts in personal injury claims and not run your own case. Mr Edwards decided he would represent himself in his motor accident claim after becoming unhappy with the way his lawyers were running his case. As a consequence, he has lost the opportunity to claim for what he considers to be significant future lost income in his claim because he did not properly plead his case to the Court...
The car accident and accident injuries
Mr Edwards was involved in a car accident in 2009, as a result of which he says he sustained injuries to his knee and spine, and later developed a psychiatric injury, namely an Adjustment Disorder. The spinal injuries claimed were whiplash injuries to his neck and back.
The subject motor vehicle accident causing Mr Edwards’ injuries was a rear-ender accident. A driver following behind Mr Edwards’ motor vehicle failed to stop in time, running into the car in front of it, which then collided with the rear of Mr Edwards’ motor vehicle.
The CTP insurer of the at fault driver was Suncorp Metway Insurance (AAI Limited), who admitted liability for the accident, so the parties were only arguing over the amount of compensation and damages that should be paid to Mr Edwards.
Mr Edwards dumps his solicitors and represents himself
Mr Edwards initially had a firm of personal injury lawyers handling his case, decided he was not happy with their legal representation and took over running his case on his own, as a self-represented Plaintiff.
In his pleadings setting out his claim for compensation and damages for his car accident injuries, Mr Edwards sought damages for past and future income at over $1,000,000. Mr Edwards’ employment involved the sale of real estate franchises, and he also renovated homes for resale. He claimed that his injuries had reduced his capacity to undertake his sales work and to renovate homes for resale at a profit.
Applying to the court for leave to include further claims for lost income and damages
Later in the case, after the matter had been certified by the parties as ready for trial dates to be set, Mr Edwards sought to include further claims in his pleadings, increasing his future economic loss claim in respect to his real estate franchise business by a further $1.3 million, and for a new claim relating to loss of potential earnings as a professional golfer and being unable to teach golf due to his injuries.
The matter came before a single Judge of the Supreme Court on application, who went through Mr Edwards’ pleadings in detail and considered that there was no evidence to support Mr Edwards’ claims, and that his claims in respect to earnings as a pro golfer were not previously raised despite the matter being significantly progressed and nearing trial.
He accordingly refused Mr Edwards’ application for amendment of his pleadings and to include the additional claims because he did not feel they warranted the discretion of the Court for amendment after the Request for Trial Date document had been filed by the parties and would unnecessarily delay the matter proceeding to trial.
Court of Appeal refuses amendments to include further compensation claims
Mr Edwards appealed the decision of the applications judge and the matter went before the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge and considered that, despite being self-represented, Mr Edwards knew a sufficient amount about pleadings to understand the need to properly plead and particularise his claims for damages. The Court also agreed with the trial judge that the amendments sought were confusing, mostly unnecessary, and would cause unnecessary delay of the case.
Accordingly, Mr Edwards’ application to amend his pleadings to include his claim for loss of future income as a pro golfer and teacher was rejected. Further, the Court awarded costs of the application and appeal against Mr Edwards. Mr Edwards’ case will go before the Court for assessment of his damages at a later time.
Read the full decision on this case. (Edwards v Romaguera & Anor 2016)
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