Fishing boat skipper receives judgment in car accident case

Published 07 Apr 2020

A former charter boat skipper who was injured in a September 2014 accident involving a motor vehicle was recently awarded nearly $634,000 in damages after the incident left him unable to work on boats.

The Supreme Court of Queensland recently ruled that Alan Zavodny, now 65 years old, would likely be prevented from engaging in any work on a boat or ship as a direct result of the ankle injury he received, according to the Courier Mail. The accident occurred while Zavodny was riding his electric bike at a reasonable speed and taking all due precautions, but had to swerve to avoid a vehicle that quickly went from parked to backing up.

A closer look

Zavodny testified in the suit that the injuries – which included a deep wound and a fracture initially, followed by a series of infections, as well as a shoulder injury – actively prevented him from pursuing work in his chosen field. He specifically noted that the ankle and foot injuries led to loss of sensation in the bottom of his left foot so that he does not when it actually hits the ground at any given point, and that he can only stand on a ship with reduced stability.

In making his decision, Justice James Henry found that Kevin Couper, driver of the vehicle, had been negligent in his actions leading to the accident.

What happened?

On 10 September, 2014, Zavodny was heading down a wide two-way street in South Townsville, Queensland, when Couper suddenly began backing out of a nose-in parking bay, according to court documents. Zavodny, who was nearing his destination, had begun to slow his bicycle when Couper reversed, causing Zavodny to swerve hard to his right and jack-knife the bike, causing him to fall off and land on the bitumen paving.

Justice Henry found that, pursuant to the Civil Liability Act of 2003, Zavodny had behaved as a “reasonable person in his position” would have, and that he had been “keeping a proper lookout” in addition to traveling at an otherwise safe speed. Altogether, the nearly $634,000 judgment takes into account damages, financial losses due to an inability to work (including loss of superannuation), interest, loss of future earnings and son.

If you have been involved in an auto accident and think negligence may have played a role, reach out to the experts at Gerard Malouf and Partners. Contact us as soon as possible for more information.

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