In small step in the right direction, Western Australian District Court Judge Bruce Goetze has ruled in favour of cyclist, Jesse Daniel Lawton, resulting in a $315,000 payout to Mr Lawton from the Insurance Commission of Western Australia.
According to the article in The Weekend West (Boddy, 2014), the Insurance Commission of Western Australia tried to blame Mr Lawton for the injuries he incurred thus trying to avoid the $315,000 payout; they argued he “simply fell off his bike and caused his own injuries.” Those injuries included a fractured right elbow, a shoulder injury and a soft tissue injury to his left hip. Some fall.
Justice Goetze found that it was “more than probable than not” that Mr Lawton was hit whilst cycling in Joondanna in August 2008 by the driver of a white Toyota Hilux ute who then drove off, a coward motorist.
What disturbs me most about this incident and the outcome is the way the Insurance Commission of Western Australia has handled this and tried to blame Jesse Lawton. How much has the Insurance Commission of Western Australia spent trying to avoid doing the right thing here? Is this what we want from our public servants, our Insurance Commission? It is not a private sector company after all, it is a public agency who is meant to act in the interests of West Australians. I would suggest it has hardly done so in this instance.
According to the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, its core values are:
- Team Work
- Integrity and Openness
- Respect and Compassion
I am struggling to see how going to court against a vulnerable road user to avoid paying $315,000 is demonstrating any of these values. I would hope that the Insurance Commission of Western Australia Chief Executive Officer, Mr Rod Whithear and the Board’s Chairman, Mr Frank Cooper and the Minister responsible for the Commission, surprise surprise The Honourable Troy Buswell take a serious look at how they have behaved in respect of this claim. Interestingly, according to the Insurance Commission of Western Australia 2013 Annual Report Mr Whithear’s salary is in the band of $310,000 to $320,000. We are happy to pay this to Mr Whithear but we will fight to avoid paying out to a vulnerable road user; worse we will effectively allege in court he is a liar. What sort of values are those Mr Whithear?
Your Thoughts on the $315,000 Payout?
What are your thoughts on the decision by Judge Bruce Goetze? On the actions of the Insurance Commission of Western Australia? Should it have taken nearly six years to get a remedy from the Insurance Commission?
Boddy, N. (2014, January 11-12). $315,000 payout for cyclist hit by ute. The Weekend West, p. 14.