$315,000 Payout to Cyclist Hit by Ute Driver

$315,000 Payout to Cyclist Hit by Ute Driver

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:

  • Simplicity
  • Team Work
  • Accountability
  • 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.

13 Responses to $315,000 Payout to Cyclist Hit by Ute Driver

  1. lodgej 13 January 2014 at 9:03 AM #

    I’m so glad Jesse hung in there for the 6 years and, I can imagine, lots of legal and medical costs. Were costs awarded against the Commission in addition to the $315,000 — is that info available? It sounds like the Commission was acting like every other insurance company when it comes to a pay out — wriggle out of it wherever possible, blame the victim …

    Integrity, openness, respect and compassion are not words that immediately spring to mind when thinking of insurance companies, or the Minister for that matter.

    Hope Jesse’s back on the bike. Do you know?

    • Jesse 12 January 2015 at 1:59 AM #

      I recived 200 g of the 315 thats how costs go.. ohh and it was never 215

  2. Antony Day 13 January 2014 at 1:55 PM #

    I managed to get a payout from ICWA after being hit by a bus in 2008 after the driver cut in on me, hitting me with the back of the bus – 9 broken ribs and a collapsed lung resulted in a week in hospital.
    It took around 3 years to obtain and involved numerous visits to a lawyer and also to their doctor to be assessed. Their doctor was not as direct in his accusations but did try to downplay the extent of my injuries – their original quote was desultory and my lawyer got them to up it to $10K. It really felt as if they were working against me rather than trying to help me.

    • Aushiker 13 January 2014 at 8:13 PM #

      Sorry to hear about your crash and your post-crash treatment. It seems that the Insurance Commission of WA has a long way to go to reflect its own value statements.

  3. Aushiker 13 January 2014 at 8:12 PM #

    Looking at the judgement it does not seem that costs where awarded against the Insurance Commission of WA.

    Sorry I don’t know if Jesse is riding now or not.

  4. Jesse Lawton 16 January 2014 at 3:57 PM #

    hi im rather touched by your article 🙂

    thank you for your kind words.

    • Aushiker 17 January 2014 at 11:47 AM #

      Hope all is well and you are back riding. Not a nice thing to experience by any means.

      • Jesse Lawton 19 January 2014 at 8:12 PM #

        Im able to ride but its not the same. altho i do love riding. Id like to add that the insurance comission lie.. alot. they simply say things.. anything it seemed. ill leave it at that .

        • Karen 30 January 2014 at 9:08 PM #

          Hi Jesse
          My husband is also dealing with ICWA at the moment after a car accident. We are in the process of trying to find a lawyer. Could you recommend the one you used to us?

          • Jesse d lawton 21 February 2014 at 11:40 AM #

            Simon Walters ..
            9444 4566
            he has been very professional and I could not have won without him.. he knows what hes talking about and if he thinks you will win he will give an onest realistic view on the matter . I hope you guys get thru it. I had a horrible time with this. my first lawyer gave up . your welcome to contact me if it will help you . sorry for the time taken to respond. I simply didn’t see the comment was here. 🙂

  5. bradyellen 8 June 2014 at 9:54 PM #

    So happy to hear who your lawyer was as I’m currently going through them. Glad to hear you are ok.

  6. Jesse 12 June 2014 at 4:57 PM #

    say Hello to Simon for me haha good luck and also sorry to hear your going thru it. those horrible horrible insurance commission bastards

    Hope you get threw to the end of it and find you won!

  7. Fiona 13 July 2019 at 8:13 AM #

    After many years of torment from his physical and mental pain, with a heavy heart I share, that Jesse took his life in May of 2018!

    RIP Jesse ♡ Aunt Fiona

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