ROAD RAGE RIS­ING

Lawyers say driver at­tacks have dou­bled

Tweed Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - Rick Koenig rick.koenig@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

ROAD rage in­ci­dents in the Tweed have lawyers work­ing around the clock on com­pen­sa­tion claims as frus­trated driv­ers vent their anger on other mo­torists.

Attwood Mar­shall Lawyers, which is based out of Coolan­gatta and Kingscliff, said road rage cases had more than dou­bled in five years.

So­lic­i­tor and per­sonal in­jury spe­cial­ist Jeremy Roche said there had been an in­creas­ing num­ber of driv­ers in­ten­tion­ally hit­ting pedes­tri­ans or cy­clists.

“The sever­ity and cal­lous­ness of the road rage in­ci­dents is es­ca­lat­ing across the board,” he said.

“We’re see­ing far more clients com­ing through the door where they’ve been in­jured as the re­sult of a road rage at­tack or be­cause some­body has in­ten­tion­ally tried to cause them harm with a ve­hi­cle.”

One of those vic­tims was Tweed Heads res­i­dent Kent Um­stad, who was rid­ing a mo­tor­bike to work in Palm Beach when he was hit by a pass­ing car, leav­ing him with lig­a­ment tears in his right shoul­der, se­vere whiplash and a bro­ken back that will never heal.

“In June last year I was on the way to work rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle and I stopped at a red light and a car ploughed straight through me and then a red light, swerved to miss an­other car and just kept go­ing,” he said.

“I passed them around 150m be­fore the red light, they moved from the left­hand lane to the right-hand lane, I was un­easy on a mo­tor­bike with the lane change so I moved into the left lane and stopped at the red lights. Then I just saw the flash of head­lights in the rear vi­sion mir­ror and went over the roof. One of the wit­nesses be­hind them said they switched lanes just be­fore the im­pact, so I have a feel­ing they did it on pur­pose.”

The per­son who hit Mr Um­stad was never found.

He ap­proached Attwood Mar­shall Lawyers fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, who helped him with a com­pen­sa­tion claim, but the men­tal scars re­main.

“I have post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, I have night­mares ev­ery night, I still can’t sleep and I can’t ride a mo­tor­bike,” he said.

PHOTO: SCOTT POWICK

CLAIM: Attwood Mar­shal Lawyers se­nior as­so­ci­ate Jeremy Roche and client Kent Um­stad.

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