Man ordered to pay $1000 each to accident plaintiffs
ALabasa man was ordered by the Labasa High Court to pay $1000 each as costs to plaintiffs involved in a car accident on December 31, 2014 at Lomaloma on the Seaqaqa/Savusavu highway.
The plaintiffs; Jone Sokia, Rakesh Kumar Lal, Surya Deo, Penaia Tuidravu and Indar Vir Kumar instituted proceedings claiming damages for the injuries caused to them due to the negligent driving of Mohammed Jamal.
The truck was hired by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport of which the five men were employees.
When the matter went to hearing the men filed a notice of discontinuance to discontinue proceedings against the Ministry and the Attorney General (pursuant to State Proceedings Act 1951) after the Ministry agreed to pay them compensation. Accordingly, proceedings went on against Jamal to determine whether the accident was due to his negligence.
During trial three of the passengers told the Court that while they were travelling the truck suddenly went zigzagging and toppled.
In cross-examination Jamal’s lawyer submitted that the plaintiff ’s evidence was that the truck went off the road because of the speed but in their Police statements they did not mention anything about speed.
Justice Lyone Seneviratne said in his judgment that driving a vehicle negligently was not the only way a driver can be negligent.
“A person who drives a vehicle on the road with mechanical defects cannot be said to have any respect for the lives of the people who use the road and the passengers travelling in his own vehicle,” Justice Seneviratne said.
“Driving a vehicle which is not road worthy is also an act of negligence on the part of the driver.”
In his evidence Jamal stated that before the accident he applied the brakes to change the gear but the brakes did not work then he applied the hand brakes but that also failed to work.
He testified further that to avoid the accident he drove the vehicle to his right side but it went off the road and toppled.
It was also Jamal’s evidence that every two weeks he used to check the vehicle and every year he used to get the vehicle tested.
When he was asked in cross examination whether he had any receipts to show that he serviced the vehicle and got it tested he answered in the negative.
A Land Transport Authority report revealed that the brake was inoperative and there were brake fluid leakages on the wheels which indicated that the brake washer was defective or worn out.
The report further stated that the cause of the accident was the brake system.
The Court ruled that the accident was due to Jamal’s negligence who was liable in damages.
Driving a vehicle which is not road worthy is also an act of negligence on the part of the driver Lyone Seneviratne High Court Judge Justice In cross-examination Jamal’s lawyer submitted that the plaintiff’s evidence was that the truck went off the road because of the speed but in their Police statements they did not mention anything about speed