Rae Wilson

Truckie fails in bid to boost compensation

A TRUCK driver, who was injured when he crashed into an illegally parked semi-trailer on a notorious North Coast stretch of the Pacific Hwy, has failed to boost his compensation payout.

Ashley Mikaera was passing Halfway Ck between Coffs Harbour and Grafton in his 25m B-double when he turned into an area which the NSW Supreme Court heard was "misleadingly" labelled a "truck parking bay" in 2007.

He was chatting to a convoy of other truck drivers via radio when he accidentally turned into the parking bay where John Collins was sleeping in his truck.

Mr Mikaera told the court he tried his best to avoid the truck but when he saw he would not be able to, braced for impact.

Both drivers escaped with their lives but Mr Mikaera was seriously injured.

He sued Newman Transport for negligence last year, on the grounds Mr Collins had been illegally parked and was awarded $151,108 in compensation.

The primary judge assessed his damages at more than $440,000 but reduced the amount by 66% after finding Mr Mikaera had contributed the accident.

Mr Mikaera launched an appeal, claiming his contributory negligence was no greater than 25%.

He claimed the judge was wrong in finding he had not slowed down as much as he should have and that he had overcorrected to the right of the road.

But the Court of Appeal still found that Mr Mikaera had been distracted when he approached the fork in the road that led to the parking bay and that the "split second" where he was talking on the radio and checking his mirrors, may have made the difference.

The appeal was dismissed with costs.



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