Devastating wrist injury to international hairdresser – a hairy experience!
Maric v Nguyen WADC 2  was a Motor Vehicle Accident injury case that was heard on appeal by Lonsdale DCJ in the District Court of Western Australia. The principle issue for consideration in this matter was the quantification of the Plaintiff’s damages as liability had already been accepted by the Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA). This involved an assessment of the Plaintiff’s injuries and the consequences of those injuries in the past, and what consequences may arise in the future.
On 4 February 2015 the Plaintiff, who was right-handed, was injured in an accident whilst riding her motorcycle. The Plaintiff suffered multiple injuries as a result of the accident, but most significant of all was a comminuted fracture to her right wrist, which left her with a permanent disability. This was particularly important as the Plaintiff was employed as a hairdresser before the accident and could no longer work in her field. As a result, the Plaintiff had not worked for four years by the time her matter was heard on trial. The trial judge quantified her past loss of earnings at $351,278.
The Plaintiff also submitted that she would be unable to find employment in the future as she had trained and worked as a hairdresser her whole life. The judge, however, held that the Plaintiff was an intelligent and capable woman who would be able to retrain and re-enter the work force after studying for four years. The judge therefore awarded the Plaintiff four years of future loss of earning capacity, amounting to $349,570.
Prior to the accident, the Plaintiff was an extremely active person who enjoyed sports such as ‘Krav Maga,’ basketball, ping pong, tennis, and outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing, rock climbing, wind surfing and kite surfing. The Plaintiff also described riding her motorcycle as a passion but was no longer able to do any of these activities due to her injuries. The Plaintiff’s social life was also affected by the accident as she become more withdrawn and unwilling to go out. The Plaintiff lives in constant pain and described herself as feeling depressed. The judge found that due to the accident the Plaintiff had suffered considerable loss of amenities and diminution in her ability to partake in activities that she had previously enjoyed or might in the future have enjoyed. She was no longer able to be active, her social life had become non-existent and she would never be able to return to work as a hairdresser, which she loved. The judge accordingly awarded $106,250 (25% of the maximum amount) in general damages.
The Plaintiff also received compensation for gratuitous services, special damages, future medical expenses and future education expenses. In total, the Plaintiff’s final award amounted to $1,037,800.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.