Woman injured in crash wins appeal compensation bid

A MACKAY woman who was seriously injured in a car crash had had her bid for more compensation granted after she took her fight to the state's highest court.

Monica-Leigh Reitano was 17 when she was seriously injured in a car crash on January 16, 2008.

A four-wheel drive hit her stationary sedan from behind, propelling it forward five metres.

Ms Reitano told her initial compensation hearing that she had lasting and significant symptoms of thoracic spine pain, back spasms and leg and foot numbness as a result of the crash.

She said that her injuries had made her socially avoidant and limited her career options.

Ms Reitano told the court she had intended to study journalism with the aim of becoming a foreign correspondent but had been forced to study psychology instead.

She was eventually awarded $139,026 in compensation.

However, Ms Reitano appealed the decision in one of the state's highest court claiming the judge in her initial compensation hearing had failed to make awards for past and future economic loss and future special damages.

Ms Reitano told the Queensland Court of Appeal, during at hearing in October, that the general damages and future economic loss she was awarded involved error and were manifestly inadequate.

The court heard that the initial trial judge found the crash caused Ms Reitano to suffer a prolapse at T10-11 in a context of advanced pre-existing degeneration in her thoracic spine.

However the judge formed an extremely unfavourable view of her creditability describing her as prepared to misstate the facts.

"She could not be relied upon to give an accurate account of the effects of the accident upon her and the aspects of her work, education and day to day life that were affected by the accident," he said.

But the Queensland Court of Appeal, in handing down its findings this week, found the initial judgment did entailed error in the award of general damages and in the failure to award future special damages.

The court ordered the initial compensation amount of $139,026 to be set aside and replaced with the amount of $149,376 instead.


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