$656,000 compo after car crash

A LAUNCESTON man has been awarded about $656,000 damages for post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered after a car crash.

Justice Robert Pearce assessed the damages for plaintiff Jesse Luke Kent, 27, in the Hobart Supreme Court on March 7.

Mr Kent was injured in a car crash on the West Tamar Highway, near Brady's Lookout, five years ago today on March 14, 2009.

A car travelling in the opposite direction, being driven by the defendant, Grace Ellen Payne, crossed onto the wrong side of the road and collided with the car Mr Kent was driving.

In his reasons for judgment, Justice Pearce said it was admitted that the negligent driving of the defendant caused the collision.

Mr Kent claimed damages for psychological harm and a soft tissue injury to his right buttock.

"Although Mr Kent suffered some physical injury, his claim is based principally on his assertion that the collision caused mental harm, namely post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which renders him effectively an invalid," Justice Pearce said.

"The primary issue of controversy in the assessment is the extent to which Mr Kent's contentions about the past and future effect of the collision on him should be accepted.

"The defendant contends that Mr Kent overstates the nature and effect of his condition and the extent of his disability."

Justice Pearce assessed Mr Kent's damages at $656,408.65, comprising of: pain and suffering and loss of amenities, $70,000; future expenses, $45,000; past expenses, nil; past economic loss, $163,408.65, and future economic loss, $378,000.

Mr Kent's past medical expenses were met by the Motor Accidents Insurance Board and no claim was made in this regard.

Justice Pearce said that since that crash, Mr Kent had led an isolated existence, had disturbed sleep, avoided driving and experienced intrusive memories of the incident.

He said that the psychiatric consequences of the crash for Mr Kent, were far greater than its physical consequences.

"Before the accident Mr Kent was a well-presented young man who got on well with his family and friends," Justice Pearce said.

"He was not perfect. But he was in relatively secure employment and was well-regarded by his employer and others he worked with."

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