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Man Ordered To Pay $1000 Each To Accident Plaintiffs

Man Ordered To Pay $1000 Each To Accident Plaintiffs
May 18
11:00 2018

A Labasa 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.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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