Accident victim gets US$37 189 damages

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Accident victim gets US$37 189 damages

Fidelis Munyoro

Chief Court Reporter

A man crippled and now requiring hip replacement after a reckless motorist rammed his car in 2008, is to receive US$37 189 in compensation for medical expenses plus loss of employment and future care arrangements, the High Court has ruled.

Mr Johnson Muchechesi sustained a broken femur in the road accident which has led to an assessed 65 percent permanent disability. A victim of a crash is entitled to a reasonable level of compensation that goes toward medical treatment including psychological treatment, if necessary, lost wages and superannuation.

 In an action brought without legal representation, Mr Muchechesi sued over negligence of the motorist Mr Kelvin Musimwa, claiming US$84 000 being damages plus medical expenses.

 But Justice Gladys Mhuri reduced the claim US$37 189, after a fully contested civil trial. 

Following the accident, Mr Muchechesi underwent a knee operation, and now requires hip replacement.

The medical assessment put his injuries and disability at 65 percent permanent disability. He stated that he still goes for reviews at Parirenyatwa Hospital and was told to return and have the items required for the hip replacement costed.

The court heard that Mr Muchechesi has been in pain for the past 14 years and he will not be able to live normally again, while the accident also cost him  his marriage after his wife divorced him because he could no longer be intimate with her.

Through his legal counsel, Mr Musimwa put up a spirited defence, in a bid to turn the tables against Muchechesi, arguing that the victim caused the accident as he was driving at high speed and wanted to overtake in front of oncoming traffic.

But Justice Mhuri dismissed Mr Musimwa’s defence noting that he was not a credible witness.

 “Plaintiff is, therefore entitled to claim damages for the injuries sustained. The defendant did not prove any contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.”

 On the loss of amenities for life, Justice Mhuri accepted Mr Muchechesi’s testimony that due to the injuries he sustained, he was unable to work, he was by then aged 39 years, in his prime and was able to look after his children. 

But he is now divorced and  is unable to perform conjugal rights, said the judge.

On compensation claims, claimants do not have to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, but rather on the basis of preponderance of probabilities.