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A Korumburra man who lost a leg in a motorbike crash will soon be able to shower independently after the Transport Accident Commission backed down from a decision to deny him a bathroom upgrade.
In February 2010, Mark Tollitt was riding his motorbike from his home at Korumburra to his business at Mentone when a motorist illegally turned across his path at Lang Lang, causing a collision that resulted in his leg being crushed.
The severity of his injuries forced surgeons to amputate the limb below the knee and subsequent complications, including an MSI infection, have since required him to go through another six operations. A further four are scheduled for later this year.
Soon after being released from hospital following the motor vehicle accident, the TAC refused a request to upgrade Mr Tollitt’s bathroom, including a ground-level shower that could accommodate a wheelchair, lowered toilet and sink as well as the removal of a bathtub.
``All I wanted from the TAC was the ability to wash, to go to the toilet and to shave independently rather than have to rely on my wife or my three teenage kids,’’ Mr Tollitt said.
“We’re not talking millions of dollars, it will be somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000.’’
Two weeks ago a TAC representative contacted Mr Tollitt to tell him the organisation had changed its mind.
The phone call came six weeks after Mr Tollitt went public with his grievances.
Slater and Gordon car accident lawyer Stuart Le Grand, who helped Mr Tollit in his negotiations with the TAC, said he was preparing to contest the decision at Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal before the TAC reversed its decision.
“Up until they changed their minds, the TAC was basically saying it was perfectly reasonable for Mark to have to step backwards on crutches over a step just to get into the shower and then he has to sit on the floor to wash himself,” Mr Le Grand said.
“The decision to modify the bathroom is a common sense one but it is disappointing that Mark had to fight for his entitlements.’’
Under the Transport Accident Act, the TAC is liable to pay compensation covering loss of income, medical expenses and a range of other out-of-pocket expenses to anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Mr Tollitt has already received loss of earnings benefits and the TAC is also paying for his medical expenses but Slater and Gordon is pursuing a common law claim for pain and suffering against the at-fault driver who will also be covered by the TAC.