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Cyclist receives $180,000 after Southbank collision forced career change

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Media Release

Published on

A cyclist who broke his wrist in a collision with a car has received a $180,000 settlement after the accident forced him to walk away from his career as a mechanic.

Slater and Gordon recently settled a claim against the Transport Accident Commission on behalf of Trent Whitten, who was 24 when a car turned across his path in 2006.

The crash left Mr Whitten with a broken wrist requiring surgery and he developed vascular complications.

He now works in an administration role.

Motor vehicle accident lawyer Joanne Panagakis said the size of the settlement reflected the fact that there was still a danger of his wrist becoming fused and causing further disruption to his life.

“This accident had a devastating impact on Trent’s career as a mechanic and it is to his enormous credit that he has been able to find a new career and move forward with his life,” Ms Panagakis said.

Trent was riding to work along Whiteman St, Southbank, when he was struck by the car on October 4, 2006,

After seeking legal advice, Slater and Gordon obtained a Serious Injury Certificate and initiated a common law claim against the TAC claim, which can only be successful in cases where the injuries resulted from third-party negligence.

At an informal settlement conference in 2011, the TAC failed to make an offer, claiming that the driver who struck Mr Whitten had a green light.

"There was some dispute over who was at fault. The TAC maintained that Trent had a red light and Trent maintained that he was riding straight on a green light and the car turned right across his path,” Ms Panagakis said.

Slater and Gordon then investigated traffic light sequences for the intersection and was able to prove Trent’s version of events was correct and the TAC then agreed to a settlement without the matter proceeding to court.

"This is an excellent result for Trent and is a testament to his determination to stand up for his entitlements,” Ms Panagakis said.

She said the case should send a message to cyclists injured on the roads in accidents involving vehicles to seek legal advice.

"A lot of cyclists in this situation end up missing out on benefits, simply because they are not aware that Victoria's TAC scheme entitles them to seek compensation," Ms Panagakis said.