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A construction labourer who was involved in an eight-vehicle pile-up in the Burnley tunnel yesterday settled a compensation claim against the Transport Accident Commission for $367,000.
Aytekin Tatlica, 60, was driving through the tunnel May 28, 2008, when a truck collided with a car, pushing it into the ute Mr Tatlica was driving and causing him to crash into the wall of the tunnel.
The impact left Mr Tatlica with serious shoulder and spinal injuries and he later developed post traumatic stress disorder.
The crash, involving two trucks and six cars, caused traffic chaos and invoked memories of a fiery smash the previous year that killed three people.
Slater & Gordon motor vehicle accident lawyer Marko Eric said the accident had left him unable to work as a builder’s labourer, a job he had worked in most of his life.
“The consequences of this accident for Aytekin and his family were profound as it derailed his ability to financially support his family and left him incapacitated from employment,” Mr Eric said.
The TAC initially denied his serious injury TAC claim, prompting Slater & Gordon to initiate proceedings in the County Court.
However at a pre-hearing conference with the TAC on Monday (June 4), the Commission granted him a serious injury certificate, enabling him to pursue common law damages from the TAC.
On the same day, the TAC agreed to settle his case for $280,000 plus keep of $87,000, making it the equivalent of a jury verdict of $367,000.
“TAC compensated Mr Tatlica for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life as well as past loss of earnings and future loss of earnings due to his incapacity to return to work,” Mr Eric said.
Mr Eric said the case should serve as a reminder to motorists to exercise extreme caution when using the tunnel.
“This was the second major collision in the Burnley tunnel in a year and I hope it serves as a warning to other motorists about the potential for devastating injuries on the roads,” he said.