Moe resident Tony Stevens has finalised a six-figure settlement with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) following a horrific crash on the side of the Princes Highway in Morwell in 2009.
Mr Stevens’ ute had run out of petrol and he pulled over off the side of the highway, near the Strzelecki Highway turn off, when a passing truck veered off the highway and crashed into the back of the stationary ute.
Slater and Gordon lawyer Kieta Van der Meulen, who represented Mr Stevens, said that her client was incredibly lucky to be alive.
“Tony endured extensive injuries in the accident. He broke bones in his neck, shoulders, back and ribs, as well as sustaining bruises to his lungs,” Ms Van der Meulen said.
Mr Stevens was also placed into an induced coma for three days as he fought to recover from the crash.
Ms Van der Meulen said that Mr Steven's approach to life served him well in such a challenging time.
“Tony’s upper-torso was very badly crushed, and a less physically fit person may not have survived the initial impact.
“Fortunately though, Tony is as tough as they come. After coming out of his coma, despite his severe injuries, he told the doctors he had to get out of hospital as quickly as possible to see his son.”
Mr Stevens, a labourer at the time of the crash, has had to change his life considerably in the aftermath of the accident.
“My arms and shoulders are as healed as they’re ever going to be, but life on a building site just isn’t an option anymore,” Mr Stevens said.
“When the crash happened, I was forced to make some very rapid adjustments to how I lived my life and earned a wage.
“That’s why I am in the process of buying a diner here in Moe, which should be an exciting new chapter in my life.
“The settlement will allow me to put one part of the crash behind me. It’s now much easier to plan for my future and get on with the rest of my life,” Mr Stevens said.
Ms Van der Meulen said the TAC had acted very promptly in assisting her client and were to be congratulated for recognising the serious extent of his injuries.