Posted on 08 Mar 2012
A Frankston single mother has received a six-figure payout, three years after a hit-run driver left her struggling to care for her wheelchair-bound daughter.
Slater and Gordon motor vehicle accident lawyer Elizabeth Mukherji said the money would help restore Tasama Cotterill’s ability to cope with the high needs of looking after a daughter with severe cerebral palsy.
In 2008, Ms Cotterill was driving in Frankston when a vehicle careered onto the wrong side of the road and collided head on with her car, leaving her with a fractured knee and soft tissue injuries.
“Any injuries from a serious car accident are going to be traumatic and cause major disruptions to a person’s life, but in Tasama’s case, where she is a single mother-of-three and full-time carer to her daughter with cerebral palsy, the impact has been profound,” Ms Mukherji said.
Ms Cotterill’s injuries meant she was unable to lift her daughter and her wheelchair in and out of the family sedan and she also struggled with other day-to-day tasks, including bathing, clothing, feeding and taking her daughter to the toilet.
“Tasama has been able to use some of the money to buy a new van with a hoist which has made things considerably easier because her old car required that she had to dismantle the wheelchair and lift it into the boot every time she wanted to take her daughter out of the house,” Ms Mukherji said.
“Tasama still suffers from pain in her knee as well as a significant limp and restricted movement, so when you think about lifting a 11-year-old in and out of a car, this will make an enormous difference to her ability to get her daughter out of the house and enjoy a fuller and happier life.”
Tasama engaged Slater and Gordon to ensure she received her maximum entitlement under the Transport Accident Act. The Transport Accident Commission initially failed to recognise the severity of Ms Cotterill’s injuries and their significant consequences on her life.
As a result, the case was listed for a County Court hearing last year before the TAC conceded, issuing her with a Serious Injuries Certificate that paved the way for a six-figure settlement to compensate for her pain and suffering.
“In this case the driver of the other car fled the scene and there is no suggestion that the accident was in any way Tasama’s fault so she thoroughly deserved to be fully compensated for what happened,’’ Ms Mukherji said.
``A lot of people don’t realise that if they are injured in any form of motor vehicle accident, whether they are a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, pedestrian or cyclist, they may be entitled to benefits under the Transport Accident Act and that is why it is vital they seek legal advice if they find themselves in that unfortunate situation.’’
Slater and Gordon has a dedicated team committed to ensuring accident victims receive the maximum possible compensation for their pain and suffering and loss of income.