Posted on 16 Apr 2020
A Victorian pilot will be awarded more than $5.6 million in compensation plus legal costs by his former employer Hevilift who failed to warn him about dangerous flying conditions or provide him with safe flight instruments, causing his helicopter to crash in Papua New Guinea.
After the 2006 crash which left him unable to walk again and killed three others, Bruce Towers fought hard to have his case heard in Australia, winning a Supreme Court trial against Hevilift and its appeal in 2016. He returned to the courts this year to claim $9.8 million in damages from the international aviation company, with the help of Slater and Gordon, to cover his quadriplegic injuries, loss of wages and future care.
The judge’s decision was handed down today in Cairns Supreme Court and stated the compensation figure would allow him to receive the care he needs for the rest of his life.
The Drysdale man, 69, said he was pleased to come to the end of the legal battle which had lasted more than a decade. Mr Towers said he was happy to have received a decision, to enable him to enjoy his life with his family.
“It’s taken close to 14 years to resolve this. On 20 April it would have been 14 years that we have been fighting this case. Slater and Gordon stuck by me all of that time and kept going,” Mr Towers said.
“I had to use up all my superannuation funds to pay my hospital and medical bills and to live, all because of Hevilift. They told me I was insured and following the accident said I was not insured. They tried everything in the book to disfigure me, to make me look like a bad pilot.”
Slater and Gordon Workers’ Compensation In-house Council Tim Lucey said it was a positive result for Mr Towers, considering his ongoing impairment and lost quality of life.
“After a long journey, Bruce is relieved that he will finally receive fair compensation following today’s judgement,” Mr Lucey said.
“It’s been a hard-fought case. No amount of compensation will make up for this accident and the impact on Bruce’s life, but the money will assist him to ensure he will receive the care and support he requires as a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.”