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Winters v Bishop & AAI Ltd Trading as Suncorp Metway Insurance Ltd


Ms. Winters was involved in a motor vehicle accident on 31 October 2007 when she was struck and knocked to the ground by a motor vehicle as she crossed a pedestrian crossing at Brisbane Airport, where she had been working.

As a result of the accident, Ms. Winters sustained a significant brain injury resulting in substantial scarring, nerve damage and a psychiatric injury.

Issues with psychiatric injury:

While liability was admitted by the defendants, there was disagreement as to whether Ms. Winters’ psychiatric injury caused a personality change due to the physical injuries, and whether her resignation from Brisbane Airport was connected to her injuries.

Ms. Winters return to work:

Prior to the accident Ms. Winters was excelling in her career at Brisbane airport and was assisting with major decisions regarding surrounding infrastructure, road systems, layout, building designs and even attended Infrastructure Committee meetings. Technical Director Mr. Graham also gave evidence that Ms. Winter’s communication skills were very good, clear and direct and she had great capacity to deal with people.

When Ms. Winters returned to work she had struggled significantly and felt constantly judged by others. She encountered problems with remembering tasks at work and when she was fatigued she was unable to communicate coherently. Her behavioural changes also led to the breakdown of her marriage with Mr. Winters and considered that had it not been for the accident, she would have still been married – which was supported in court through evidence.

Medical Evidence:

Numerous neurologists and psychiatrists gave evidence that while Ms. Winters had made a stable recovery from her brain injury, she nonetheless was more susceptible to fatigue and was experiencing cognitive functional difficulties which was affecting her at home and within the work environment. Evidence from family members and work colleagues also concluded that Ms. Winters underwent significant behavioural and personality changes since the accident.

Findings:

Medical evidence from experts and evidence from both family and work colleagues was subsequently accepted and Ms. Winters was awarded damages for $1,335,870.26.

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Written by Shine Lawyers on December 14, 2018. Last modified: December 14, 2018.

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