Australian Woman Awarded $140,000 After Run Over By Her Own Car After Her Own Dog Released The Brake

B01_Brake_failure.svg220px-Terrier_mixed-breed_dogIn torts, we often discuss no fault insurance systems but this story out of Victoria is remarkable. A woman was run over by her own car after her own dog released the handbrake on the car. Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) still awarded her $140,000 worth of compensation for injuries to her hip, shoulders, back, and neck. The resolution of the case took over nine years.

The woman from Colac, south-west of Melbourne, was walking her dogs just before the accident occurred in February 2005.

She put two pets in the back seat and one dog in the front. She had the car running to power the air conditioner and was getting into the driver’s seat when the dog bumped the handbrake. The woman in her sixties was then caught in the door and dragged by the car — eventually going under the tires. She suffered serious injuries.

She was given $143,590 no fault injury compensation in addition to medical expenses and income entitlements.

No fault means no fault.

Source: ABC.Net

38 thoughts on “Australian Woman Awarded $140,000 After Run Over By Her Own Car After Her Own Dog Released The Brake”

  1. The discussion on auto vs health insurance reminds me of when I was hit by a truck while crossing a street. I had a difficult time with several doctor’s offices insisting that they should bill my auto insurance and not my medical insurance. I had great difficulty in convincing some of them that my auto insurance was in no way involved as I was not in a vehicle at the time. Eventually, the driver’s auto insurance company reimbursed my medical insurer for their costs, but the biggest difficulty I had was getting my caregivers to bill my medical insurance to begin with.

  2. Insurance companies love it when people buy into “morality” questions regarding claims.

    The insured bought a policy; she paid premiums on that policy. The carrier sold the policy on terms that the carrier itself drafted and accepted her premiums.

    She suffered a covered loss.

    The carrier then delayed payment for nine years, and still has brainwashed minions that challenge the “morality” of an insured holding an insurance company to its own contract.

    The story here isn’t that a woman made an insurance claim after arguably hurting herself. We insure against our own negligence all the time. “Oops. Mom left the oven on when we brought the turkey to grandma’s for Thanksgiving, and the house burned down.” Fortunately, mom had good homeowners’ insurance

    The story is a carrier being able to game the system for nine years before paying and still having people feeling sorry that it had to pay at all.

    The industry has spent their billions of dollars on propaganda quite effectively.

  3. Paul, You border state folks bear the brunt of this. But, it has spread nationwide in the past few decades.

  4. Karen, MikeA is a straight shooter. He explains the law in layman’s terms w/o an ounce of condescension. Folks talk about paid commenters here. I would kick in bucks to have MikeA comment here more often.

  5. Karen, I worked many cases of illegals being involved in serious accidents, having no insurance, and fleeing the country. That’s where you’re put in the situation of making a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.

  6. Karen S:

    I’m not a personal injury attorney, so I have to defer to someone who is. The laws vary greatly from state to state, but many states have no-fault insurance requirements, which mandate minimum coverages for injury or death arising out of the ownership or use of a motor vehicle. This is called PIP (personal injury protection) insurance. It is wise, of course, to carry more than the mandated minimum. This coverage is generally for the benefit of the insured and household members.

    PIP coverage is distinct from liability coverage. Liability claims are subject to all sorts of defenses, including comparative or contributory negligence.

  7. Karen, Auto insurance has a certain amount of medical coverage that is capped. Your policy cover sheet will tell you the amount of medical coverage you have per accident.

  8. Many of you probably have uninsured and/or underinsured auto insurance. If someone w/ no insurance, or someone w/ just the minimum insurance severely injures you in an auto accident, then you make a claim against your own policy. It gets tricky when the claim is embellished, as many attorneys encourage. I have worked many cases where a person’s own insurance company investigates their insured. It’s a weird situation that happens much more often than people not in the biz would ever realize. But, do not think uninsured or underinsured coverage is a waste. You need that coverage. Just realize it can put you in an adversarial relationship w/ your own company. That’s why it’s important to have a good company. Realize, all insurance companies are soulless b@stards. Some are just more b@stardly than others.

    1. Nick – in Arizona is it imperative to have uninsured motorist insurance. Those illegals still drive cars.

  9. Paul – ohhhh – it’s been so long I thought it was to avoid reheats. I only remembered that the temperature was a lot higher than normal.


  10. Mike A:

    I am not familiar with this area of car insurance. Does car insurance (at least here in the states) cover injuries to the driver when it was their fault? I did not know that auto insurance covered injuries to the driver from negligence – I thought that would be covered by health insurance. I know it covers injuries to other parties, but I always assumed that if it was your own health insurance that covered your own injuries.

  11. I don’t understand why she got paid. It’s the same as leaving unsecured children in a car, who them release a parking break.

    You are responsible for what animals and children do in a car.

    I recall that hot coffee lawsuit. It is my understanding that she got a settlement because McDonalds had a policy of heating its coffee much hotter than usual, in order to avoid reheats. So when people spilled hot coffee, it was more serious than the usual spill. I believe she suffered serious damage to her genitals, worse than a simple hot coffee spill should have caused.

    BUT, she was negligent, and in my mind bore the majority of the responsibility, for putting the coffee between her legs as she drove off. Think, people, before you put a hot beverage near a vulnerable area in a moving vehicle!

  12. Folks like the curmudgeon base their opinions on an utter lack of information about the true facts in the McDonald case. Perhaps if he read Schulte’s excellent blog and checked the evidence he might realize his mistake. But then again that might be beyond his ability to set aside his prejudice

  13. This was an accident, a bizarre accident, but an accident nonetheless. One of the purposes of insurance is to cover financial losses resulting from accidents. I don’t know why coverage was denied in this instance, but the outcome appears perfectly rational.

  14. Paul C. Schulte…. rewarding people for their own stupidity, does nothing but weaken the Gene Pool….. and raise prices for everyone else!

    1. athist – McDonald’s had been successfully sued several times before over the scalding hot coffee and told they had to turn the temperature down. The reason they did not was that the cheap beans they were using would only perk at a very high temperature. The pictures of the scalds on the woman’s legs are available on the Internet, as is the actual story. In fact this story is the one that caused me to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh. He went off on this because he thought the courts were nuts to reward this little old lady, but he really had not read the whole article and he did not have the full story. Have not listened to him since. Now I listen to classical music in my car. Keeps my blood pressure down.

  15. I have heard of suing your friends for the insurance money, but suing yourself is a new one for me. I will have to keep it in mind. Although at 9 years my estate might have to collect.

  16. Atheist – did you ever see the pictures of the woman’s burns from McDonald’s? They were lucky they got away as cheap as they did.

  17. Well, maybe now, she should go to a McDonald’s…. and spill some burning hot coffee on herself!

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