A truck driver who became permanently incapacitated as the result of a back injury from a defective driver’s seat will receive nearly $1 million in compensation, after appealing the original sum.
Daniel Peebles was working for Kurtz Transport, when in 2014 he suffered a spinal disc protrusion or herniation due to the negligence of his employer, which required him to drive a truck with a defective driver’s seat.
Peebles said he hopes employers see this and realise that they need to be more accountable for the welfare of their employees. “The duty of care of employers should be paramount. Many transport companies spruik their high standards of care to employees and yet, my experience is that it’s nonsense.”
“Proactive and practical safety measures are required, rather than just looking at paperwork. When a staff member brings a safety issue to the attention of a maintenance manager, it needs to be taken seriously.”
The original judgement confirmed his employer’s negligence but awarded damages which seemed inadequate given the circumstances of Peebles’ case.
“At the age of 32, Dan Peebles’ career came to an abrupt halt when he suffered a significant injury to his back and he is continuing to undergo extensive rehabilitation, including expensive spinal cord simulation,” said Travis Schultz & Partners Senior Associate Hugh Powell.
“After Mr Peebles’ trial in May 2020, the significant nature of his disability and his need for ongoing life-time treatment was enough of a reason for Travis Schultz & Partners to take the fight to the Court of Appeal.”
Peebles said he is grateful the legal proceedings are behind him. “I’m glad it’s over. The claim and court proceedings have been going on for more than seven years and I’ve had enough,” Mr Peebles said.
“It’s bad enough battling the physical and mental pain of a permanent injury, let alone the added stress and pressure of legal proceedings.”
If it weren’t for his injury, Peebles would have nearly 30 years left in the workforce, losing approximately $1,300 net a week. He was awarded more than $967,052, ensuring he has enough money for treatment, rehabilitation and living expenses while he is unable to work.