A driver whose car was rear-ended by a tram in Footscray has received a $210,000 payout for psychiatric damages.
The Supreme Court of Victoria last month heard Tyron Micheli had been at traffic lights on Droop Street waiting to turn left into Hopkins Street when the June 2013 incident occurred.
Mr Micheli claimed he was waiting at a red light when the tram ran into the back of his car from behind.
Tram driver Tony Khoushaba agreed he had run into the car, but blamed the accident on Mr Micheli suddenly slamming on his brakes after beginning to turn on a green arrow.
He said he was unable to stop in time, especially “because of the difficulty trams have braking on curved tracks”.
Following a 15 day trial, a jury of six returned a unanimous verdict in favour of Mr Micheli for the sum of $300,000.
But the Transport Accident Commission payout was reduced by 30 per cent to $210,000 after the jury accepted the tram driver’s version of events and found Mr Micheli’s actions had contributed to the incident.
Mr Micheli’s lawyers called for Supreme Court Justice Rita Zammit to set aside the jury’s finding of his contributory negligence, but she upheld the decision.
“In my opinion, the jury was entitled to find contributory negligence by the plaintiff, especially in light of the evidence given by the defendant,” she said.
“This was a classic case in which the jury were asked to decide between two competing versions of an accident. The jury preferred the evidence of the defendant.”
Justice Zammit noted that the jury had visited the site of the accident on the first day of the trial and was able to use their impressions of the accident site to help reach its verdict.