Ali v Auguste – The importance of school grades on economic loss for children

Published 23 Aug 2017

The matter of Ali v Auguste [2014] was a motor vehicle accident matter heard in the District Court of Queensland before Justice Ryrie.

The Plaintiff, who was aged 12 at the time of the accident, was walking along the footpath with her cousin when a motor vehicle mounted the footpath and struck the Plaintiff’s cousin. The cousin was taken to hospital where she remained on life support for a period before her life support was turned off and she died directly attributed to the motor vehicle accident.

The Plaintiff witnessed her cousin on life support and was present at her death. Unsurprisingly the Plaintiff suffered severe psychological injuries as a result of the motor vehicle accident. After counselling she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

By the time this matter was heard the Plaintiff was aged 15. She described intrusive dreams, distress when trying to sleep, as well as a deep sadness and longing for her cousin.

The Plaintiff also claimed that her schooling had been affected by her PTSD with her memory and concentration deteriorating resulting in her grades falling. She regularly started to fail subjects and had lowered her expectation of becoming a dentist (a requirement of a university education) to that of a TAFE education.

The defendant solicitors argued that she was an Iraqi immigrant who could not speak much English when she arrived in the country. They suggested her bad grades were not as a result of the PTSD but rather her bad grasp of the English language.

The Plaintiff’s solicitors disputed this by providing her grades from primary school until the present year showing a trend upwards before falling again after the motor vehicle accident. The Plaintiff solicitors argued that while her income was reduced due to her lowered grades that there was a chance that she might relapse in the future which might mean she will have further time of work.

The Plaintiff was awarded an amount of $110,000.00 (including superannuation) for her future economic loss. Once all the other areas of loss where considered the Plaintiff was ultimately awarded an amount over $151,000.00 for the losses she sustained and would continue to sustain resulting from the motor vehicle accident.

Litigation is a tricky area and if you do not have the right representation you may be missing out on opportunities to maximise your compensation claim. At Gerard Malouf and Partners we specialise in personal injury law, it is all we do, so you can be sure that you are getting the best possible representation following your motor vehicle accident.

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