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Case Study - Motor Accidents Compensation Act v Trade Practices Act

Brian was a young man visiting a 4WD Jamboree. 

Whilst observing an event, Brian sustained a debilitating injury to his left ankle due to a defective hitch on a motor vehicle involved in a competition approximately forty metres from where Brian was standing. 

Due to the defective hitch on the vehicle, the towing line attached to it became dislodged and impacted against Brian’s ankle at high speed, causing severing of the tendons. 

The legal issue was whether the owner/driver of the vehicle was responsible in a compensable way and, if so, did the provisions of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act apply. 

A comprehensive investigation was undertaken which demonstrated that a week prior to the Jamboree, the supplier and fixer of the hitch had utilised inferior imported bolts rather than the titanium bolts which should have been utilised. 

Such evidence was obtained through a well-planned and methodical investigation and analysis was undertaken using a consultant metallurgist. 

This information allowed Brian to proceed in a claim under the Trade Practices Act. 

The additional complexity was whether this action was governed by the Motor Accidents Compensation Act in that it was an injury arising from a defect. If so, Brian’s entitlement would have been significantly curtailed. 

Brian’s claim was successfully resolved under the Trade Practices Act.

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