Driver sued for fatal crash

A TEENAGE sibling of one of four school friends killed in a horror car crash at Broken Head four years ago tomorrow is suing the P-plate driver responsible for the tragedy, claiming he suffers nervous shock as a result of his brother’s death.

The 16-year-old has civil proceedings before that Lismore District Court, initiated through his mother, with the matter back before District Court Chief Judge Reg Blanch on Monday for a decision.

Four Lismore teenagers – Bryce Wells, Corey New, Mitchell Eveleigh and Paul Morris – were killed on the night of October 22, 2006, when the car they were passengers in slammed into a tree on a wet night after overtaking another vehicle across double lines on a bend.

The car was being driven by a 17-year-old Year 11 student from Lismore with a provisional licence.

The driver, now aged 21, was ordered by Judge Colin Charteris early last year to serve two years of a four-year custodial sentence after pleading guilty in the Lismore District Court to dangerous driving causing the death of the four boys.

The teenager’s civil case against the driver’s insurer states his brother died as a result of the car crash after the driver lost control of the car, causing it to leave the road and collide with a tree. The claim states the collision had been the result of the driver’s ‘breach of duty of care’.

It is claimed the driver breached his duty of care to the deceased by driving at a speed which in the circumstances was excessive. He had driven in a dangerous manner and as a consequence of the defendant’s breach of duty of care, his brother died.

The brother is claiming damages, costs and interest after suffering nervous shock.

Last September, the claim was found to be exempt from assessment by the Claims Resolution Servicesof the Motor Accidents Authority because of the young age of the claimant.

Civil proceedings before the District Court were then commenced on the child’s behalf by his mother and legal representatives.

The defence team for the driver did admit some of the allegations in the Statement of Claim with regard only to his driving.

With young drivers featuring too frequently in serious road accidents, NSW Opposition road spokesman Andrew Stoner said yesterday a Coalition government would offer all learner drivers a voluntary, day-long skilled driving course, with insurance companies encouraged to fund them.

He said the intention was to help protect the drivers because P-platers continued to be over-represented in the road toll.

“A 17-year-old driver is four times as likely to be in a car accident than a driver over 26,” Mr Stoner said.

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