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Proper Inquiry & Search

Murray v Nominal Defendant [2014] QDC 144

The Plaintiff was hit from behind whilst stationary at a McDonald’s drive through. Both the Plaintiff and his wife observed the other vehicle, although failed to record the registration number. CCTV footage was not operational. An advertisement was placed in the newspaper calling for witnesses. The question before his Honour Farr DCJ was whether the Plaintiff had satisfied the requirements of s.31 in relation to proper inquiry and search.

His Honour found that the collision was a low speed impact and minor in nature. He was left in no doubt that the Plaintiff appreciated the necessity of obtaining the registration number of the vehicle. In His Honour’s view, the evidence did not support the Plaintiff’s assertion that he had no opportunity to observe the number plate. As such, the Plaintiff had failed to establish that proper inquiry and search had taken place and the claim was dismissed.

Although not necessary, his Honour also considered quantum. Dr Campbell had assessed a chronic soft tissue injury with a 6% whole person impairment while Dr Dickinson found no impairment. Dr Dickinson also noted that pursuant to AMA5, for a DRE Category II impairment to be assessed, the loss of movement must be asymmetrical (not so here) or radicular symptoms must be present.

His Honour was not persuaded the Plaintiff suffered in the manner and to the extent alleged. The Defendant submitted that an award of $1,000.00 would have been appropriate to allow for a few days off work and medication.

His Honour found the Defendant had been generous in its concession. If the claim had been successful, the damages award would be limited to $1,000.00