Truckie suing for $700k over Bruce Highway sign fail
A GOLD Coast truckie is suing the State Government for more than $700,000 for allegedly failing to update a road-hazard billboard that would have prevented an accident.
In a statement of claim lodged in the Southport District Court this week, Mudgeeraba truck driver David Kennewell claims the Department of Transport and Main Roads breached their duty of care by failing to update their "variable message sign" on the Bruce Highway near Morayfield.
He claims the sign failed to advise motorists in March 2015 that a "heavy truck laden with timber" had broken down, causing gridlock for about 3km.
Mr Kennewell wants $741,668 in damages after his truck rolled down an embankment when he swerved to avoid the banked-up traffic after overtaking a semi-trailer.
As a result of the accident, Mr Kennewell suffered spinal injuries, head injuries, a rotator-cuff tear, tinnitus, PTSD, numbness in his right hand and nightmares, the claim states.
Mr Kennewell said he now had a fear of driving and "heightened anxiety when travelling as a passenger".
The 52-year-old said his accident happened about 9.30am.
He claims the timber truck broke down about 8.30am. However, the variable message sign 18.5km south of the breakdown was not updated and remained blank until 9.44am, he alleges.
Mr Kennewell argues the department was aware of the breakdown from 8.35am after a member of the public phoned in, but failed to update the message.
The claim states Mr Kennewell would have sought an alternative route, or reduced speed and "not attempted to overtake" the B-double if he had known of the congestion.
He is now unable to work and relies on his daughter for cooking, transport and shopping, the claim states.
Of the $741,668 being sought, Mr Kennewell is claiming for future economic loss, medical expenses, including more than $2000 for antidepressant medication, and domestic assistance.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads declined to comment and have not yet lodged a defence.
Shine Lawyers Gold Coast principal Phil Griffin, who acts for Mr Kennewell, said "authorities had plenty of time to warn drivers of the danger and the building traffic on the road".
"Our client very bravely took evasive action to prevent injury to others but the physical toll on him has been enormous."