Negotiations for damages are currently underway for a personal injury claim between a man and Mid Coast Road Services.
The hearing was held between March 20-23 and on May 26 before Judge Toner in the District Court of NSW at Port Macquarie.
The plaintiff was involved in a road accident on September 15, 2012 on the Oxley Highway, west of Wauchope.
The judgement said the plaintiff sued companies Diveva Pty Ltd and Coastal Asphalt & Civil Constructions, which traded as Mid Coast Road Services. He alleged negligence against each of the companies.
The companies were under the sole directorship of Craig Pinson at the time of the accident, the judgement stated.
The plaintiff is a truck driver and was employed by Coastal Asphalt & Civil Constructions. The truck he was driving at the time of the accident was registered in the name of Diveva Pty Ltd.
The judgement said at the time of the accident the man took his foot off the accelerator and applied it to the brake but it wouldn’t move.
“It was absolutely stuck and I couldn’t budge it,” the plaintiff said.
The judgement said the accident was caused because the plaintiff was unable to apply the service brake as the tie down ratchet set was wedged beneath it.
In handing down the findings Judge Toner said the truck had been driven by the plaintiff for an excess of three months prior to the accident.
The judge found both Diveva Pty Ltd and Coastal Asphalt & Civil Constructions were liable because the accident was caused by the fault of each owner in use or operation of the truck.
The judge said each of the companies knew the tie down ratchet sets were stored in the cab of the truck and that it was unsafe.
The judgement said each of the companies permitted the continuous use of the vehicle and knew it was unsafe to do so. Each were aware of the danger that represented and was in contravention of Safe Operating Procedure.
The judgement said the companies were aware of an available and relatively inexpensive alternative to ensure the safe storage of tie downs, and each of the companies either refused or neglected to implement that alternative or to insist it be implemented.