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Motorist ordered to pay magistrate accident damages

By Mashudu Netsianda

The High Court has ordered a Bulawayo motorist to pay Matabeleland provincial magistrate Mr Livard Philemon $1 649 in damages for the pain he suffered after the two were involved in a road traffic accident eight years ago.

Mr Livard Philemon

The accident occurred in August 2010 at a traffic light controlled intersection along Matopos road.

Mr Vusumuzi Moyo tried to turn in front of Mr Philemon’s oncoming vehicle resulting in a collision. Mr Philemon sustained serious body injuries and was ferried to the United Bulawayo Hospital in an ambulance. His car, a Datsun Nissan 1400 pickup, was damaged beyond repair.

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He said he was trapped in the wreckage for an hour before getting assistance.

The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo follows an application by Mr Philemon citing Mr Moyo and the owner of the car, Mr Alfred Ntini, as defendants.

Mr Philemon through his lawyers, R Ndlovu and Company, sought an order directing the defendants to pay him $16 624,25 in damages for pain and suffering, the damages on his car, hospital and ambulance expenses. In her ruling, Justice Moyo exonerated Mr Ntini from liability.

She said there was no basis that had been factually formulated to establish that Mr Ntini had employed Mr Moyo at the time of the accident.

Justice Moyo also blamed Mr Philemon for failing to exercise caution despite the fact that he had the right of way.

“It is my view that both parties were to some extent negligent,” she said.

Justice Moyo ruled that Mr Moyo should give Mr Philemon compensation of $1 699,40 being damages for pain and suffering, hospital and ambulance fees.

“The plaintiff (Mr Philemon) is entitled to 80 percent of the special damages claimed being ambulance and hospital fees totalling $624,25 meaning he is entitled to be paid $449,40 by the first defendant (Mr Moyo).

As for the damages for pain and suffering, a medical report that reviewed plaintiff’s record but did not seemingly examine the person of the plaintiff so that the degree of pain and relevant matters would be canvassed, was produced,” she said.

Justice Moyo said the damages for pain and suffering were a discretion of the court. “The plaintiff’s lawyer failed to provide the court with a case law where a plaintiff is awarded damages for pain and suffering only with no disability.

There being no disability, this court holds the view that an amount of $1 500 is adequate for the pain and suffering by the plaintiff. Again, first defendant will bear 80 percent of this amount which translates to $1 200,” ruled the judge.

Justice Moyo said the damages of the car were not proven.

Mr Moyo was also ordered to pay the legal costs incurred by the magistrate. In papers before the court, Mr Philemon said on August 31 in 2010 at about 4PM, he was driving his car from Kezi and heading towards the city centre.

On approaching a traffic light controlled intersection between 23th Avenue and Matopos Road, Mr Philemon noticed that the traffic light had turned green and went through resulting in a collision with Mr Moyo who was also trying to turn in front of him.

Mr Philemon said as a result of the accident, he sustained injuries and lost consciousness and regained it later while admitted to the hospital where he was bedridden for 30 days. The Chronicle.