A man who had beaten polio twice as a child was dealt a cruel blow by fate when he was involved in a head-on collision that has confined him to a wheelchair.
Jeffrey de Beer* had triumphed over the debilitating disease, was working as a diamond cutter and polisher, and was able to walk with the aid of callipers.
But when he was involved in an accident in November 2007, where another driver crossed over the centre line of the road and crashed into the car in which he was a passenger, Jeffrey sustained multiple injuries that have to a large extent reversed some of the brave strides he had made over the years in becoming mobile and productive.
He sustained a chest injury due to wearing a seatbelt, and injured his right arm and right leg, as well as getting whiplash in his back and neck. From having limited mobility before the crash, he can now no longer walk at all – even using callipers – and is confined to a wheelchair.
When compiling his claim against the Road Accident Fund, de Broglio Inc’s attorneys had to take into account Jeffrey’s pre-existing condition. Because he already had severely compromised mobility prior to the accident, the claim amount would automatically not be as high as that of a person who had previously been fully able-bodied.
Furthermore, there were difficulties in establishing the extent of his past earnings and what future earnings he would potentially lose, once again highlighting the importance of clients providing their lawyers with proper documentation and proof of income that is as detailed as possible, in order to strengthen their cases.
The other driver was found to be 100% to blame for the accident, and the matter was settled for R329 000.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality