Sneeze plays a role in damages after accident

Published 16 Jun 2020

The case of a sneeze, a car accident and a pair of twins has been resolved – resulting in damages of more than $170,000 owed to the victim.

A 21-year-old aspiring lawyer won her suit against her twin sister in May, after suffering injuries in a car accident caused by that sister sneezing while behind the wheel, according to the Australian Associated Press. In the end, a judge ruled that the plaintiff, Caitlin Douglas, saw her future earning capacity reduced by $150,000 by the accident, with more damages going toward future domestic assistance and care, as well as previous out-of-pocket expenses.

What happened to cause the accident?

In late October 2016, Douglas and her sister Brighid, as well as their mother, were driving along a road in Moruya, New South Wales – about two hours east of Canberra – when the latter sneezed, according to the decision. This caused her to lose control of their vehicle, which left the road and hit a tree, causing airbags to deploy and injure Caitlin's chest and back.

While Caitlin had previously suffered from back pain, it was distinct from the symptoms that arose after the accident.

A look at the damages

In the end, the judge ruled that Brighid, as driver of the vehicle, was liable for the accident and owed her sister a total of more than $172,500. That included $150,00 in future losses because Caitlin, a model student, was likely to be hindered in her hoped-for legal career by the fact that she cannot sit comfortably for long periods or carry heavy boxes or other items, all of which are typically required of young lawyers.

The remainder was intended to cover future health care and domestic assistance, as well as more than $5,000 in funds Caitlin had previously paid to her chiropractor to treat the back pain that arose as a result of the accident.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we have over 35 years of experience in getting our clients compensation for accidents, public negligence and other cases. We may be able to do the same for you – and with our No Win No Fee program and 90-day complimentary trial, we can assess your options at no risk to you.

If you think you've been involved in an accident for which compensation is appropriate, get in touch with us today.