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Taxpayer to cover road rage negligence


A cyclist knocked off his bike by the irate driver of a Toyota HiLux has been awarded $315,000 compensation after injuring his arm, hip and shoulder – and state taxpayers, not the HiLux driver, will have to foot the bill.

In August 2008, Jesse Daniel Lawton, then 22, was riding his pushbike on London Street in Joondana.

In a decision published today, District Court Judge Bruce Goetze accepted that a white HiLux utility, driven by a man with a younger male passenger, hit the rear of Mr Lawton’s bike at the intersection of Baden Street.

Mr Lawton was knocked to the ground and the HiLux was allegedly driven off.

After the crash, Mr Lawton was treated for a broken elbow and dislocated shoulder. His arm was placed in a cast for six weeks and after surgery his right shoulder kept dropping out of place, causing pain.

The driver and passenger have never been found or identified.


Mr Lawton told Judge Goetze that before the collision the pair in the HiLux had been yelling at him.

“I’m not sure what they were yelling or why, but it wasn’t exactly uncommon,” Mr Lawton testified.

“I mean I’ve done a lot of riding and I’ve been – I’ve had people abuse me before, sort of.”

Mr Lawton said the driver had a very red face.

“He was – yeah, he looked very – he looked furious …,” Mr Lawton added.

“… yeah, and he would have been maybe between 40 and 50, that guy.

“The young person to his left was – yeah, hanging out the window yelling at me, yeah.”


Where a driver causes bodily injury by negligence but the identity of the vehicle remains a mystery, a person who could have obtained a judgment against the driver may obtain that judgment by action against the Insurance Commission of Western Australia.

State government-owned ICWA resisted Mr Lawton’s claim in the District Court, and lost.

Judge Goetze accepted that Mr Lawton was at risk of reduced work capacity later in life due to pain and stiffening in his right elbow after the crash.

A doctor testified that Mr Lawton’s post-traumatic osteoarthritis will probably be progressive and he will suffer significant permanent impairment.

Judge Goetze ordered ICWA to pay Mr Lawton $314,511.41 compensation.

The payout comprises $129,854.21 for future economic loss and superannuation , 94,750 for loss of enjoyment of life, 84,857.20 for past economic loss and superannuation benefts (with interest) and $5050 for future medical expenses.

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