The ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Graham Tidy
A Canberra businessman injured in a series of car accidents has been awarded $1.6 million in damages.
Lennon Frank Dapozzo sued the drivers of three vehicles that crashed into him over a period of about 18 months, alleging the injuries he suffered led to the collapse of his telecommunications installation business. The drivers admitted liability for each accident.
In February 2006 Mr Dapozzo's parked car was struck from behind, causing injuries to his back, right knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and neck. The injuries prevented the entrepreneur from the physical work of laying cables for a period of months. Medical treatment and rehabilitation meant he expected to be fully recovered by the end of 2006.
But in February 2007 he was thrown from his motorcycle in a head-on with a car which pulled into his lane to overtake a truck.
This accident increased the symptoms of his previous injuries, especially to his right knee, which limited his ability to climb ladders and work in confined spaces.
He was then rear-ended at traffic lights seven months later, further aggravating his pre-existing injuries.
Mr Dapozzo's business was placed in the hands of a liquidator in August last year.
The 55-year-old launched legal action, claiming it failed because his injuries restricted his ability to manage the company and to carry out the hands-on physical work of cabling.
Documents tendered in court
confirmed Mr Dapozzo's progress from good physical and financial health to suffering constant pain in multiple areas of his body, depression, social isolation and financial loss.
The court heard he had been an active sportsman who, until incapacitated, had played baseball at the Masters Games each year.
He still requires surgery to fix his knee and shoulder.
Acting Justice Margaret Sidis on Friday ordered the three defendants pay Mr Dapozzo $1,603,361.19 in damages to cover past and future income loss, medical expenses, domestic care and general damages.
"Physically, he was substantially disabled by injuries to multiple areas of his body, in particular his low back, neck, right shoulder and right knee," Acting Justice Sidis wrote.
"The only prospect of some relief from his discomfort depended on the outcome of surgery to the right knee and the right shoulder. "At the same time, it was probable that the condition of the lumbar and cervical areas of his spine would deteriorate and cause increasing symptoms in those areas."
Acting Justice Sidis said he also required treatment for the adjustment disorder he suffered as a result of his physical injuries and their effect on his lifestyle.