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Case study: AAI Limited v Caffrey

By 17 February 2020Uncategorized

Mr Caffrey was a police officer who attended a road accident where a driver had collided with a tree. Upon arrival, Mr Caffrey found the driver was trapped in the car with his legs severely “squashed”, but still alive. Mr Caffrey administered first aid and spoke to the driver until paramedics and fire service arrived at the scene. Mr Caffrey also attended to the driver’s parents who had arrived at the accident and he helped them to say goodbye to their son before he passed away at the scene due to his serious injuries. 

Prior to the incident, Mr Caffrey had been a well-adjusted person with no significant psychological injuries who had attended many serious incidents in his role as a police officer. Following this incident, Mr Caffrey developed a range of psychological symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, depression and specific post-traumatic symptoms such as flashbacks and reliving experiences. These symptoms resulted in his medical retirement. 

Issues 

Mr Caffrey sued insurer AAI for damages alleging that, as a result of the driver’s negligent driving, he had suffered these devastating psychiatric injuries. It was clear the driver had been negligent as he had been driving at an excessive speed while intoxicated by methamphetamine, amphetamine and marijuana, so that was not the dispute. The main issue at the trial and in the appeal was whether the driver owed Mr Caffrey a duty of care to avoid causing him the harm that he had suffered by attending the scene of the crash as part of his duties as a Queensland police officer. 

Findings 

The court ultimately determined that the driver owed Mr Caffrey a duty of care and he was awarded $1,092,948.

If you’ve been injured, contact Sciaccas Lawyers, so that we can advise you on your rights and prospects of successfully pursuing a claim. We always recommend that you contact us as soon as possible so that we can ensure your interests are protected and you do not miss any time limits.  Feel free to contact us today on 1800 658 525.