Mr Griffin sued Burleigh Marr Distributions for damages relating to his back injury and consequential loss and harm.
Mr Griffin sued Burleigh Marr Distributions for damages relating to his back injury and consequential loss and harm.

Truckie gets $500k compo for a dodgy seat

A FORMER Townsville truck driver who suffered a prolapsed spinal disk and ongoing back pain due to a dodgy driver's seat has been awarded more than half a million dollars in compensation.

James Anthony Griffin, now 38, was on his routine run from Townsville to Rockhampton in March 2014 when the truck and seat bottomed out, causing him "pretty excruciating pain" that radiated from his back and into his legs like pins and needles.

He rang his employer to report his pain at about 6 or 7am that day and was told to continue with the delivery, which he completed, only to return the next day in pain.

The injury came after months of Mr Griffin making weekly complaints to his employer, Burleigh Marr Distributions, that the seat was uncomfortable, as though it had collapsed on one side.

Mr Griffin drove about 3000km in the truck each week between the two towns, including stops in Airlie Beach and Mackay.

He had described the journey as a "rough ride" from the start and complained the truck would often "bottom out" on the highway causing him pain.

A third party mechanic conducted repairs in August and October 2013, replacing the base of the seat and a shock absorber but the bottoming-out problems continued.

Mr Griffin sued Burleigh Marr Distributions for damages relating to his back injury and consequential loss and harm.

The company tried to claim indemnity or contribution from the third party mechanic, Northern Automotive Service and Support, but Supreme Court Justice David North ruled the failure of duty of care was Burleigh Marr's own.

Justice North found Mr Griffin's employer "breached the duty of care causing personal injury loss and damage".

Mr Griffin told the court he had received physiotherapy and had undergone an operation but those have been unsuccessful in making his pain less.

He continues to suffer from "back quivers radiating down through his backside to his leg and down to his knee".

Mr Griffin was also diagnosed with depression and found it difficult to "engage in playful and spontaneous activities" with his young son, according to court documents.

He was now working as a personal care attendant with an indigenous organisation but found he could only manage 26 hours of his 30 hour part-time work week.

Justice North awarded Mr Griffin $554,352 in damages, including $215,000 for past economic loss, $265,750 for future loss of earnings and nearly $30,000 in general damages.

The parties were directed to submit written outlines on costs within 21 days if they could not reach an agreement.


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