Court rules crane driver doesn’t qualify for payout
A MAN who crashed a hired crane truck while driving from the New Acland coal mine to his Murphys Ck home has had his case for compensation dismissed.
Supreme Court Justice Ann Lyons valued Noel Millard's damages at more than $235,000, but denied his former employer RI-CO was responsible for covering the amount.
Mr Millard, 66, was working as a construction supervisor for engineering and construction company RI-CO at the Acland mine when the crash occurred on February 9, 2007.
The Supreme Court of Queensland heard he lost control of a 20-tonne crane as he was driving along Murphys Ck Rd outside Toowoomba and was seriously injured.
His injuries including a closed head injury, facial fractures, a fractured heel and a fracture to his thoracic spine.
He was unable to work for more than a year and suffered significant economic loss as a result.
Millard argued his injuries occurred in the course of his employment because he was required by RI-CO to return the Franna to the hire company depot in Brisbane.
RI-CO, which has subsequently gone into liquidation, denied Millard was engaged in his employment at the time of the incident.
They argued the crane was not being operated by Millard at the workplace but rather was being driven from Acland to his home at Murphys Ck for his own purposes.
Justice Lyons was satisfied that Millard's bosses as well a hire company representative were unaware that he was going to drive the Franna back to Brisbane.
She also was not satisfied by Millard's claims that he was returning the Franna to Brisbane, via an overnight stop at his home.
"In my view, the crane was being taken to Millard's Murphys Creek residence for use by him there," Justice Lyons said.
She found it was not up to RI-CO to foresee Millard would take the crane home for his own use.
"I am not satisfied that RI-CO should have foreseen the possibility of an employee taking a specialised piece of equipment without permission and crashing it while using it for his own purposes."
Justice Lyons concluded that even though Millard's injuries were sustained on the way home from work, they were not the result of a breach of any duty owed by the employer in the circumstances in which the accident occurred.
"I am not satisfied that Millard was injured as a result of RI-CO's negligence or as a consequence of its breach of the terms of his employment with them.
"I would therefore give judgment for the defendant, RI-CO."