Howick woman gets R450?000 for pothole smash

2014-09-18 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday ordered that the uMngeni Municipality pay R450 000 to a woman who was badly hurt in an accident resulting from a pothole.

Lorraine Margaret Burns (61) told The Witness yesterday that she is happy that her legal battle is finally over after five-and-a-half long years.

“I can only go forward now,” she said.

Burns said the incident happened at about 9 pm after she and her ex-husband had been at a braai in July 2009.

“[My ex-husband] was following a short distance behind me. I was driving along the Curry’s Post road, and I had to pull over to the right side to avoid this hole where the road had broken up. But suddenly there was another car coming [towards me]. I had to go back into my lane,” she said.

Burns said the car then struck a pothole.

The impact caused her rear tyre to burst and she lost control of the car.

The vehicle veered down an embankment. “I can’t remember anything after that,” she said.

Burns said she spent 19 days in the intensive care unit at Grey’s hospital recovering from her extensive injuries. She had head injuries, broken ribs, both her shoulders were dislocated and she had an injury to her left eye.

She said she still suffers from a great deal of pain in her spine and cannot sit or stand for long periods.

The municipality had argued in court that Burns had travelled at a speed which was excessive in the circumstances. She had failed to exercise proper control of the vehicle and failed to avoid the pothole.

Burns wanted the municipality to pay her R873 144,53 — R500 000 for damages, R100 000 for future medical expenses, R270 000 for loss of earning capacity and R3 144,53 for medical expenses.

However, she settled for an amount of R450 000, which was made an order of the court.

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