LAWYER ORDERED TO COMPENSATE ACCIDENT VICTIM

Mathew Masinge

A lawyer has been ordered to pay US$37 189 in compensation for causing an accident that resulted in the permanent disability of a Harare motorist in June 2008. 

Kelvin Musimwa was initially sued for US$52 000 for causing the disability, loss of amenities of life, medical expenses, pain and suffering of the motorist, Johnson Muchechesi, but High Court judge, Justice Gladys Mhuri, awarded him US$37 189.

The court heard that on June 27, 2008, Musimwa encroached into Muchechesi’s lane while driving along Old Mazowe Road towards the Westgate roundabout, resulting in a head-on collision. 

Muchechesi was trapped in his vehicle for about 45 minutes as a result of Musimwa’s negligent driving.

Muchechesi was admitted to intensive care unit (ICU) with a broken femur that led to his permanent disability.

He was admitted to the ICU up to September 1, 2008. Muchechesi only managed to locate Musimwa two years after the accident.

In his claim, Muchechesi said he has lived in pain for the past ever since the accident, and his wife had also deserted him since he could no longer be intimate with her as a result of the disability.

Musimwa had argued that Muchechesi was the one who caused the accident as he was driving at high speed and wanted to overtake in front of on-coming traffic.

however, Justice Mhuri ruled that Musimwa wasn’t being truthful.

“My analysis of Musimwa’s evidence is that he was not a credible witness.

“He could not state a straightforward story of what transpired before and after the accident.  

“He stated there were three cars in front of him driving in the opposite direction and Muchechesi tried to overtake two of them.  

“How he managed to see these three cars at that time (early evening) is a wonder,” ruled Justice Mhuri.

She said Muchechesi is entitled to claim damages.

“Muchechesi is therefore entitled to claim damages for the injuries sustained. Musimwa did not prove any contributory negligence on the part of Muchechesi.

“As regards loss of amenities for life, Muchechesi’s testimony was that due to the injuries he sustained, he was unable to work, he was by then aged 39 years, he was in his prime and was able to look after his children.  

“He is now divorced from his wife as he is unable to perform conjugal rights.

“It is therefore, ordered that: Musimwa pays Muchechesi a sum of US$37 189 or its equivalent in local currency at the official bank rate applicable on the date of payment,” Justice Mhuri ruled.

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