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In Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd v Casey [2017] NSWCA 32, a nurse (the Plaintiff) employed by CareFlight NSW was a passenger in an aircraft which plunged into the sea during bad weather.

She spent around 90 minutes in the water before she was rescued, suffering severe personal injuries, both physical and psychological.

The Plaintiff was unable work due to her injuries and successfully sued for compensation. As the Plaintiff was severely debilitated and unable to manage the funds awarded, the trial judge also allowed for the cost of funds management. However this cost was awarded at NSW Trustee rates, rather than the higher rates of the private funds manager the Plaintiff had chosen (through her tutor).

Both parties appealed the decision. The Defendant argued that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was not a bodily injury covered by the 1999 Montreal Convention relating to international carriage by air. It also challenged the compensation amount awarded for non-economic loss, care, treatment and funds management on the basis that PTSD should be excluded.

The Plaintiff sought to have the private funds manager rates applied.

The Court of Appeal found that PTSD was not covered by the Montreal Convention’s term ‘bodily injury’. However even if the Plaintiff did not suffer PTSD, she still required funds management.

The Court stated that the Defendant could not simply prove the NSW Trustee was a cheaper alternative in order to restrict funds management compensation; it had the onus of showing that appointing the private funds manager was so unreasonable that it could not be regarded as a consequence of Ms Casey’s injuries. The evidence established that the appointment of the private funds manager was a reasonable one and Court allowed the Plaintiff to recover funds management damages accordingly.

Personal injury claims are often complex and sometimes unpredictable. When issues like funds management are in dispute, where a claimant is unable to manage their own funds as a result of injuries, the best experts are needed to navigate them. These are often significant claims with large figures and the injured person’s quality of life at stake.

Our Personal Injury and Compensation Lawyers can provide practical solutions and exceptional results in relation to your compensation claim, on a No Win, No Fee basis.  Call 1300 773 529 or email a personal injury and compensation lawyer at info@matthewsfolbigg.com.au. We can then arrange an initial telephone conference to discuss.

Matthews Folbigg has over 50 years’ experience protecting personal injury and compensation rights of people living in Parramatta and the Hills.