A construction company has been ordered to pay almost $300,000 in compensation to an employee who was seriously injured in a truck crash due to faulty brakes.
In a judgement delivered yesterday via email due to the Judiciary’s ongoing precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, High Court Judge Ricky Rahim ordered Apan Construction Company Ltd to pay the compensation to Kirk Reece as he ruled that it (the company) had been negligent.
“There is also evidence that the employer knew that the truck was presenting significant problems but it nonetheless permitted the claimant to use it in the course of his employment when it should have been withdrawn from service,” Rahim said.
Rahim was initially considering a total of $420,000 in general and special damages for Reece but decided to reduce it by 30 per cent as he ruled that he (Reece) contributed to his injuries by agreeing to drive the faulty truck and by failing to take necessary precautions while driving it.
“The irony is that in so doing, the claimant was attempting although in a misguided manner to get his employer’s work done. That ambition is admirable but it appeared to be a vaulting ambition which over-leapt itself,” Rahim said.
According to the evidence in case, the accident occurred on February 8, 2017, while Reece’s employer was performing work on a site owned by Baroid Trinidad Services Limited.
Reece, a multi-skilled operator/driver, was descending a hill when the brakes on the truck failed. Reece jumped out of the cab of the truck before it crashed and sustained injuries to his leg and hip.
Reece underwent surgery and steel was inserted into his right leg. Reece was forced to miss almost eight months of work as he attended an orthopaedic clinic.
In its defence, the company claimed that Reece was responsible as he should not have operated the truck knowing that it was faulty and also failed to adhere to proper procedures in operating it.
Reece also sued Baroid Trinidad Services but his claim was rejected by Rahim, who noted that there was no evidence that it knew about the mechanical issues in its contractor’s truck and could not take reasonable steps to mitigate against such danger.
As part of his judgement in the case, Rahim ordered Apan Construction to pay the legal fees Reece and Baroid Trinidad Services incurred in pursuing and defending the lawsuit.
Apan Construction was represented by Justin Junkere while Raphael Ajodha represented Baroid.