A HATTON Vale speedway rider who slammed his bike into a fence at a speedway event is seeking compensation, in what could be a landmark case.
It is the first time in Queensland laws relating to dangerous recreational activities are being tested.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council is among three defendants named in Bob Phippen’s statement of claim, along with Motorcycling Australia and Motorcycling Queensland.
Mr Phippen was competing in an event at Gatton Speedway on November 18, 2006 when he lost control of his bike and crashed into the track’s wooden perimeter fence.
After being thrown from the bike, a stanchion smashed through his helmet, with the impact leaving him scarred for life.
Mr Phippen, an experienced rider, was unconscious and transported to Toowoomba Hospital immediately after the incident before being airlifted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
“I fractured two vertebrae and my ribs, punctured a lung, smashed my eye socket, and damaged my neck, my knees and my arms,” Mr Phippen said.
He spent more than five weeks in hospital, wore a fibreglass cast for more than three months and requires ongoing medical treatment.
Ipswich Law Firm Shine Lawyers has issued proceedings in the Brisbane Supreme Court on behalf of Mr Phippen.
Experienced lawyer Rachel Gordon will handle the case and admits it will be challenging.
“It’s the first time in Queensland the laws relating to dangerous recreational activities are being tested and that’ll make it a challenging case,” Ms Gordon said.
“But the track didn’t comply with the regulations. It should have been the correct height and the stanchion shouldn’t have been there.”
Ms Gordon said: “This is a wake up call to organisations responsible for these sorts of facilities in Queensland.
“The safety of users must be the first priority.”
Mr Phippen is claiming damages for his pain, suffering, current and future economic loss and loss of life amenities.
“It was a shocking crash that he was lucky to survive. His life will never be the same, but he is a real fighter,” Ms Gordon said.
Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said he was unaware of the legal proceedings.
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