A Bronkhorstspruit man who lost a leg and the sight in one eye after a motorcycle accident caused by a large pothole on a provincial road has been granted leave to proceed with a R4 million damages claim against the Gauteng transport MEC.
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted leave to Jan Steenekamp, 58, to proceed with his damages claim against the MEC, despite his failure to institute the claim within the legally prescribed six months after the accident.
Steenekamp was severely injured when his motorcycle hit a pothole on the M17 in Pretoria in May 2012. He lost control of the bike, hit the side barrier and was thrown off his motorcycle.
He claimed in court papers that the department had been negligent in failing to ensure the road was safe for use, failing to do routine maintenance and regular inspections and failing to repair areas of deterioration promptly. In the alternative, he claimed the department had been negligent by failing to warn road users of the unsafe and dangerous situation and to divert them.
Steenekamp’s left leg was crushed in the accident and he was hospitalised for long periods in an attempt to save the limb, but his leg had to be amputated two years later. He also sustained injuries to his right eye, causing him to lose sight in that eye, and his right hand was badly injured.
He claimed damages for his massive past and future medical costs, his future loss of earnings, pain and suffering and loss of the amenities of life.
Steenekamp said in a statement his primary focus had been to save his leg and to get the necessary medical assistance and that he only obtained legal advice in 2014, after his leg was amputated.He said the compensation he sought was to maintain him in the light of the consequences of his injuries, which he will have to deal with for the rest of his life.
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In court papers, the MEC not only insisted that Steenekamp’s claim should be dismissed because it was filed late, but also denied any negligence whatsoever.