Insurance Anger

Reporter: Graeme Butler

What you're seeing is a run-away truck - caught on security camera - just moments before it smashed into Dave Mallet's car, "after that the next thing I remember was actually waking up on the way to hospital with these injuries to my next to my shoulder the medics was asking me how do you feel and I said oh my back but really it's my neck that really hurts and shoulder"

If the crash wasn't painful enough - the aftermath has been torture - four years of fighting for compensation and no-one wants a bar of it. As Dave was in no way at fault he assumed his injuries would be covered by third party insurance - he was wrong. In a bizarre twist because the truck rolled away with no one in it and negligence couldn't be proved - Dave didn't get a cent. "The government's telling me it doesn't cover me because there was no driver in the truck"

"Had this accident happened in Victoria, Tasmania or the northern Territory, Dave would have been compensated, but in W.A the fault scheme for third party payments means someone has to be proved negligent before any payments are made - the trade off for that system is compensation payments here are larger and premiums lower"

Vick Evans heads the insurance commission of Western Australia he says the commission has no room to move in Dave Mallets case. "In this particular incident the question is was the truck owner driver negligent in any way now the substantial inquiries that we have made suggest he wasn't in any way negligent it was through faulty mechanical aspect of the truck that was the cause of the accident that was out of the control of the owner so a conclusion was reached in that regard that he wasn't negligent" but Scania says test conducted on the truck immediately following the crash showed no fault with the brakes - that's cold comfort for Dave mallet - he lost his car - suffered soft tissue injuries - dental damage and watched his karaoke business go down the gurgler. His only option was to take private legal action - but no legal firm would take on his case. Dave says "I've been to hell and back and I still suffer depression I still have all these ongoing problems that nobody bothers I want to make people aware to get in touch with the government or who ever it is cos the law that they've put in place isn't right...i didn't see it and no I didn't hear it no not at all not until it was absolutely on top of me"

Elaine Mullen has been locked in two and a half years of frustrating dealings with the insurance commission too after being cleaned up by an ambulance at this Mandurah intersection on it's way to an emergency ... despite the ambulance driver being convicted of dangerous driving - the commission insisted Elaine be held 50% liable. "Well they just feel that because I was travelling through the intersection they are more or less stating that I didn't take due care to see that there was a vehicle coming - what do i you think - I think that's quite unfair"

Elaine's husband Tom says it's been an exhausting fight for reasons he doesn't understand, "you're driving along the road innocently doing what you do normally and through no fault of your own you've now got this which has dragged out for two and a half years we don't want it going gone we just want an end to it and get on with life" Elaine and Tom say after reams of letters all they wanted to do was sit down with investigators face to face - "very disappointed with the insurance commission I mean they state in their little leaflets that they treat you fairly and they'll try and do the right thing but I don't think they've done the right thing by me at all I feel pretty dismal about the whole thing really" but after today tonight became involved - the insurance commission has re-visited the case and has agreed to pay part of the compensation claim. "Following a call from channel seven our senior managers have called for the file and we would agree that there's been a breakdown in communications and our proposed action is to make sure we contact the lady and try and iron it out"