Kerry and Shane Mandrek, with daughter Jessica, stand beside their smashed car. The family has received a $680,000 compensation judgment.
Kerry and Shane Mandrek, with daughter Jessica, stand beside their smashed car. The family has received a $680,000 compensation judgment. Mitch Crawley

$680,000 pay day for pair hurt in car crash five years ago

IT'S taken more than five years for Shane and Kerry Mandrek to receive financial justice following a life-changing car accident.

Brisbane Supreme Court has ordered Insurer AAI Ltd and car owner Thomas James Marstella to pay the Hervey Bay couple $684,000.

Mr Marstella was not driving the vehicle but rather his younger brother Shaun Allen Marstella, aged 17.

In November 2012, Mr and Mrs Mandrek and their three-year-old daughter Jessica and two-year-old son Callum experienced every road-user's worst nightmare - a life-changing crash.

They were driving at Susan River when Shaun Marstella swerved his ute to "avoid a wallaby".

His vehicle slammed into the Mandrek's van, causing it to roll over repeatedly.

Mrs Mandrek was 36 weeks' pregnant and she was hospitalised with severe injuries to her back and shoulders.

Mr Mandrek received damage to his head, ear and spine, but Justice James Douglas said the "stoic" former Bundaberg electrician downplayed his injuries to the court.

Jessica and Callum were not harmed and their little sister Sophia Rose was born healthy one month later.

"(Shane) was still unconscious and there was blood just pouring on me," Mrs Mandrek told the Fraser Coast Chronicle in 2012.

"Then I heard someone screaming and I realised it was me."

Marstella pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and he was fined $600.

Justice Douglas said 45-year-old Mr Mandrek and his 42-year-old wife sustained injuries that limited their ability to work at their normal jobs.

He said Mrs Mandrek had to stop teaching people to swim, causing her past and future economic pain including lost earnings and superannuation.

Occupation therapist Vanessa Aitken told the court said Mr Mandrek was no longer able to lift heavy weights, crawl into tight spaces, that he had limited push and pull capacity and he could not bend or stoop for prolonged periods.

Justice Douglas noted that even though Mr Mandrek was unemployed when the crash happened, he should have his future and past economic loss compensated.

"It does seem to me that there is real potential for Mr Mandrek to suffer significant future economic loss taking into account his disabilities and their likely effects on his future employability," Justice Douglas said.

"I believed Mr Mandrek's evidence and found him to be a credible witness, stoical and focussed on doing his best to provide for his family in spite of what had happened to him.

"If anything, I suspect he minimised the effect of his injuries on his capacity to live and work."

Mr Mandrek was awarded $377,739 and Mrs Mandrek will receive $306,431. - NewsRegional

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly suggested Mr Marstella was the behind the wheel.

News Corp Australia


Jet facility takes flight

premium_icon Jet facility takes flight

Work starts on new site for repair and maintenance of RAAF engines

Damning results delivered after PFAS investigation

premium_icon Damning results delivered after PFAS investigation

How the chemicals are transported off the base has been revealed

Authorities uncover illegal snakes, lizards in Ipswich home

premium_icon Authorities uncover illegal snakes, lizards in Ipswich home

Man fined for boa constrictor, Burmese python, leopard gecko

Local Partners