Teacher launches $1.25m claim over crash
SIX years ago Sally McLennan felt like she lost her identity.
The Woree State High School special needs teacher was riding her motorbike home when a drunk driver crossed into her path on Anderson St at Manunda, forcing her to swerve, with her left arm taking the brunt of the blow.
Five painful surgeries later the talented guitarist remains largely without the use of that arm, unable to get back on her beloved motorbike, play her guitar or even do simple tasks like dress herself without help.
The 57-year-old knows the outcome could have been far worse - losing a limb or even her life - but the impact has still been devastating and she has now launched legal action against the driver and insurer with a $1.25 million claim lodged in the Cairns Supreme Court.
"I go past that intersection a bit and I don't get teary, but I lament that fact of what happened, that I don't have my motorcycle and I don't have my guitar," she said.
"(The arm) is like a dead weight on me. My motorcycle, my guitar and writing were to me, the essence of me, and it feels like part of me is gone."
Ms McLennan and her partner of 26 years, Desley Scott, had only moved to Cairns from Melbourne a few months before the July 24, 2014 crash.
The couple both had family in the Far North and had made the move to be closer to them.
She said the crash and her injury had also taken a heavy toll on her partner.
"I'm lucky to have someone, I can't imagine how people do it alone," she said.
"I'm just grateful I've got her."
Along with the permanent nerve damage and constant nerve pain, Ms McLennan's clavicle is also still broken, she is on permanent medication and now suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure.
She has been told her condition will not improve.
She was forced to take time off from work, although she has since returned, but suffers the indignity of needing colleagues to help her go to the toilet.
She also feels sad she was never told the outcome of the court case against the woman who hit her and was never given an opportunity to write a victim impact statement for court.
"She doesn't have any idea what the impact has been on me either," she said.
"When this all ends I'll still have chronic pain. "But I want it done so that it can be out of my mind, that whole six years."
Ms McLennan's solicitor Nicholas Scott, from Maurice Blackburn, said his client had been left with a "life changing disability".
"This accident has also had a major impact on many in Sally's life, including her partner who now provides so much necessary care, through to her work colleagues who assist her at work," he said.
The claim amount included lost income, medical costs and other personal expenses.
The legal representative for the driver has filed an "intention to defend" notice in court but he and his client did not wish to comment on the matter.
Originally published as 'Like part of me is gone': Teacher launches $1.25m claim over crash