Shark survivor now crash victim
January 22 2009 at 12:12PM
By Leila Samodien
A local shark bite victim, who lost his right leg in a 2004 attack, has had a narrow escape while driving which he says could have cost him his limb had it been there.
Almost five years ago, JP Andrew, 21, was attacked by a great white shark at Muizenberg Beach while out surfing. He lost his leg from the thigh down and has walked on crutches ever since.
He had another close call recently when a motorist slammed into the driver's side of his car.
On November 12, he was driving towards the city centre on the M3 when a car skipped a stop street near the Searle Street turn-off and slammed into his Honda.
"The whole door caved in," he said.
"If I did have a leg, it would have been a goner."
He had narrowly avoided injury because the door had only dented inwards where his leg would have been. Nobody else involved was seriously injured in the accident.
Although Andrew has accepted the driver's apology, he and his father, Robert, have been tangled up in a dispute with the driver's insurance company, Santam, and its outsourced middleman company, Innovation Group, for more than two months now.
Andrew claimed his car, which had been specially adapted to accommodate his disability, had incurred damages of around R30 000.
Initially, Innovation Group offered him only R7 000 for the damages.
In an email, it claimed that Andrew was not exempt from blame because he was responsible for being aware on the road.
When the Andrews brought in their lawyer, Basil Coutsoudis, Innovation Group changed their offer to R17 000.
The Andrews refused to accept this offer since they could not afford to pay for the rest of the damages.
"For two months I couldn't go anywhere because I didn't have a car. It was the first time since I was bitten that I've ever felt disabled," said Andrew.
However, the matter finally came to some conclusion this week, when Innovation Group reviewed their offer as a result of queries by the Cape Argus.
Innovation Group legal department operational manager Rene van Schalkwyk said they had reviewed the matter and found that the liability of the other driver was higher than initially assessed.
They had, therefore, decided to award Andrew R29 609.http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 701C314041