Saturday, 1 November 2014

Car accident survivor sued for damage

By Vojtěch Blažek |
Hospodářské noviny |
27 October 2008

Karel Pravec was very lucky that he did not die two years ago. Petr Neisser ran him over in Kunštát near Brno. Then he took the 15-year-old boy, who was hurt and unconscious, to the forest, where he left him there.

Pravec survived, and Neisser was sentenced to twelve years in prison for attempted murder. But the boy's family might now have to pay CZK 60,000 to cover the cost of the repairs of the car, in which Neisser almost killed their son. Neisser's former employer, Pavel Šimon, is demanding compensation for the damaged car, which was his property. His case was brought before court yesterday.

While the boy's parents consider the lawsuit immoral, Šimon does not see it that way. "I knew such opinions would appear. But I still wanted to pursue the case," he told HN on Thursday. He wants to convince the court that Pravec is partly responsible for the accident: He was walking on the road on his way home from a discotheque with his friends after he drank a few beers. And according to a court expert, he stepped into the road unexpectedly.

The family's attorney will demand a new, more precise expert opinion on who caused the accident, as well as documentation on the damage to the car and documents authorizing Neisser to use the company car. "I feel strong enough to win," said attorney Josef Čech.

The events that followed accident were worse for the boy than the crash itself. Pravec flew over the car and fell in the car's boot through the rear window. Neisser allegedly found out what happened only when he got home. Instead of calling for help, he took the lifeless body away. Although both of Pravec's legs were broken, after a few hours he managed to crawl out of the forest to the road, where some people found him. Neisser's act was judged as attempted murder by the courts.

The issue of whether Neisser was authorized to use the company car for private journeys will be crucial for the result of the case, judge Iva Krejčířová said. At the time when he was driving the yellow Octavia that collided with Pravec, he and his girlfriend were on the way home from a discotheque.

Pavel Šimon, the owner of the company Abi Plus, which produces jukeboxes, says that he will bring all the necessary documentation for the next court's session. "I have have it, of course, otherwise I would not even initiate the dispute," Šimon said. In his opinion, the company lost a lot due to the accident: The company bought the car for CZK 600,000, but sold it eventually for only CZK 250,000.

Šimon published a statement on the internet earlier, explaining why he had filed the lawsuit. He condemned the act of his former employee Neisser in the statement. But at the same time, he insisted that the accident was caused by young Pravec. "If you consider a lawsuit against the damage caused by Pravec immoral, there is nothing I can do about it. I insist that it is moral and right," Šimon wrote.

The only expert opinion available on the case has not provided a satisfactory explanation for what happened in Kunštát on 17 November 2006. It says Neisser was not driving faster than 50km/h and that he swerved the steering wheel quickly to avoid the collision. Expert calculations showed that had he driven less than 40km/h he could have avoided the collision. Pravec made a few steps into the middle of the road right before the collision. "But the driver must be careful in such cases, especially when there is reduced visibility, that's how it is," the family's lawyer Čech said.

The court in Blansko will not deal now with what happened after the accident, namely, how Neisser had tried to remove all traces and almost let the boy die. The court will only decide who caused the accident.

From the very beginning, Neisser was tried for attempted murder. And three consecutive courts confirmed that his act may be designated as such. "He is a man who acted under pressure in that particular situation, which he evaluated in quite an unfortunate and inadequate way," said Jaroslav Sukaný, a judge with the High Court in Olomouc, who had punished the driver with twelve years.

Neisser was trying to avoid the strict sentence at all costs. He said for, example, that it was not that cold that night, so the boy could not have died of hypothermia. Or that it was actually more advantageous for Pravec that he took him to the forest – because there was a bigger chance that someone could find him than if he had left him in the passage of his house. Pravec has recovered from all his injuries and currently attends practical training to become a bricklayer. He is able to play football again.