SA businessman suing Swedish company claiming lighter caused car crash
A South Australian gourmet dip producer is suing a Scandinavian tobacco company claiming a flint from one of its cigarette lighters caused him to crash his car.
- Richard Swincer purchased the lighter from the Norwood Hotel
- Mr Swincer has suffered dreams of being hit by truck since the incident
- The Scandinavian Tobacco Group and ALH Group have denied they were negligent
However, the Swedish-based tobacco business has claimed the driver himself was negligent because he attempted to light a cigarette while driving.
Richard Swincer and his business, True Blue Premium Seafood Dips, are suing the lighter manufacturer Scandinavian Tobacco Group and Norwood Hotel operator Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH Group) in the District Court for undisclosed damages.
In his statement of claim, Mr Swincer, 68, stated that he purchased a Swedish Match Australia cigarette lighter from the Norwood Hotel, east of Adelaide, in January 2010.
He claimed that as he drove along Portrush Road, at Toorak Gardens, he attempted to light a cigarette using the new lighter.
He said the flint, which was spring-loaded, flicked off and hit him in the eye and nose.
He claimed the “shock” from being hit in the face caused him to crash over the median strip forcing his head to hit the window and veer into oncoming traffic.
“At this time there was a very large truck coming towards (his) vehicle in the northbound carriageway,” the documents state.
“He believed that he was going to die.”
But he claimed he was able to manoeuvre his car back on to the correct side of the road before impact and “narrowly avoided being hit head-on by the oncoming truck”.
Mr Swincer claimed that the Norwood Hotel and the cigarette lighter manufacturer — which took some time to track to Sweden — were liable for the accident because he was sold a faulty product.
“The cigarette lighter was not reasonably fit for its purpose,” the documents state.
His business has also been included in the lawsuit because Mr Swincer claims his work has suffered because of the crash as he has “lost his passion for life and has become more reclusive”.
“He dreamed he had to try and avoid the accident by jumping from the driver’s seat into the passenger’s seat of the vehicle. He ejected himself from his bed, landing on his head,” he claimed in court documents.
“He suffered back, left arm and neck injury.”
Both businesses deny responsibility
But in defence documents, the Scandinavian Tobacco Group claimed the injuries sustained from the bed fall were “too remote” and “not compensable”.
Both the tobacco group and ALH Group have denied responsibility for causing the crash and claim it was Mr Swincer who was negligent because he decided to light a cigarette while driving.
“(Mr Swincer) failed to operate the cigarette lighter in a safe manner, in that he was driving at night at the time of the incident,” defence papers filed with the court state.
“He failed to stop his vehicle to use the cigarette lighter… and failed to check the cigarette lighter or note a defect.”
The case will be heard at a later date.