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Appeal launched to help victim of hit-and-run road crash

Hit and run victim Antonio DaCosta (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A charitable appeal has been launched on behalf of a hit-and-run victim who lost everything after he was run over by a drunk driver.

Friend and businessman Stephen Pearce has joined forces with several people and the Portuguese Cultural Association to raise funds for guest worker Antonio “Tony” DaCosta after a traffic accident cost him his ability to work and put him in thousands of dollars of debt.

Mr Pearce said: “We are reaching out to help Tony rebuild his life. Any amount is greatly appreciated.”

Mr DaCosta was involved in a hit-and-run in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 2016 after Chris Carter, another motorist, knocked him off his motorcycle with his car. Mr Carter was driving on the wrong side of the road.

He spent about six months in and out of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital with injuries including a dislocated and fracture hip, a broken leg and a broken ankle.

Mr Pearce said Mr DaCosta lost his job as a gardener and landscaper while in the hospital, which left him without health insurance and forced him to pay out of pocket and accept loans for his recovery and subsequent treatments.

He added that Mr DaCosta later lost his home in the Azores and has been listed as permanently disabled after a medical review last November.

Carter pleaded guilty in 2018 to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Mr DaCosta also launched legal action against BF&M, the insurer of the vehicle, and was awarded $733,659.20.

But Mr Pearce said that, because of the nature of the crash, the insurer limited damage payments to just ten per cent their normal policy limit.

Because of this, Mr DaCosta received just $100,000 after legal fees from an accident with an estimated liability of more than $1.5 million.

Mr Pearce said: “Severely injured victims of road traffic accidents in Bermuda, caused by drunk drivers, often face financial ruin because insurers limit their payout.

“If Tony had been knocked off his bike by a motorist without any insurance coverage at all, he would have been eligible for a payment from the Bermuda Motor Insurer’s Fund of triple the amount he received from the car owner’s insurer.”

Mr DaCosta’s attempts to sue the MIF last year for additional compensation proved unsuccessful, though Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams, who dismissed the case in September, appealed to legislators to consider a change to the law to protect people hurt in similar incidents.

Mr Pearce said that Mr DaCosta, who was being cared for by family and friends, was forced to return home in June after his work visa was nullified.

He currently lives off of a $90-a-month pension from the Bermuda Hotel Association.

Mr Pearce did not say whether or not he had a donation goal in mind.

Donations on behalf of Antonio DaCosta can be sent to the account number 20 006 060 894251 100 with the reference “Tony DaCosta 51 Reid Street, Hamilton HM 12”

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Published August 05, 2021 at 11:19 am (Updated August 05, 2021 at 1:31 pm)

Appeal launched to help victim of hit-and-run road crash

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