Fall From Balcony on Central Coast Results in Huge Compensation Payout
Published 12 May 2014
Gerard Malouf & Partners compensation lawyers recently represented a young man from the South Coast who was visiting the central coast with his friends staying at a holiday home near Gosford. The home was the standard holiday type place that had a balcony. Unfortunately the young men as they tend to do were outside on the balcony enjoying the views when our client sat on the ledge and without warning or notice, the railings gave way resulting in our client falling some 3 metres to the ground sustained serious head, shoulder and spinal injuries.
Fortunately across the road was a doctor who had been holidaying and saw and heard the shouts and came out to our client’s assistance. He was quickly airlifted and conveyed to Royal North Shore Hospital where he was treated in intensive care and stayed there for a significant period of time. The young man through his family sort out and was referred to Vrege Kolokossian Accredited Specialist and Managing Partners at Gerard Malouf & Partners. We were quickly able to provide them with advice as to the likely prospects of successfully proceeding with the claim for compensation.
One of the critical and most important issues was to determine whether in fact there was any possible negligence caused by the owners and/or managers of the holiday accommodation. We had to obtain statements form our client, the other witnesses and also requested photographs of the balcony. It quickly became evident that the home had been purchased and had in fact been run down. It was evident to us that there was a failure to properly maintain and check the balcony, the beams and the joints. Our client was not acting foolishly or recklessly. He went to sit on the beam when it gave way. One would imagine that a normal balcony should not give way when it’s leaned upon or partially sat on. It was the fact that we were able to forensically look at the liability aspect of the claim which raised our suspicions and resulted in us qualifying an engineer to carry out an initial view of the site and prepare a report of liability. Our client sustained significant injuries and had been off work for over 7 months.
As part of the process in collating the evidence, we obtained copies of the hospital records, records from specialist doctors and treatment providers and also qualified our own experts to provide medical opinions as to his injuries and what future impairment and disability he may face.
We quickly commenced proceedings against the owners of the premises for their failure to properly maintain and inspect the home and keep it in good repair. As a holiday home, which is often rented out or used by family members and friends, owners of such home have a higher obligation to ensure that the premises are safe and properly expected on a regular basis and especially with the advent of injuries occurring from balconies whether they are because they collapsed, are faulty or in poor state of repair. The duty becomes even higher.
Of course the insurance company denied liability and vigorously defended the claim however after we organised a formal view with our liability investigator and engineer, it was clear that the owner of the premises could have taken steps to ensure that the balcony and the railings were repaired and more secure. After the injury had occurred, the owner had gone to great expense to ensure new railing were inserted and that the balcony area was secured and safe. Unfortunately for our client, these repairs and maintenance work were 12 months to late. We qualified one of our expert barristers who looked at the matter closely and also confirmed that he too was of the view that there was reasonably prospects to succeed. In such cases of course, there is always a risk that a judge may ultimately find that there was some degree of contributing negligence and therefore sometimes compromises are required. We were able to organise a mediation hearing whereby both sides were able to make submissions in support of their claim an independent mediator is qualified by the parties to act as a referee and it was clear that the media two was of the opinion that there was a strong case to argue in favour of our client.
After vigorous negotiations, it was clear to the insurer and their solicitors that we were not going to back away and that we were going to strenuously argue our clients case and if need be proceed to hearing. A hearing in this matter would have lasted in excess of 6 or 7 days and common sense prevailed. The insurer through there solicitors made a reasonable offer and the matter was able to be settled for many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our client was able to ensure that he had at least some security for his future life, covered all future medical expenses and help set him up.
This case is an example where Gerard Malouf & Partners compensation lawyers takes on the difficult claims when other firms may back away from them. It is an example that clearly shows that we have the resources to qualify engineers and medical experts and use our experienced barristers to strongly prosecute the claim and take all steps to maximise our client’s results. It’s an example when our clients placed their TRUST in our expertise.
It is rewarding to have clients make the comments as this particular client did ‘I trusted Gerard Malouf & Partners to handle my claim and commence court action. I looked to them for their expertise and their advice and was not disappointed’
It is important to note that not all claims will be successful and in some cases accidents do occur but it is best to at least make the enquiry with Gerard Malouf & Partners to investigate your rights.