Compensation for visitor injured as a result of slip & fall at psychologist rooms

Published 27 Sep 2016

On or around December 2014, our client was attending with her son to a psychology clinic at wetherill park in the south-west sydney region. 

The defendant operated and the care, management and control of a psychological clinic for patients in that region.  Our client was accompanying her son for his appointment with a psychologist and it had been raining for some time. 

Upon arriving at the premises, our client and her son walked up the external front ramp of the premises and then pressed the buzzer to gain access inside.  No one inside opened the front doors for up to five minutes and our client and her son were forced to stand outside in the rain for that time.  Eventually, our client and her son were let in. 

Inside the entrance of the premises is a tiled walkway surrounded by carpet.  Placed in the middle of the walkway at that time was a mat that extended almost the full length of the walkway.  The mat was not as wide as the tiled surface and, for the length of the surface, approximately one tile on each side was not covered. 

As our client walked in, she walked on and over the mat and onto the tiles to walk directly to the front desk for service and her right foot slipped, causing her to fall heavily to the ground and suffering a significant injury to her right knee and lower back.  Our client slipped as a result of water being on the tiles.  The allegation was that there was a breach of duty of care on the part of the defendant in that the risk of harm that existed at the time of the incident and which materialised, was the risk of legal entrance being injured as a result of slipping on the wet tiled surface that was not properly covered with a non-slip mat. 

It was alleged that the risk of injury was foreseeable and the risk of harm was not insignificant and that as a result of the defendant failing to take reasonable care to prevent the risk of harm from materialising, they were negligent and it resulted in our clients suffering significant injuries, loss and damage. 

The defendant strenuously denied liability with respect to the circumstances of the accident and their negligence. 

We were able to arrange for an expert engineer to attend the premises for the purposes of providing a liability expert report which addressed the floor friction testing and to determine whether it was in accordance with the australian standards.  The tests established that the contribution of the step surface to the risk of slipping when wet fell within the very high risk level for that surface.  This liability expert report was therefore served upon the defendant in supporting the allegations of negligence against the defendant. 

Our client attended to various treating doctors and specialists for treatment including orthopaedic surgeons in respect of the ongoing symptoms with her right knee and lower back which had been aggravated by the accident.  She also suffered from shock and psychological consequences of the slip and fall.  We were able to obtain medical treatment reports and medico legal assessments which verified the ongoing nature of her continuing disabilities arising from the injuries sustained in her slip and fall. 

After the liability and medical expert evidence was served on behalf of our client, the defendant through their legal representatives invited us to an informal settlement conference for the purposes of considering the options in resolving the matter before it was put to undue expense to file its liability and medical evidence in reply.  As a consequence of those informal settlement discussions and ongoing negotiations with the defendant, the matter was ultimately able to be resolved before any court hearing and our client was awarded a substantial amount of damages in respect of her injuries and permanent disabilities arising from the accident.  She was pleased with the outcome of the claim in such a short period of time. 

The case is interesting from the point of view that our client was only attending with her son to an appointment with his psychologist and as a result of it having been raining heavily beforehand, she slipped and fell whilst walking inside the premises, due to the fact that the mat did not cover the totality of the tiled floor area which had become wet and slippery and which caused our clients accident subsequent injuries. 

Conclusion

If you are a visitor or a legal entrant to any premises and you slip and fall as a result of a tiled floor the negligence of the owner / occupier of the premises, you may have a claim in damages for negligence against them as a result of any injuries and disabilities arising from the accident as occurred in this case for our client. 

In our view, in this case, the liability and medical treatment evidence was quite strong and would have resulted in a verdict in favour of the client had the matter proceeded to trial.  Accordingly, the defendant through it legal representatives wisely considered the liability and medical evidence in this matter and settled the claim on the basis of a substantial award in favour of our injured client. 

For a free no obligation consultation, please contact us on our toll free number, 1300 768 780 so that an appointment can be arranged for you to attend to protect your legal rights in the matter.