Home Owner ordered to pay substantial damages in owner builder permit accident to young worker on their premises

Published 18 Oct 2017

Our client was a young man employed by his employer to attend to an owner builder premises in Villawood in the Canterbury-Bankstown Area, 25 kilometres west of Sydney Central Business District.

The defendant was the owner builder of a domestic premises and obtained an owner builder’s permit from the local council to erect a residential home on the premises where our client was working.

Our client was a labourer employed to undertake work on the building site at the request of his employer. The owner builder requested that our client assist him in the removal of props from the ground level in order to allow access for a hoist onto the building site. This was not a part of his employment duties at the time.

During the course of the Defendant owner builder in attempting to stand up on a prop and secure it in place, he lost control of the prop and it fell on our client nearby and struck him on the right shoulder causing him injury.

The accident occurred as a result of the negligence of the owner builder in failing to adequately control the prop in circumstances where he requested our client’s assistance. The risk that the prop would fall over and strike our client if not properly managed was foreseeable and the risk of harm to our client in those circumstances was not insignificant. Our client suffered an injury to his right shoulder.

The owner builder did not accept liability for our client’s injury. We launched legal proceedings against the owner builder in respect of our client’s injuries, losses and damages.

It was alleged that the owner builder was negligent in that he sought our client’s assistance to install the prop, and he failed to keep control of the prop and he failed to devise a safe system to perform the task which he required the client to perform, without causing injury to our client whilst he was on his premises.

We arranged for our client to be independently medically examined and assessed. The medical specialist provided a detailed orthopaedic opinion that our client had suffered 30% permanent loss of efficient use of the right arm at or above the elbow as a result of the accident. This was a significant injury to his right shoulder. He was unfit for his pre-injury employment duties as a labourer and would only be fit for suitable alternative duties.

Despite denying negligence, the defendant owner builder sought legal advice and thereafter accepted that they were liable for our client’s injuries, losses and damages.

We arranged for settlement discussions with the owner builder after the particulars had been provided and medical expert evidence had been served upon him in the matter. The owner builder was ordered to pay our client a substantial award in damages in compensation for our client’s injuries, losses and damages. Our client was satisfied with the outcome of the settlement particularly noting that the owner builder had denied liability in relation to his injury.

Conclusion:-

If you are a lawful entrant on private premises where owner builder work is being undertaken and you suffer an injury whilst on those premises due to the negligence either of the owner builder or another party, you may be entitled to receive a substantial award of damages in compensation as a result of your injuries arising from the accident.

In this case, our client was a lawful entrant and worker for another company on the owner builder’s job site when the owner builder requested his assistance to remove props and it was due to the negligence of the owner builder in failing to secure the prop that one of the props fell onto our client’s right shoulder causing him serious injury. Despite the owner builder denying liability in relation to the claim, the owner builder’s own legal advice and the independent liability and medical expert evidence determined that the owner builder was at fault for the accident and would be ordered to pay our client damages in the circumstances.

The case is illustrative of the obligations and responsibilities of an owner builder in building their own home, and there are workers and / or contractors working on their premises, to ensure that they do not suffer injury due to their own negligence. Their duty of care to these workers whilst they are on their premises is of the highest order.

The owner builder agreed to pay our client a substantial award in damages of compensation to cover for our client’s injuries, losses and damages arising from the accident. This was an excellent outcome for our client.

For a free no obligation consultation, please contact our toll free number on 1800 004 878 so that an appointment can be arranged for you to attend our office to protect your legal rights arising from your injury.