Sydney woman receives compensation after a serious fall inside her Department of Housing premises

Published 10 Apr 2018

Our client approached Gerard Malouf and Partners to enquire about the possibility of pursuing a public liability claim after she suffered injuries due to a faulty handrail in her Department of Housing residence. Our client attempted to walk upstairs in her residence to use the bathroom when she fell down the stairs as a result of a damaged handrail. Our client instructed that she had made complaints about the broken rail on many occasions prior to the fall, however the Department had not done anything to rectify the issue.

As a result of the fall, our client unfortunately suffered from a sacral fracture, a tear in her left rotator cuff and injury to the left side of her neck including disc bulging. In addition to her physical injuries, she also suffered psychologically as she experienced a reduced ability to attend to any pre-injury domestic or recreational duties.

Distraught by her injuries and the impact they were having on her life, our client approached. Julie Baqleh, an Accredited Personal Injury Specialist, who took carriage of the matter. When Ms Baqleh first saw our client she obtained detailed instructions about the circumstances of the accident and formed the view that there was a reasonable case against the Department on the basis that they had failed in their duty of care to her and residential tenants generally by not responding to the complaints in a timely fashion.

Ms Baqleh then obtained all relevant medical records of the client and briefed an experienced barrister to assist on the matter. She then proceeded to brief one our consultant liability engineers who visited the accident site and performed a comprehensive examination which he used to compile a detailed expert report. This report was ultimately supportive of the fact that the Department of Housing breached its duty of care to our client by not repairing the handrail despite being on notice of previous complaints, and it was the defective/damaged handrail that caused our client’s fall.

We then had our client assessed by an Orthopaedic Surgeon who provided a report on the extent of our client’s injuries, the impact it had on her life, and future requirements for medical treatment and domestic care and assistance.

Prior to the matter proceeding to hearing at court, the parties agreed to participate in an informal settlement conference. Ms Baqleh was able to secure a settlement figure for our client which compensated her for her pain and suffering, treatment expenses, and need for assistance at home.

Please contact our specialised team at Gerard Malouf and Partners today for advice on pursuing a public liability claim if you have been involved in an accident at a residential premises or similar public space and you believe someone else’s negligence may have been the cause of your injuries.