Businesses in Australia all owe a duty of care both to their customers and the general public. This responsibility is tied not just to the specific goods and services they provide, but the premises they own and operate from as well. If someone is hurt on a company's property, it can lead to a compensation payout if a judge determines it was a breach of their public liability.
A case from late last year in NSW reveals what a judge looks for during these cases, such as which injuries require compensating and how to determine if a business has breached its duty of care to the public, its customers or its employees.
What happened at this NSW fast food restaurant?
The incident in question took place at night, which was a key part of the victim's testimony during the court case from 2016. The crux of her argument centred around the fact that she was unable to see clearly due to the lack of illumination in the restaurant's car park. As such, when she approached the restaurant to see if it was open, she tripped over a kerb and injured herself.
When the victim fell, she severely broke her wrist, fracturing both the radius and ulna bones. To repair the damage, she had to undergo surgery at Liverpool Hospital, a procedure which involved the insertion of 14 screws to help the wrist heal. Following the operation, the victim's wound became infected. Then, she had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics.
The events following the fall greatly impacted the victim's life. She found it difficult to perform regular household tasks and didn't regain full strength and flexion in the joint for a period of months after the accident.
Due to the victim's medical expenses – both past and future – and the emotional pain and economic loss, she was awarded almost $130,000 from the defendant, the restaurant owner.
In this case, it wasn't just the fact the victim sustained life-altering injuries that meant she was awarded compensation. The defining factor was the defendant's failure to provide adequate lighting on the premises on which she fell. This admission of negligent behaviour was key to the court's verdict.
if you've been injured as the result of negligent behaviour from a business, it's important you receive fair compensation. Get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners to find out more.